We have it on good authority that despite Details‘ reputation for being six beers away from turning queer, editor Dan Peres is a raging homophobe, that those racist and offensive “Gay or…” pieces that he’s been forced to apologize for are composed laughing at us instead of with us and that the gays on staff are constantly subjected to Mickey O’Rourke-esque fag jokes.
But we like Details. Those “Gay or…” pieces are pretty funny and we enjoy Michael “I write about hot gay sex, but don’t actually do it” Chabon’s ongoing column in the magazine. Plus, carrying around a copy of Details in your back pocket is hanky code for “Likes to fuck metrosexuals/ likes to be fucked by metrosexuals”– we forget which side means which.
The inclusions of Clay Aiken and “pregnant man” Thomas Beatie in their annual “Power 40 List” is a perfect example of the queasy/happy dichotomy Details heaps upon the gay reader.
The Aiken piece sort of makes us uncomfortable, since essentially the message of the piece is “Clay Aiken sucks and you all are pathetic for caring about his gayness”, which of course is true, but something that doesn’t scream “power” so much as “power bottom”:
“When Ellen came out to a national magazine it was a pioneering move. When Lance Bass did it, well, he knew a good idea when he saw one. But when Clay Aiken announced “I’m gay” on the cover of People, it was proof that a has-been’s hunger for publicity is matched only by America’s insatiable fag-scination. Was this a bombshell five years after the former American Idol had his 15 minutes, two years after the National Enquirer reported that he’d solicited sex in gay chat rooms? “You’d have to say good job for something that has so little news value,” says Larry Gross, director of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.”
On the other hand, Details‘ coverage of Thomas Beatie is surprising just for the fact that the magazine makes no bones about Beatie’s inclusion in a list of men:
“Forget the freakish photos, the media circus, and even the dude-with-pillow-under-his-shirt send-up on SNL. Thomas Beatie, legally speaking the world’s first pregnant man, forced us to glimpse what male motherhood is like–and it’s both beautiful and terrifying. Regardless of how history views the transgender man, a onetime Miss Hawaii Teen USA finalist, he sure left the Y-chromosome crew with lasting questions: Would you if you could? Do the joys of childbearing outweigh the drawbacks? Will they give me an epidural?”
Who would you like to see on a gay Power 40 list?