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OUTrageous – OUT Just Doesn’t Get it

OUTrageous – OUT Just Doesn’t Get it

30 November 2009

By Xena

Ref: OUT Magazine online comments on Adam’s AMA performance

Adam’s point is and always has been that he acts on his own terms.  OUT can claim no victory here as Adam chose a mainstream awards show to challenge the boundaries of the broader public’s acceptance of sexually provocative activities by men on television.  By your clearly stated position in the “Dear Adam” editorial, his first magazine cover should have been yours, for your audience.  By this logic, Adam should have saved this rather explicit performance for a “gay” show, not great big, mainstream, prime time production.

You also charged that Adam has no control over his public presentations, while he has stated repeatedly that he does, hence his closing “remark” to you at the end of his AMA performance.  Do you believe him now?

Language should not be “slippery” for a veteran writer and it was quite clear that the letter was a patronizing attempt to use Adam’s refusals for your apparent attack on “the record industry’s conservatism and timidity”, but sounded much more like an attempt to blame someone else for your failure to secure his first cover.  Were you unwilling to criticize the gay performer directly and instead went after a presumed heterosexual corporation?  Perhaps a different celebrity would have shriveled in the face of the criticism and done – what?  What exactly, were your demands?  Who’s next on the firing line?

How can you possibly claim “We believe that such an old school way of separating gay and straight needs to be challenged by those with the confidence and talent to stand up to the bullies.”?  Separation is precisely what your magazine demanded when Adam chose Rolling Stone, a music industry magazine as his first cover and big interview and not OUT.  Here are your options – you forgot what you wrote, you changed your mind or you are hypocritical.  There have been two bullies involved here, your magazine and the TV watchdog group.  Adam has stood up to both.  The record company appears unfazed, Adam is as unscripted as he ever was in his interviews, where he has taken the opportunity to raise his censorship issue over and over and have interviewers of all stripes nodding in agreement.

Adam has steadfastly avoided such “old school” separation and is making his own way out there with a whole slew of fans who love him because he is a great singer, a unique performer, a man who has brought the “show” back to “showbiz”, is smart, charismatic, articulate and he’s got a ferocious, unfettered sex appeal that is attractive to all sexes, no matter what he does with whom.  We will be at his concerts, because it’s not about politics, agendas or movements, it’s about our enjoyment of a performance that we expect – is unpredictable and surprising, challenging and courageous.

Judging from the comments accompanying the online note, your readership is divided on Adam’s performance and its impact on whatever political interest each writer is pursuing.  It seems your magazine only wants him as the Gay Idol Poster Boy when he does what you want, on your terms.  You will however need to be much more specific.  Just which “gay group” is Adam supposed to represent by the way?  One group – the conservative, pro-gay marriage activists are really angry, yet the freedom of expression ones are happy, while the misogynists will insult Adam as long as women love him or he goes near any.  Sounds as divided as society at large and that is as it should be, with respect for individuality in art and life.

It seems that OUT magazine is not a media outlet representing all the interests, issues and agendas of the entire gay population or groups therein, if it were, the comments would be more consistent and they are all over the place.  Perhaps OUT is overreaching here and being too issue-specific for its readership, or this will provoke an interesting debate based on – for whom Adam is supposed to be a -role model/cheerleader/champion/figurehead/provocateur/political leader?  He doesn’t wear “victim” well at all, so don’t even bother to go there.

Adam’s only interest here is with respect to the Entertainment business, nothing more, and it was to address his claim of a double standard for men vs. women in performance, on television.  “Gay man” is a further breakdown and the only one in which you are interested, especially since it was the two acts with men that got all the attention by the members of the media.  These two acts were not rehearsed but were spontaneous, so the “gay” part only happened after the fact.  Other commentators had a problem with his dragging a woman by her foot and whatever he was doing with the female dancer on the chair and the whole theme.

Among people with whom I have spoken – all straight, men and women – no problem with AMA performance, big problem with the GMA cancellation and raves about his courage.  Record sales are good.  Where’s the beef?  Oh yes and now that you seem pleased with Adam’s fulfillment of some sort of obligation to you, how many tickets will OUT and its readers buy for his concerts?  We like to see money where the pen is.

I was wondering – where are other entertainers on Adam’s performance?

Here is Michael Sarver on Thanksgiving.  At about 3:00 the interviewer asks him about Adam’s performance and what a rational human being Michael Sarver is, sensitive, straight and honest.  He makes me cry “My twitter page is not a platform for hate”, without hesitation, with complete confidence. Michael’s music will be available on iTunes on December 8th.

Xena is a writer, policy analyst and commentator who has an opinion on everything, and co-author with “Juneau” of the forthcoming book, On the Meaning of Adam Lambert – order at

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