Savage Love

Best Foot Forward

Comments

1
Letter #3 - the intersection of "Yo, is this racist?" (http://yoisthisracist.com/) and "Yo, should I dump this asshole." (http://yoshouldidumpthisahole.com/)
2
Right on! Also, second is the best!
3
Interesting letters and great responses, Dan.

Also, re: letter 3, I met someone once who went on a date with a girl he had met online, who turned out to be a different race than she portrayed in her online profile pictures. Even though the guy wasn't a racist he still didn't want to continue dating her -- because she had lied. And I have been on dates with people who used old photos to conceal large weight gains, and similarly not been interested because to me this screams insecurity at best or a propensity for dishonesty.
4
I don't think that FOOT should consider himself a whore—his words. Even if the scene had been a fetish scene (and it's highly likely that it was), this is best characterized as like sex work or reminiscent of sex work. Lots of the stuff that ends up on HBO and even cable is a lot like that; it's just about standard-issue hetero sex rather than foot fetishes.

To paraphrase, Mr. Savage, do you think no one is beating off to The Super-sleazy Medieval Show I mean Game of Thrones or Vampire Bayou Sex Bonanza I mean True Blood? If Esme Bianco isn't a sex worker (she just plays one on TV), then neither is FOOT.
5
Oh crud I posted before I read LAW's letter. Holy crud.

LAW, you cannot change a man. Sometimes you can do things that make him want to change, but he has to do it himself. Yes, young people sometimes grow out of ignorant views, but do not start a relationship with him and then try to change him.

Saying, "I'm dumping/not starting a relationship you 'cause you're a racist and I'm not" is probably the best thing you could do for this boy. It will show him that his views have consequences and that people he esteems do not share them.

EDIT: Oh, but FOOT was totally right not to send his director foot pics (or to agree to do the show) because it was going to a place with whose sexuality he was not cool.
6
You know what? The more I think about it, the more I'm reconsidering what I said in @4. Yeah, if FOOT felt like he was being conned into doing sex work, even if it was a could've-gone-either-way situation, he should've gotten out of there. At least that would have taught the director to be clearer about what his project was about. I stand by "That wouldn't make him a whore," but this thing is starting to feel more skeezy.

This reminds me of the baby sitter whose ex-client hired her for ball busting.
7
LW3

Wowww.
Really though, why would you ever in a million years want to be with someone like that??
8
@1

I know right?

I could (barely) understand someone being with one of those mainstream "but affirmative action is RACIST" racists who doesn't think he's racist. But this asshole is just straight up no questions asked unabashedly racist.
9
Re letter 2, I could see someone making the rule that he takes the meds at 10 PM every day because if he puts it off and means to get to it later it can be easy to forget. (Even assuming he uses a daily pill box so he doesn't get into "Wait, am I remembering taking my pill an hour ago or yesterday?") But if the meds don't need to be refrigerated there's no excuse not to have them on him, and when his watch quietly beeps at the movie he takes the container from his pocket and swallows a pill.

So yeah, he's got a lot of mental stuff going on that does not seem conducive to building a relationship with someone. LW needs to find someone who doesn't need saving.
10
I agree that the piece of work in L3 is a nasty piece of work indeed, and only hope that the standard of vitriol will be applied fairly across the board to other -ists.

L1 doesn't exactly fit my planned first piece of Woolfsplaining, but I may wait the rest of the year and not find a better. From To the Lighthouse:

"He looked complacently at his foot, still held in the air. They had reached, she felt, a sunny island where peace dwelt, sanity reigned and the sun for ever shone, the blessed island of good boots."
11
LW3 should tell the racist guy online and *do not* out any info about how to find him / her in meatspace, if he/she hasn't already. To answer the question, NO DO NOT SHOW UP IN PERSON AND HOPE FOR THE BEST. This person could flip their shit and get dangerous!

Consider that 1. the racist has trained himself to dehumanize non-white people, 2. the racist could experience the race reveal as a humiliation or betrayal, 3. he may combine racist something-to-prove revenge with batshit angry lover behavior, and 4. the LW has never witnessed this person reacting to shock or anger in person and has no idea what they are like.
12
This is why I love reading your column, Dan! Your advice is so consistently right on target!! Kudos again!!!

Griz Watch update: My amazing ND is still in the hospital, but I was at least able to restock on my vitamin supplements. No problems with gluten-free products!! I can eat cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese and look this much better at 48 than I did at 28??
Thank you, Dan, and everybody, for putting up with this crazy lady!
13
@8, but affirmative action *is* racist. It's discriminating against people of a certain race. Granted, that discrimination is positive, for the people of that race, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still racist.
14
@13 Good job outing yourself, right on cue!
15
Wow. So much hare and hateful answers to L3.

So apparently Its okay to be a bigot, as long as youre only bigoted against one particular group, whose opinions you find morally wrong or disagree with.

I'm not sure if Dan and his hateful cohorts are just being douchebags or hypocrites here, but it sure ain't pretty.
16
Come on! Bullshit Dan. Don't be such an asshole to the actor. I've been reading your column for 12 years. It has informed, demystified, and excited my sex life and also improved my long-term relationship with my partner as well. The overwhelming message you've sent is honesty and consult. That foot fetish film sounds great and fun and awesome, but the filmmaker was not upfront with the applicants. He manipulated broke actors with the promise of "performaing". It's the same as confessing to a lover that you are open to, and into, a kink such as anal or choking, and then going there one night unexpected based on that information and expecting them to be cool with it. 'Sniff' sounds awesome, and pays well, but Fusco was manipulative in order to get his talent. This makes it seem shady and dangerous all the while when it seems like there is alot of people who would be totally down with it. I think he hurt foot fetishists and his mission by not being above board. Kinks are the sugar of the earth, but you can't force them on people unwittingly. To me, you are the champion of this belief. Don't condone honesty. You are a totally above-board freak. Keep that alive.
17
@15- So racism is a good thing? Nice to hear from the KKK from time to time.
18
LW #3 - LAW - I wouldn't date this guy, were I you. I *would*, however, be totally upfront as to *why* you're not gonna go there, jut like Dan says. Shallow racists will never evolve out of being shallow racists unless real-life experiences force them out of their comfortable cocoon of assumptions.

The foot director guy kinda creeps me out, but I can't figure out why. I've known a lotta folks w/ whatever fetish (splooshing, met a plushie, lotsa poly people - an it harm none, etc). But I suspect that as an actor LW #1 shoulda made more money at the very least. Though creative types sometimes gotta take the hand they're dealt that director just sounds kinda..I'm picturing this:

http://media.tumblr.com/50681a805561cd8f…
19
Oh. @16, Mike Swift, explains why I see the "nope nope nope" scurrying octopus when re-reading letter #1. Go read it.

OR..I guess I could just cut-n-paste it, since some of us have unregistered comments turned off:

"Come on! Bullshit Dan. Don't be such an asshole to the actor. I've been reading your column for 12 years. It has informed, demystified, and excited my sex life and also improved my long-term relationship with my partner as well. The overwhelming message you've sent is honesty and consult. That foot fetish film sounds great and fun and awesome, but the filmmaker was not upfront with the applicants. He manipulated broke actors with the promise of "performaing". It's the same as confessing to a lover that you are open to, and into, a kink such as anal or choking, and then going there one night unexpected based on that information and expecting them to be cool with it. 'Sniff' sounds awesome, and pays well, but Fusco was manipulative in order to get his talent. This makes it seem shady and dangerous all the while when it seems like there is alot of people who would be totally down with it. I think he hurt foot fetishists and his mission by not being above board. Kinks are the sugar of the earth, but you can't force them on people unwittingly. To me, you are the champion of this belief. Don't condone honesty. You are a totally above-board freak. Keep that alive."
_____

(Though I think Mr. Swift means "don't condone DIShonesty there at the end.)

20
I had no idea actors would work for as little as $100 a day. Many of the actors in NYC are way hotter than the male escorts. Oh dear. Dan has corrupted me, again.

What are the ethical limits? A full blown sex "scene" including the director who is also acting? I guess if you're James Franco that's kosher but for an unknown director...
21
Dan made the wrong comparison on the wage issue. Gay porn actors would have been better. Answers.com says the going rate for a bottom in a double penetration scene is as low as $200. Ouch.

So FOOT was offered fair market wages even if it were porn. And in terms of ethics, on reflection, FOOT has no gripes. There was zero coercion and full consent -- script sent out in advance, told it was for film, chance to say no (which FOOT took).

Legit acting includes stuff that is softcore porn with high production values. Heck, if you're James Franco, you get to co-write/co-direct/act in an extended back room orgy scene, and have it premiere at Sundance as fine art. Lucky bastard.

I guess the lesson is that pay for a not-famous actor in NYC sucks worse than smelly toes.
22
Re 15: Ta-Nehisi Coates has observed that calling someone a racist is now the Worst Thing Ever, far worse than actually being a racist. So when someone goes on a hate-filled rant in which they make a lot of negative assumptions about someone based solely on skin tone rather than anything the actual person actually did, and someone else calls him or her a racist, people rush in to demur that that's awfully strong talk and so hateful to accuse people of being racists just because they say racist stuff.

See the judge who wouldn't perform an interracial marriage because he did not believe in race mixing, but he wasn't a racist and couldn't believe people would say that about him.
23
Ashy knees? What are those? I'm not really up on the language of racism.
24
Common theme of LW2 and LW3: Please tell me how to maintain my relationship with this douchebag who makes me anxious and miserable. Loneliness is a bitch, but come the fuck on.
25
@23: "Ashy" refers to us black and brown folks who have visibly dry patches of skin, usually at high tension areas of our bodies i.e. knees, elbows, etc. Basically it's a slam against melanin. Might as well talk about big lips and kinky hair. Dude's a bigoted dick.
26
DTRPOS
27
Ugh, LW3 why are you doing this to yourself??? Why in the hell would you jump through hoops to meet this dbag's 'standards'?? You photoshopped yourself to appear whiter?? Honey, no!! Love yourself, be comfortable in your own skin (pun intended)! I get wanting someone, I get being lonely, but please look long and hard on what would make you want someone who does not want the REAL you. You sound young so I hope you take this as a jumping off point to build some real sense of self. It took me until 30 to start that journey--trust me you don't want to wait that long. Look at the good in yourself, ignore negative thoughts that hold you back, and dare to take yourself and your needs seriously--YOUR feelings and happiness should take priority over a racist who you have never met. Please work on believing this and good things will come your way. Confidence is sexy in any and all colors.
28
I was a little confused by the response to LW 1...so basically the BS was front and center but oh well? I guess there's nothing to be done about it but it seems the actor's instincts were pretty spot on. Of course now a bunch of closet fetishists will probably discover a sudden need to express themselves through art. Lol could be fun who knows.
29
@24 is spot on.

@9 - The thing about this is that some people use this kind of thing as a way to control others. I think Dan and Shalit are spot-on: the positive BF is allowing the illness to totally dominate his life (and by extension, everyone close to him). My experience with controlling people suggests to me: you don't have to DTMFA if you don't want to (at least at first) but you can just stop allowing the controlling behavior to control you. Either they snap out of it, straighten up and fly right, or they dump you, tout suite, generally the latter.
30
LW1 should have just passed on the audition. I've been a casting director about a decade now, and roles do come up in legit projects where the material can be dicey or uncomfortably sexual. In those cases you always make sure the actor has all the relevant information before they come in, as this director did, so that they can CHOOSE NOT TO COME IN IF THEY'RE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH IT (though not getting the script for something like this till you show up, or till after you're cast, would definitely be sketchy and unethical). Nothing is worse then the actor who comes in seething with rage that he has to take his shirt off, when the initial breakdown mentioned that was a requirement and it was explicitly reiterated when the appointment was given out. When the demands of a role are sensitive, we realize that and people who aren't comfortable with it won't be penalized or blacklisted for saying so ahead of time. There's someone out there who is totally at ease with what the role requires, and that's the person who will get cast.

(It's also always fascinated me that this is a uniquely male thing. Actresses will much more assertively pass on something they don't want to do for reasons of sexual/sensitive content. It's pretty much only men who actually get in the room, emanating this furious sense that they're being degraded.)
31
LW1 should have just passed on the audition. I'm a casting director, and roles do come up in legit projects where the material can be dicey or uncomfortably sexual. In those cases you always make sure the actor has all the relevant information before they come in, as this director did, so that they can CHOOSE NOT TO COME IN IF THEY'RE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH IT (though not getting the script for something like this till you show up, or till after you're cast, would definitely be sketchy and unethical). Nothing is worse then the actor who comes in seething with rage that he has to take his shirt off, when the initial breakdown mentioned that was a requirement and it was explicitly reiterated when the appointment was given out. I understand that sometimes actors are afraid that turning down an audition somehow reflects badly on them, but when the demands of a role are sensitive, we realize that and people who aren't comfortable with it won't be penalized or blacklisted for saying so ahead of time. There is someone out there who is totally at ease with what the role requires, and that's the person who will get cast.

(It's also always fascinated me that this is a uniquely male thing. Actresses will much more assertively pass on something they don't want to do for reasons of sexual/sensitive content. It's pretty much only men who actually get in the room, emanating this furious sense that they're being degraded.)
32
@18 Maybe the director creeps you out because he wasn't upfront about why he wanted the actors to perform. Having a foot fetish is one thing. Tricking other people into performing almost-sex-work is another.

Getting off on feet -> Harmless
Getting off on deceit -> Creepy

@30's post is fascinating. It's not a troll post. People should read it.
33
LW3 seems to have some pretty big issues with self-acceptance. I mean, I think it's pretty weird they would choose to Photoshop themsleves instead of being cutting off all contact. Maybe they think that's normal and they just need to deal with it because nobody else will accept them anyway. And dude, you really don't need to deal with it.
34
The best part about the third letter is it's the only one here Dan chose to answer himself. Once again, sweet racket.

Meanwhile, I can't believe Dan breezily sent that perv a photo of his feet; I've been asking him for one since I met him at a book signing in 2005. Humph!
35
I don't understand the "creeped out" reaction to the director. He was not at all deceitful: he sent out the script BEFORE the audition, and LW didn't have to go to the audition if he was uncomfortable. LW also states that the actual audition was normal; he wasn't asked to act out the sexualized parts of the script. If actors are willing to take a job for the up-front stated pay (stated right in the ad), it hardly matters what the motivations of the filmmaker are. But this one was never even dishonest.

I also don't understand how people who only chat online, or even have phone calls but have never met, can possibly think they are "in a relationship." Is this a generational thing? Am I just looking at it from an old-fashioned perspective?
36
@35 I think it depends on what you mean by "in a relationship".

If you go through Dan's reply, he acknowledges that LAW was involved with the RPOS and getting to know "him", by which we hopefully all mean how he represents himself in the medium(s) of their communication.

That distinction, the representation, is incredibly important, but as someone who became involved with my partner of damn near 20 years now, primarily through the Internet, I don't think that we should necessarily round these down to zero.
37
Major boo to the first letter written by Freaked-Out Oblivious Thespian. Boo for rudely referring to sex workers as "whores", boo for being too dumb to know the difference between prostitution and pornography, and boo for not knowing the difference between pornography and a clothed and sexless fetish piece.
38
LAW, don't worry that you lied to this guy. He's probably lying too: no way is that guy Canadian.

(Actually, there are still racist Canadians, much to my chagrin. But they seem awfully rare. I haven't met any that weren't transplants from another country--and that includes members of my own family.)
39
Beyond the obvious offensiveness of racism, "Lost" should consider someone who discriminates against someone with "ashy knees" as batshit crazy.
40
It makes me sad to discover there are gay racists out there (even sadder than meeting gay Christians). I'm the kid of an interracial couple, and that's one of the biggest reasons I promote LGBT causes; there was a time when my parents relationship was really controversial, and there are still people who believe their love is wrong.
This gay bigot doesn't see the double-standard there? He's probably as closeted as he is racist, or at least, he deserves to be.

LW3 needs to study history a little more. Your heritage is tragic, beautiful, and triumphant. You sound very young, I hope as you grow you become as proud of being "exotic" as you are being queer.

When I was a teen I had cyber-boyfriends, too. I can't even remember their names.
41
Welcome to Canada. Racism is part of the culture here. You'll find a certain subsection of Canadians--rural and urban--to be hugely intolerant of non-whites and unabashedly so.
42
Correction: I've reread and I can't tell if LAW is male of female. I just assumed they were gay because they met in a sports forum and the racist hates "men of color".

Regardless, LAW needs a stronger sense of identity.
43
@25 So, this bigot has seen brown and black folks from pretty close, or knows someone who has, if he knows what "ashy knees" are.

It's all the more disturbing. It seems the bigot is fascinated with every last skin detail of the folks he hates, and can't stop talking about it, even when he's sweet talking his internet paramour. That's some seriously fucked up person... so yes, there's reason to fear violence.

LW should just write him a break-up note saying that, when they started their email exchanges, she had hoped racist talk was just something he could grow out of, but as it appears to be deeply ingrained, she's done with him - because racism is not ok with her.

Disclosing her actual skin color would be counterproductive ; he will just take the break-up as meaning that "all women with this skin color are deceiving b***, lucky me I found out before I met her".
44
@9 - "When his watch quietly beeps..."

Everyone on a strict meds schedule should get a watch with a vibrating alarm. I got one several years ago when I had to take ADD meds several times a day (couldn't afford the time-release versions). I knew I had to remember the meds 4 times a day to function, but I hated the idea of beeping all day long.

I love the watch and still use it to remind me to do a task at work that I tend to forget. I have a Casio Pathfinder with 5 alarms. The models are supposed to be for hunting and fishing, but I've only ever used the watch, alarm, and stopwatch functions. It's 6 or 7 years old and hasn't needed a battery change yet, though the band's kind of beat up.

It isn't rocket science to figure out how to take meds on time AND on-the-go. PF's boyfriend is either looking for excuses not to go out with PF, or he's so terrified by his HIV that he can't live a normal life. In the former case, DTMFA. In the latter case, DTMCA (dump the mental case already), because he's in no emotional shape to be in a relationship.
45
For LW1: I would say it also partially depends on when he was diagnosed with HIV. After a friend was first diagnosed, he completely lost it and was terrified about everything (including his meds and their timing) for a while. Then he realized it was possible to live a normal life with HIV, and I don't get blood result updates as they occur anymore.

If your guy has been recently diagnosed and he's otherwise a good person, cut him some slack. HIV is scary, and he may need time to adjust and educate himself. If he's been HIV+ for years and is just a control freak.......hmmmmmm. Maybe time to rethink the situation.
46
@43: Bigotry is often fueled by obsession and secret attraction: homophobes are often gay, miscegenation crusaders are often Strom Thurmond. I actually smiled a little when the LW gave the "ashy knees" detail because only someone who has spent a lot of time looking at(or spending time around) black and brown people would pick up on the terminology. That the LW is at willing to put up with this asshole (is, in fact, making his/herself actively servile to his racism) is what's really disturbing.
47
#3 is so sad. I'm white and went out on a date with a guy who made an off-color remark about black people. We, of course, never had a second date. It's profoundly sad to me he has so little self-respect.
48
There is some information missing from LW#2. How long has this guy been HIV-positive? If he was recently diagnosed, I can see why he'd be so worried about taking his meds at an exact time.
49
I don't really think the director was creepy, until he asked for pictures of this guy's feet. That seems like it's both unprofessional and kind of creepy.
50
@25: Aren't we all ashy, really?
51
@50: Yes, we are. It's just high-contrast on us black and brown folks. Nice link, BTW.
53
LW3: You're not the one with the defect to hide, even though that's how you've been acting. He's got the defect to hide, and he (theoretically) saved you a lot of trouble by being too stupid or oblivious to keep it hidden.
54
@53

You put that perfectly.
55
If anyone starts talking like the POS racist in letter #3, I cut that person out of my life immediately. I don't talk to inbred idiots. The LW should do likewise.
56
There's an answer for why LW3 has come so far in the "relationship" when the red flags have been screaming to break this off--

Low self-esteem. I'll bet that the Canuck RPOS also has it as well (a fairly common trait among bigots), so they have that in common. LW can't believe that they're good enough to receive the love they want, so they end up taking whatever they get & trying to make good w/ it. (Shopping your pic to appear 'white'??? That's nothing but desperation, honey, and it won't get you anywhere.)

I know a lot of commenters here are past that stage in their lives, but have some compassion for someone who is obviously under-valuing their own self-worth.

LAW-- You can do better. The best men out there like partners who value themselves.
57
Why did the boyfriend in letter #2 choose a 10pm time for his meds? If he's so concerned about his schedule, what about breakfast, when he's far less likely to be at movies or social events?
58
Hey #3!

As a product of a white, racist piece of shit, and a Latina who thought he was cool/could change, don't even fucking think of going there. Even if you two -did-, for some reason, end up dating, he is guaranteed to say and do things that will fuck you up.
59
Funny how people talk trash about black people who photoshop themselves white and "racists" but never have (or had) word one about Michael Jackson the racist, who hated his colour so much he bleached himself completely, and put out that BS story about having "vitiligo". CODSWALLOP. I don't believe it for a second, myself! He also hated blackness enough that he 'fathered" children who had a WHITE mother and who were clearly fathered by a WHITE MAN. Now THAT's "hate"!
60
@KittyWrangler: This person could flip their shit and get dangerous!

Or, he might decide to abandon his racist beliefs out of love for her.
61
@60: If you're not being sarcastic, you have much more faith in humanity than I do. If his idea of romance and get-to-know-you chit chat is casual racism, that's a fucking wrap for me.
62
I've re-read Positively Flustered letter a few times and I have to ask if it was abbreviated or cut short or something. I am asking because I find it odd that Peter Shalit has automatically pegged them as a gay couple. The HIV positive person is obviously a guy, but the writer just identifies himself with pronouns, none of which are gender specific. If there is part of the letter that we didn't get to see or some other confirmation of it being a gay relationship that I am missing, I understand. But if there isn't, something seems kind of wrong with that inference.
63
I went and did it myself. It should say "the writer just identifies him/herself"
64
@59

You assume that just because no one's brought up some crazy ass delusional old celebrity who's been dead for yours that we're down with plastic-surgery-ing yourself into whiteness?

The fuck kind of logic is that?

Maybe MJ just isn't relevant here. Or anywhere.
65
@8: I do not consider my race superior to any other, nor do I consider any race inherently inferior. Affirmative action on the other hand is by definition racially discriminatory, a fact to which I object. Do you consider this position racist? I'm not being coy.
66
@repete

People who think affirmative action is racist have a 3rd grade level understanding of racism.
67
@66 I don't think affirmative action is racist, but I think labeling people who can identify problems with the concept as racist is something a 3rd grader would do.
68
Regardless if you agree with it or not, affirmative action is obviously racist by definition.

I guess the reason for denying that must be something like: racism = "bad"; affirmative action = "good"; so affirmative action can not be racist.

Yes, I know. I am an "asshole" and a "douchebag" and I should "die in a fire".
69
PF-- Have you tried seeing if your boyfriend's med schedule is as rigid if it forces him to keep from doing something that HE particularly wants to do? That's the general test to see if someone is genuinely rigid (or not rigid enough) about time or if someone is being a jerk.

The way it usually works is that one person is awful about time, always shows up late, keeps the other waiting, forgets when they were supposed to meet. When accused of being inconsiderate, the response is that that's just the way they are and always have been. An interesting test is to note if the person is ever late for things that would grossly inconvenience them. Do they ever miss things that they especially wanted to do because they're "just bad with time"?

I'll admit that this is the first example I've run across of the opposite, but it comes down the same thing. Thus far, your boyfriend's extreme necessity to take his meds exactly on time only inconveniences you. You have to leave movies you were enjoying. He won't attend your work functions with you. He missed your birthday. Can you figure out a way to turn it around for a test? See if he's willing to take his meds an hour late or carry his meds with him for a reason that benefits him?

When it comes to not taking responsibility when something goes wrong in a relationship, pretty much any excuse will do, so I suppose being HIV positive is as good as any. Not being sympathetic? Not being considerate to others' needs? Not being a full adult? It's the HIV's fault! Gosh, used to be people begged off intercourse by claiming a headache.

Thinking about it more, I'd say HIV positive status is the perfect excuse. Much better than a plain "you're too good for me." This way, your manipulative boyfriend can make you miserable, and you can't even break up with him without two truckloads of guilt. He holds the trump cards. He gets everything he wants. DTMFA.
70
I take, let's see...38? pills a day (for a variety of reasons, no I'm neither dying nor a hypochondriac) and I might stress (a teeny tiny bit!) if something unexpected happens and I'm going to get some late or not at all, but uh.....has this guy never heard of a pill case? And using the need for his meds as an excuse to not do stuff is absurd. I hate people like this. The LW would be doing himself a favor if he would DTMFA.
71
@67

There a difference between identifying problems with something and considering it racist.

@68

Who are you quoting?
72
@69, that was well-put. Thank you. Yeah, the difference that you're talking about is the difference between perhaps having bad OCD (needs sympathy and therapy) and being a total fucking asshole (needs to be dumped). I also think PF already knows which type of person his boyfriend is (sorry about the assumptive pronouns).

As far as affirmative action, it's meant to combat institutionalized Racism (big "R"). So it's meant to serve the greater good, even if it's pretty clumsily adminstered. I happen to think it does play a small role in combatting this form of widespread prejudice. Personally, I'd like to see that everyone has access to the same good stuff that society has provided me as a White person. It would take nothing from me (maybe a little money) if all neighborhoods had good schools, affordable housing and safe parks, for example. And it would take absolutely nothing from me if everyone had the same crack at a good job. Some affirmative action opponents seem to conflate Racism (big "R") with "racism," meaning "discrimination" (I think). But affirmative action wasn't invented to deny white guys choice jobs, it was invented to start chipping away a little bit at White priviledge. It doesn't go far enough, is what I mean, but it's got the right idea.

About the bigot online boyfriend. Sigh. Bigotry is a mental defect, girlfriend. Don't stand for it. It makes me sad that this isn't the first time I've had to explain something like that to one of my fellow brown or black human beings. Girlfriend, I'm White and even for me "no prejudice" is Rule Number One.
73
Haha, aw, I like that LW3 thought that being Canadian means you're not racist.

We deal with racism too. Sure, we didn't have slavery, and maybe it's not as loud as it is in some states, but we do have a racist history. And there's still a scary amount of anti-immigrant and anti-first nation's sentiment out there, both casual and pointed, and not just in rural areas.
So don't hold out hope that you can change him, or that deep down he knows better because he's Canadian and we're so liberal and open-minded. Nationality doesn't mean shit.
74
@mydriasis: You didn't answer my question, but let me rephrase it: Affirmative action discriminates based on race, but it's not racist because their is no ill intent? Is that the distinction between racism and racial discrimination?
75
@71 There is, but it's really just a matter of semantics. Affirmative Action is a race based discrimination process. Some people choose to label race based discrimination process as "racist" but there are others who contend that the label of "racist" can only be used to describe oppressors in a society as opposed to a word that can be used to describe anyone. I can understand that line of reasoning and try not to get held up on that and simply try to point out that while Affirmative Action may not be "racist" it's certainly borrowing some a racist's worst attributes.
76
The WORST attributes? Good lord. I can think of about fifty kinds of racist attributes infinitely worse than "OMG, they hired a black guy instead of me."
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PF-- When you do dump the manipulative boyfriend, it would be a nice twist if you told him that he's right, that you aren't understanding enough of his need to take his meds right at 10 o'clock, that he deserves someone so much better. Also suggest that he date someone who is HIV+ like himself. If you feel a need to twist the knife further, you might tell him that you'll always remember him with a special place in your heart, but that you know that you're just not good enough to take on the responsibility of loving someone so obviously worthy.
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@75: The 'race-based discrimination process' is not falling to earth out of a vacuum. It is trying to counteract existing race-based discrimination processes, i.e. institutional racism as Sandiai notes. It is actually not possible to do that without noting the races in play. (If you aren't allowed to ever notice race, you will never manage to notice discrimination or bias, nor address it. Which some people find convenient.) "Playing the game on the easy level without realizing someone turned it on" is a nice gaming analogy: people believe that because they have never noticed stuff happening to them personally it obviously doesn't happen to other people.

(To take a mundane example: My experience of walking along the street is of being frequently asked for directions. My husband, who is a foot taller, does not experience this. He is also given more personal space than I am. (And he's a mild-looking scientist.) We can do the same thing and have different experiences, based solely on the way we look.)

If anyone wants a fictional treatment, The Good Wife has tackled privilege this season, both racial preference in hiring and other forms. It's not that the State's Attorney is racist: he's not. It's just that he feels more comfortable with certain people, people who happen to look like himself and come from the same background as himself, and so come promotion time he promotes the people he feels really comfortable with over black candidates with more seniority. Or when someone screws up, when it's someone similar to himself he's able to sympathize and overlook the strictest letter of the rules, when it's someone less similar to himself there are rules and we follow them, no favoritism.
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"It's not that the State's Attorney is racist: he's not. It's just that he feels more comfortable with certain people"

What's the benefit of NOT calling that racism? Why is it such a big hairy deal to call someone's action racist? There are all degrees of racism, after all, and many small half-unconscious actions such as the attorney's add up to very large effects on society.
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@76 Sorry, there was a typo there, but that was meant to read "some of the worst attributes" not "the worst" because obviously there are worst things than racial based discrimination. And it's not "OMG a black guy got hired over me" it's "Uh, we just used race as a reason to hire someone over another."

@80 EVERYONE! To the barracks!
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Regarding LW3, I disagree with Dan's advice. This is an opportune teaching moment and should be handled properly instead of being wasted on a good zinger.

From my experience, the best way to change a bigot's perspective is to have them get to know the object of their prejudice in a genuine way. Unfortunately, this rarely happens because they can't even get past the first few moments where the person's race is evident.

But this racist has already done that, coming to appreciate someone without the issue of skin color distracting him. If handled well, there's a good chance that this racist can realize how wrong his views are and reject them. Isn't that an outcome worth aiming for?

Of course, if he shows no indication of sincerely modifying his views, then take Dan's advice and DTMFA pronto.
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@81: Well,the NFL used the approach: Make sure you have a diverse interview pool, rather than 'six guys I know well and feel comfortable with because they have a background like mine, who happen to all be white by coincidence only' standard whenever hiring for a coaching position. There are different ways to deal when you decide an institution has a history of (usually subtle nowadays) discrimination and/or bias keeping certain people out of the top levels. If your desired standard is that race should never at any point enter the hiring process, but the weird thing where it's all white people all the time is just something we hope is a coincidence--even thinking about it noticing someone's race!!!!--you probably are not going to ever be able to do anything about that helluva coincidence that keeps happening all the time.

In olden days people liked to pull up Colin Powell: See, we respected him, cause he didn't get where he was by affirmative action. Colin Powell was the first person to say that affirmative action made a difference his entire career. Right now Asians have a problem getting promoted in the military, in terms of "you people aren't like the rest of us, so we don't really think of you when it's time for promotion." Even though this is not true in, say, graduate student in computer science programs, it is true other places. If you say we can't ever notice race, or we can notice race but the only thing we can do next is have a sad, well, that's not a whole lot of help.

Also, the very fact that a letter about hating people for their carefully studied elbow shade has led to "But affirmative action! It's connected to the ashy-elbowed!" is... odd.

@82: Not everyone enjoys the role of the Model, helping to break people's expectations down by confounding all their nasty beliefs. It's one thing to say you should be out, another that you have to personally reform assholes as you drag them one by one through their nasty beliefs about yourself.

84
In regard to the foot fetish scene. The director was very upfront in the ad and sent script to all those interested. Thedy were all informed it was a piece they needed to be comfortable with fetish material. Still over 100 actors submitted to the project stating they did not care if they had to suck toes on film as long as the guys feet were clean. The rate of pay offered was 100.00 per actor for only 90 minutes at the studio which is better than being on a movie set non union making 75.00 for sitting on a set for 14 hrs a day and making 59.00 taxes taken out. People need to to know what they are talking about before they call anyone a CREEP or DECIETFUL. It bothers me reading such bullshit slamming the director. Actors should be clear on what they are submitting to before submitting their headshots. Also they were informed if they submitted for ALAN they needed to send a clear barefoot shot as well. None of this should have been a surprise. The actor was asked for a shot of his feet because he was being considered for the role. All other actors who auditioned supplied a foot shot in advance as stated in their email. Why is it that anything involving mens feet or gay material in theatre get slack all the time or are black listed for pervs or creeps? If this was hetero material it would be accepted as normal and not trashed by the public. This new generation of kids need to grow up and get a life. This director is more respected than guys who sleep around having unprotected sex and picking each other up in bath houses or online. The actors are not asked to have sex in front of the director nor were they misinformed about the type of shoot it was.
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Regarding the foot film SNIFF. All the actors that submitted were informed about the fetish material in advance and it even stated MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH FETISH MATERIAL. The problem with actors submitting is that they either don't read the ad fully or they think the director will make exceptions for them. The 100.00 fee was also written in the ad that was the compensation for 90 minutes to 2 hrs tops at the studio. No nudity involved. Most actors are willing to work non unio films for 60-75.00 up to 14 long hrs one day and get taxed on it as well. There certainly was no deceitful intentions to any of the actors, nor was anything left out of the ad that was sprung upon them at the audition. The trouble with todays generation is that they get CREEPED out older artists casting for a project like this. Age is a big issue when in the eyes of new want to be actors or just very nasty negative people. The director is not a CREEP or nor is he creepy looking. He is a very talented up front and sweet guy. I met him myself and I had no issues with the audition process whatsoever. I think you all need to grow up and stop judging a person when you don't even know what the facts of the matter are. People are too quick to pass judgement onto others. It seems when it comes to gay art, we are judged the hardest and are them most criticized in the industry. You all need to grow up and have your shit together before you go ruining someones reputation in the industry for a casting notice that is totally legit.
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Regarding the foot film SNIFF. All the actors that submitted were informed about the fetish material in advance and it even stated MUST BE COMFORTABLE WITH FETISH MATERIAL. The problem with actors submitting is that they either don't read the ad fully or they think the director will make exceptions for them. The 100.00 fee was also written in the ad that was the compensation for 90 minutes to 2 hrs tops at the studio. No nudity involved. Most actors are willing to work non union films for 60-75.00 up to 14 long hrs one day and get taxed on it as well. There certainly were no deceitful intentions to any of the actors, nor was anything left out of the ad that was sprung upon them at the audition. The trouble with todays generation is that they get CREEPED out by older artists casting for a project like this. Age is a big issue in the eyes of new want to be actors or just very nasty negative people. The director is not a CREEP, nor is he creepy looking. He is a very talented up front and sweet guy. I met him myself and I had no issues with the audition process whatsoever. I think you all need to grow up and stop judging a person when you don't even know what the facts of the matter are. People are too quick to pass judgement onto others. It seems when it comes to gay art, we are judged the hardest and are them most criticized in the industry. You all need to grow up and have your shit together before you go ruining someones reputation in the industry for a casting notice that is totally legit.
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Well, looks like Mr Fusco found his way here at last. The reason people are calling you a creep is because you're taking sexual advantage of people under false pretenses. Think about it; if a straight male director was making porn under the guise of it being an "art film," paying the actresses less than you get working the counter at an average grocery store, and requested sexual pictures from everyone auditioning... that dude would be a seriously creepy bastard. You do not get a free pass on this shit because you're gay, sorry, not how that works.
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You are ignorant and no I am not Mr Fusco! No one stated sexual pics on request. Obviously you dont read either sorry you are the one that does not get an okay on this one. You dont even know the facts about sexual pictures vs foot pic. Who ever said he requested sexual pictures
? I feel sorry for ignorant yuppies that know jack shit about life. Grow up..
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Yeah, there's no way a foot fetishist asking for pictures of feet could possibly have sexual overtones. Or that an older guy with a reputation in the industry could be leveraging that power over young naive actors for their own personal gratification.

I'm sorry Mr Fesco, which of us doesn't "know jack shit about life" again?
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BTW, gotta love the insecurity Tony.

"The director is not a CREEP, nor is he creepy looking. He is a very talented up front and sweet guy. I met him myself and I had no issues with the audition process whatsoever."

*eyeroll*
93
LW1- Based on the letter, I'd give the director somewhat of a pass. He sent out the script before the audition, so anyone who didn't like the gig could take a pass before wasting time or being surprised. His answer though, is total BS. He *wants* to make something he could be off to. Dishonesty there is creepy.

LW2- DTMFA.

LW3- I can't imagine how you excused the idea of Photoshopping your skin color. Anytime you feel you need to start lying about yourself for the sake of a relationship, it's time to think long & hard. He can't actually "love you" because HE DOESN'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE! Let him know you are not white before meeting in person. Maybe he's ok with your "non-white" heritage, but he is likely to feel angry about being deceived if nothing else. Not a good way to say, "Hello." And, as Dan points out, you find his views disturbing & distressing. Why do you want to be involved with someone who feels irrational hate?
94
I spoke with Anthony Fusco for an hour and he didn't come across as creepy at all. He was forthcoming and honest—about who he is, what he's about, and what the piece is about.
95
This sort of crap happens to actors all the time, and you're exactly right - they get used and abused and have their time wasted because we are "cheaper." (Need proof? http://nrnp.blogspot.com/) And hey, there's nothing wrong with some sexually-charged filmmaking or playacting... but then why try to hide it? It is common for audition notices to contain wording such as "no nudity, but actors must be comfortable with content of a sexual nature" or "actors must be comfortable with touching" or "sexual themes," etc. Good for you both for calling this guy out.
97
If Fusco has a thing for Fred Flintstone feet, for the cost of a round trip ticket to NY he is free exploit mine at will.
98
LAW: How sad and scary to fall for someone who's conditioned to devalue you out of hand and doesn't seem to realize or care about the harm his actions have on others. Here's hoping whatever you write to him by way of goodbye will jolt him out of his willingness to attack others' dignity in the future.
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@35: Assuming your question wasn't rhetorical... I and this person I've only interacted with through the Internet refer to each other as "my boyfriend". Here's why we think that's accurate:

He IMs me on his way home to tell me about his day, then as soon as he gets home he calls me on Skype. When he sees me he grins and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We have long conversations about politics and theorem provers and feelings. We watch movies at the same time and IM each other snarky comments. He teaches me set theory and plays me the piano. He takes his tablet with him to show me the park and let me have awkward conversations with his friends and parents. I watch him while he works and help him when he has trouble wording a sentence, then I proofread his work. When he goes to bed I lie next to the laptop and say sweet nothings to him until he falls asleep. I slash my food budget to afford a nice birthday present for him. We have tons of cybersex. If I got interested in someone else I'd immediately tell him, and if he didn't do the same I'd feel betrayed and heartbroken. We're absurdly proud when one of us introduces the other as his boyfriend. We make plans.

"This isn't a real relationship" doesn't feel insulting so much as irrelevant. We're obviously using different definitions, and whether the best definition of "relationship" matches this thing I do isn't a pressing question. What I find confusing is that once we've met in person, it will be a long-distance relationship, which many more people count as a relationship, even though not much will have changed. (Exchanging pheromones, maybe?)