Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rather Not

“This is the way my mind works, small as it is,” he says. “I settle on something and say, ‘That’s where I stand.’”

“Where I fault myself – and I fault myself on a lot of things – is that for the longest time I just refused to believe what my eyes saw and my ears were hearing.”

These are the veteran newsman’s most illuminating statements made to Joe Hagan in “Dan Rather’s Last Big Story” (“New York” magazine, 12/3/07). While the former anchor was referring to being duped by his corporate higher-ups at CBS, these quotes go a long way to explaining how he got into the “Rathergate” mess that led to his downfall in the first place. As I noted in my letter to “Vanity Fair” (published in the February 2006 issue) in response to “The 60 Minutes Takedown,” a portrait of the producer Mary Mapes who set this whole sordid business in motion:

“Mapes chose as her No. 1 source Bill Burkett, an unreliable, anti-Bush, anti-National Guard former cattle rancher, then had the audacity to fault the subsequent CBS investigative panel for its “rigid, legalistic ideas of how reporting should work…Dick Thornburgh would have found Mark Felt an inadequate source.” To compare her cattle rancher to Woodward and Bernstein’s loyal FBI man is shocking enough, but to forget that Felt was only one of a huge number of reliable sources is unethical journalism.”

This is no conspiracy, as Rather still contends. This is a case of Rather being blinded by his loyalty to Mapes in a power dynamic not unlike the one between Rudy Guiliani and his disgraced, former police commissioner Bernard Kerik. Indeed, the Jayson Blair scandal at “The New York Times” brought down both Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd. This wasn’t an evil corporate plot. This is what happens to bosses who don’t weed out shoddy reporters. If Rather expects to be vindicated through private investigators and labyrinthine lawsuits, he really is “tilting at windmills.”

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Emperor Wears A&F

This week’s “Rolling Stone” magazine features “JT Leroy: The Famous Writer Who Wowed Bono and Courtney Love – But Didn’t Exist.” Oddly enough, it really is more portrait of JT Leroy than interview with Laura Albert, JT's flesh-and-blood creator who recently lost a lawsuit brought against her by Antidote Films. Check it out then write the editor a letter of your own. Here’s my take:

Great reporting, though I wish Guy Lawson hadn’t overlooked the real issue beneath all the surreal drama. The “story” is not Laura Albert so much as the visceral, personal overreaction her “hoax” evoked in those who should know better. Between MySpace “friends” and Britney blogs we’re given the false sense that we truly know – own – our objects of adoration. Sadly, I guess it’s inevitable that dysfunctional celebrities also would buy into this myth, believe an otherwise obvious dream sprung forth from a mentally ill woman desperate not to disappoint. (After all, if the emperor wears Abercrombie & Fitch, he must exist.) The glitterati didn’t “know” JT Leroy any more than I know Courtney Love. They were simply fans – behaving like spurned lovers when the fantasy they collectively helped to create turned out to be just that.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Gay Superheroes Night" at Kinky Camp this Friday!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…

Midnight November 16th at Monkey Town (www.monkeytownhq.com) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

“Taco Chick and Salsa Girl”

Kurt Koehler’s live-action, crime-fighting, drag duo are “on the menu to save the world!”
(Not to mention parts of L.A. from Neato Nazi Barbie and White Supremacist Ken. Dios mio!)


Followed by:

“Stonewall & Riot: The Ultimate Orgasm”

Joe Phillips’ gay animated superheroes go at it! “An invention has been stolen, a brilliant professor is missing, and the only witness is lost in an extraordinary orgasmic afterglow. Can Eros City's most prominent heroes get to the bottom of things before time runs out? They'll have to fuck their way through a gallery of the most twisted and horny sex freaks ever seen.”

Come one, come all, come campy!