The Wall Street Journal ( 9/5 ) goes on and on in an articled about male chest shaving; "... Bulging pecs and tight abs, both as smooth as a baby's bottom. Body hair ... just obstructs the view of all those muscles." It all started in the gay community, especially at circuit parties. Bill Herberkam, who runs the circuit party website, says shaved chests are ubiquitous and are " ... a total stereotype, but it's true." Quoting one shaved frat about a frat brother who only trimmed: "Scissors? That's disgusting. No wonder it's all patchy. Use clippers, dude." Have the bears heard about this?
The Atlanta Constitution ( 9/6 ) reports a controversy in the Baptist Church that is heating up: The Oakhurst Baptist Church in Atlanta has been ordaining gay men and lesbians, and has indicated under much pressure that it is not going to stop, as it is a part of their particular church's covenant. The Baptist Association that Oakhurst belongs to has had 44 of its 152 congregations withdraw, costing the Association in annual contributions. The Association voted to expel Oakhurst if it doesn't change.
Here's another thing for the right-wingers to criticize the Clinton administration for, though it's a bit more amusing: The NY Times ( 8/22 ) reports on the career change of Ben Schatz who wrote briefing papers for President Bill Clinton on gay-related issues. He has become a "sassy drag queen named Rachel...performer, lyricist, and manager of an a capella drag quartet that is taking the gay cabaret world by storm." His group, the Kinsey Sicks, was named for Alfred Kinsey's measure for sexual orientation and does not do lip-synching. They use their own natural, and occasionally unnatural voices. They're known for their parodies "Ikea" done to the tune of West Side Story's "Maria"; "Bali Hai" becomes "MCI" ( it may call you ) and a Titanic spoof called "Why Does Celine Go On?" They've just appeared in P-Town and are going on to Studio 54.
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They NY Times Book Review ( 9/9 ) reviews The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith. Highsmith, a recluse and creator of decidedly odd characters ( the bisexual psychopath Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley ) wrote a pioneering lesbian novel, The Price of Salt in 1952 under a pseudonym, Clare Morgan. Highsmith wrote later about this work ( which sold nearly a million copies ) : "Prior to this work homosexuals, male and female, in American novels had to pay for their deviation by cutting their wrists, drowning themselves ... or by switching to heterosexuality ( so it was stated ) , or by collapsing alone and miserable and shunned." The Price of Salt has a happy ending. Highsmith delivers her characteristic weirdness in this collection, including a group of murderous rodents in "Hamsters Vs. Websters"
Dan Savage, on the op-ed page of The NY Times ( 9/8 ) writes on the denial of gay adoptions in Florida, "Is no adoption Really Better Than a Gay Adoption?" Savage asks, r.e. the Florida case, how likely it is that someone is going to step forward and adopt the three African American children, two HIV-positive in this case. He mentions his own adopted son was turned down by a married heterosexual couple before being offered to Savage and his partner. Savage, as usual, cuts through the hypocrisy involved, saying the real tragedy is for the thousands of unadopted children.