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Media Watch
Online Special
by JIM EDMINSTER
2008-02-13


From the 'Are-Bumper-Stickers-Media?' file: One saw being passed around at Charlie's, the gay C&W bar in Chicago, a car sticker that read 'Gays for Huckabee. We know something u don't.'

Time Out Chicago ( Jan. 24-30 ) featured in its Gay & Lesbian section the Chi-Town Squares, Chicago's gay square dancing club for many years. It sounds like the organization has finally solved its perennial problem and has near-parity in its ratio of female and male members. Perhaps the fact that anyone can lead or follow and no one has to wear the damned skirts and crinolines required in many straight clubs helped. A personal story: A number of years ago, my sister—coming from a summer dance class in halter top, shorts and leg warmers—was asked by a 70ish woman sitting with a square dance club at a McDonalds why a woman would dare come out in public dressed like that. Sis, being polite, didn't answer but I would've asked the woman the same thing; she was wearing a pink square dance dress with orange petticoats that pushed the skirt to her nose, had big blue hair, red tennis shoes, half-dollar sized rouge cheek spots and lots of clanky jewelry.

Time magazine ( Feb. 4 ) reports that the status of gays in China resembles 'Don't ask, don't tell.' There are a number of gay clubs in the larger cities. ( 'Destination' is the biggie in Beijing. ) There is some subtle rebellion among the mostly subdued gay population: Young gay men have ironically adopted the communist term tongzhi ( comrade ) to refer to each other. Historical China didn't fuss much about homosexuality, but the early communist government suppressed it and even executed homosexuals. Things have quietly mellowed and, now, there are even places where gay couples hold hands in public although, like all Chinese, everyone is cautious about offending the government.

Intelligent Life magazine ( Jan. 28 ) tells us of 'The Sex Diaries of John Maynard Keynes.' Keynes was an influential economist in the early 20th century, but when he was a young gay man he was, in gay terms, a slut. But since he was into numbers he kept track of all ( all! ) of his sexual encounters, labeled them as to type and graded his performance. Unfortunately, he did this all in code so we often know where ( Vauxhall ) or who ( Lytton Strachey—also famous ) , but not exactly what they did. The article's author, Even Zimroth, has much correspondence of his own with gay men ( Zimroth is straight ) about what the label letters 'C', 'A' and 'W' mean. One can guess ,but hardly any possibilities are especially repeatable. Keynes also threw in a lot of numbers but whether they were prices or inches is moot. There is much speculation about all this and there is probably a thesis or four aborning here.

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