Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Winter 1997-1998

Warren Allen Smith

Gossip from Across the Pond

by Warren Allen Smith

In Britain the royal family is having its private affairs exposed by Ms Kitty Litter. Concurrently, in America Ms Paula Jones is trying to expose our President’s privates. Years ago when he was Governor of Arkansas, she says, Bill Clinton dropped his trousers and demanded oral sex. Her lips quivering, she has brought charges and demanded that Clinton be photographed to prove her claim that he has “a distinguishing characteristic” known as Peyronie’s disease, of which she was witness. As our parents all taught us, that’s when there’s a sharp curvature when the penis is erect. Because there is admittedly no direct physical evidence of wrongdoing, poor Paula’s perilous predicament is pitiable. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton’s physician has reported that during his annual physical the president was found to be “normal in all respects”. (That he is normal, of course, has been known ever since he supported the Armed Forces “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.)

The New York Times failed to include in a widely printed photograph taken at Gianni Versace’s funeral that next to a weeping Elton John and Diana, the late Princess of Wales, were John’s long-time partner, David Furnish, as well as Versace’s Antonio D’Amico (who now will inherit $30,000 per month from the Versace estate).

Gianni Versace’s killer, Andrew Cunanan, was heavily into sadomasochistic sex, according to Maureen Orth in Vanity Fair (September ’97). He was into drugs, latex, and face masks with just the nostrils showing through. Receipts found in his belongings indicated that he had been in New York City on May 5, 6, 7 and 8. He had seen a movie on 23rd Street near the famed Chelsea Hotel, and he had gone to a west side club that advertises steam rooms, showers and weights. Muscular types in the gay Greenwich Village and Chelsea areas are wondering if perhaps he may have rubbed up against them.

Nearby, at 206 West 23rd St, the “world’s first S&M cafe” has opened. La Nouvelle Justine has waiters with whips, and diners sit in an appropriately depraved environment. Not far away at the 14th Street’s Manhole, gay as well as straight S&M clubs share space. One feature is a motorcycle, upon which a couple may sit and, in between loud slaps, “Thank you, sir” is clearly audible.

Pianist Van Cliburn, who won the 1958 Tchaikovsky Competition and went on to accumulate a fortune as a star concert pianist, has won a palimony suit brought by Thomas Zaremba. A Texas Court of Appeals dismissed Zaremba’s claim that the two had been sexual partners starting in 1966 and that he had provided services “like shopping, doing the mail, paying the bills, drafting checks, co-managing the household, and dealing with accountants, creditors and real estate agents in exchange for a share in Cliburn’s income”.

In a documentary film about his lifestyle, Elton John mentions the fake names he has used when checking in to hotels, such as Sir Colin Chihuahua, Prince Fooboo, and Sir Humphrey Handbag. When his mother once rang up to ask for him when he was registered as Sir Horace Pussy, according to columnist Larry Sutton, the hotel clerk asked “who is calling?”. She wasn’t too pleased, says Elton, at having to respond, “Mrs Pussy”.

Challenging an article in The Advocate that claimed secular gays and lesbians are indebted to their religious counterparts, Harley A. Brown of Philadelphia’s gay and lesbian secular humanist group retorted in that magazine (2 September ’97) that “It was secular psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, biologists and philosophers who developed the humanistic attitudes and scientific basis for the social acceptance of homosexuality. Apart from the Unitarian Universalists, no major straight-controlled churches have been able to immediately accept this because the Bible, ‘the word of God’, and irrational faith has stood in the way.”

Katha Pollitt, the controversial American writer and secular humanist (for whom religion is “the eternal enemy of human happiness and freedom”) has observed that Princess Diana and Mother Teresa were both “flowers of hierarchical, feudal, essentially masculine institutions in which they had no structural power but whose authoritarian natures they obscured and prettified”. Both, she found, “despite protestations to the contrary, were in the modern mass-market image business. Neither challenged the status quo that produced the social evils they supposedly helped alleviate. In fact, by promoting the illusion that nuns with no medical training, or selling your dresses for charity, could make a difference on a significant scale, they masked those evils or even (in the case of Mother Teresa’s opposition to abortion and birth control) made them worse.” Why, Pollitt questioned, should children’s hospitals require Di’s fundraising services instead of receiving adequate support from taxpayers.

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Created : Sunday, 1999-02-28 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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