The Power Issue: Jono

If Joy Silver‘s our wise gay grandmother, Jono‘s our wise-ass uncle.

We’ve known the PR-cum-event-production-guru since we were but mere faglings, tottering about in our training heels. Luckily, Jono took us under his homo-wing, sharing with us his…shall we say “unique” view of the world…

When he’s not organizing parties for Kanye West and Isaac Mizrahi or wrangling press for the likes of photographer Timothy Greenfield Sanders, Jono jets off to Australia, where he did some time a-learnin’ and a-teachin’ at Sydney University.

While you may recognize him as a talking-head on VH1’s Fabulous Life, he’s taken some time from his current Austalian jaunt to offer his thoughts on the state of the homo nation.

Listen up, kiddies, because it’s a very important message. And when we say important, we mean the spot-on rantings of a bitter fag (don’t be fooled by the cheery picture).

Power Poof
By Jono

Just because you’re gay doesn’t make you interesting. It doesn’t make you creative. And lord knows it doesn’t make you a great conversationalist. It means you suck dick.

There, I said it.

There seems to be this obtuse myth that guys have fallen for that they’re remarkable just because the like cock. It probably started when their parents told them all they were “special” just because they were different. Yeah, right.

Special is as special does. Interesting is as interesting does. I am so bored with these gay guys who think they are “special” merely because they got out of bed one day and came out of the closet. We’re here! We’re queer! And we’re drinking Starbucks triple caramel lattes and wearing khaki Gap twills!

Fuck off.

There used to be such an intense power within the community. Where did it come from? I don’t know. Maybe it built up through years of torment and mainstream banishment. Maybe it was because only the strongest, bravest, and cleverest of boys could move beyond the closet. Maybe this power sprang from the culture-at-large: a culture that consistently pummeled and excluded the gays, forcing us to turn inward, where we discovered hidden talents.

Regardless of their origins, these hidden talents often manifested themselves in the intellectual and creative spheres that continue to resonate throughout our world. Giants like Truman Capote and James Baldwin yielded unmitigated power through the pen. Oscar Wilde could slit your throat with wit and intellectual ridicule. And all would kneel before Quentin Crisp: a queen worthy of that title and rank. Now these were gays!

Gays weren’t just sucking dick. Sure they did that, but it wasn’t all they were doing and it certainly wasn’t what defined them as being gay.

Now calm down. Yes, there are all sorts of gay guys out there who are interesting, who are creative and who can carry a great conversation. So don’t get your panties in a knot if you fall into this category. I’m sure you are the most interesting person you know, maybe even the most interesting person I know – I live in Chelsea.

The trouble is this tidal wave of gays who have circuit partied their way onto the lavender stage and clamed the homo mantel as their own. We need our own film, a film like An Inconvenient Truth that shows the slow encroachment of the middle-of-the-road gay and how we were asleep at the wheel when they devastated the planet through banal conversations about DJ’s and gym routines.

Seeing the world is more than getting on the gay Greyhound tour of circuit parties and gay bars. Put down the US Weekly kids and pick up something written above the third grade level (no, really, because I need someone to talk to).

The buck stops here.

Every gay must question his gayness not by who they are sleeping with, but what are they doing to contribute to the long history of out-of-the-ordinary, intelligent, creative and fascinating queers. By doing so, our generation will bring a new power to the poof that has been dwindling since the 1990’s, making us all worthy of the title “gay”.

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  • Noah

    Bravissimo {{As i stand up in my cube and applaud}}

  • Cullan

    Not everyone can be fabulouth. As with everyone else on the planet, most people ARE middle of the road and that should be fine. Perhaps, in getting caught up in the glitz and glamour of being ever-so-fabulouth, we’ve overlooked those feel no need to stand in the lavender spotlight (a horrid color on anyone). Perhaps, we’ve overlooked those who have walked softly and carried a big stick (no penis pun there).

  • Mike

    It strikes me a bit ironic that Mr. Jono complains that the level of discourse in our community has been reduced to that of DJs and gym routines and he lives in Chelsea. Perhaps he should leave the neighborhood if he wants to meet some interesting gay guys. Chelsea afterall is the home of the prettyboy gymclone circuit boy. Gay ghettos like that often attract those with no real identity of their own, so they seek one en masse in a place like Chelsea. He may find the “stronger, braver, cleverer” gay men he seeks in less gay neighborhoods. You don’t have to be strong, brave or clever to be gay in Chelsea.

  • mr. guy

    Well, Mary, I’d include you in a list of power poofs. If you’re going to name drop at least get the correct spellings of “the gays,” Quentin Crisp, Oscar Wilde. Neophyte, if the khaki pants fit …

  • Roblangel69

    Mike said ” He may find the “stronger, braver, cleverer” gay men he seeks in less gay neighborhoods. You don’t have to be strong, brave or clever to be gay in Chelsea.” Amen and amen. The obvious could not have been more succinctly stated.

  • Andrew Belonsky

    Editor Andrew Belonsky here – I don’t usually step in, but I must say that the misspellings of Oscar Wilde and Quentin Crisp are my fault, no Jono’s. I’m the editor, he’s just the contributor. I take sole responsibility for the mistake.
    So there, Mr. Guy. So There…

  • vince

    As OCD as I am about spelling and such, dismissing an argument or idea because of typos is ridiculous. Whatever.

    The message is spot on.

  • Paul Raposo

    And we should all appreciate this glorified party-promoter’s opinion because?

    Does Jono’s opinion of vacuous gays still stand when he’s “swishing” about, flaunting his obvious gayness to appear chic, clever and culturally relavent to the glitterati he kow-tows to?

    Does the mono-named Jono appreciate the irony in using his name as an adjective rather than a noun, while lambasting gays whom he considers his intellectual inferiors?

    Jono clearly goes out, but does he get out very much? Does he appreciate that there are many different personalities that make up the GLBT spectrum, all of whom bring their own life experiences, opinions and abilities to the mélange of gay life?

    Would Jono be upset if he were informed that he’s special–not “gay” special, but the other kind of “special”?

    There is one thought in his harangue that I must proudly concur with; Fuck off.

  • jono

    It seems that those reading this and finding fault seem to think that should I leave Chelsea and move to a place, such as the outskirts of Brooklyn or the better parts of Astoria then I will suddenly find deep and meaningful homos but to say this misses the point. I am not addressing my specific needs nor my friends as I have many interesting and creative people in my world – both gay and straight. My commentary is about the state of the community and as a group we are no longer the cutting edge people that we once were nor are we allowed to continue to claim the laurel proclaiming our counter-establishment creative superiority over the straight world.

    We once could. No more. Maybe it’s because the world has changed to allow straights to be more like us… maybe our community is meeting the straight world in the middle. Maybe its because so many gays have given up trying. If one is to take one point away from my over-the-top, purposefully provocative ranting is this… one has to work hard to be interesting. That’s all.

    And one last note on Chelsea… Not that I will defend any bastion of gay mediocrity however when one finds a good deal on real estate in this town one packs ones stuff and moves in.

  • jono

    Oh, and one more thing, as proud as I am of my current occupation – an occupation that allows me a tremendous creative outlet — It does not require a higher education to understand or appreciate my point – this “glorified party-promoter” as described by Paul Raposo holds multiple degrees including a Master’s in Identity Development and has taught sociology on the university level. Let’s cut the personal attacks and think about the issue.

  • Mike

    I respectfully disagree Mr. Jono. If anything gay men are recognized now more than ever for their creative contributions and they are able to do so without having to hide their sexuality. It has become a matter of fact, no longer of speculation or innuendo, that gay men are responsible for everything from cutting edge fashion to award winning literature. And unlike in the days of Wilde or Capote, they can actually deal freely with gay subject matter. An arguement that somehow repression creates better artists or more interesting people seems to me one rooted in self-loathing and homophobia.

    In respect to NY real estate, I’ll bet you could have found a better deal in Astoria.

  • jono

    Mike, I wholeheartedly agree with you that there are tremendous gay men out there doing some amazing things. The point was not to address specific people and their actions but to address what seems to be the acceptance of mediocrity. Mainstream society has always promoted the safe middle of the road lifestyle while gays have traditionally bucked this. It would appear that many more, in their need for total acceptance, have turned down this path towards mediocrity. This “essay” was never about individual contribution – yours, mine or anyone else’s reading this blog. In fact, I would say that the bulk of people reading and contributing to this blog are already light-years ahead of those to which I am criticising.

  • mike

    Jono, your last comment sounds like a little different arguement than you were originally trying to make. Also, think of it this way–those same gay guys who have fallen into a banal mediocre gay existence today would have fallen into miserable, mediocre “Brokeback” marriages “in their need for total acceptance” back in the days of Wilde or Capote. There have always been and will always be the mediocre among us (most can’t help it, poor things, they were born that way)–but at least they don’t have to be closeted anymore.

  • Poodle

    I think people need to reflect on the myriad of issues that are competing for our attention, gay or straight.

    Stonewall era gays did not have as many after-your-dollar organizations vying for them. Put another way the internet and mass marketing divides us. Rather than being fully devoted to “saving the whales” I now must save the rainforest, the starving children of Ethopia, the literacy initiative in Chicago, the genocide in Darfur, the plight of the Tibetans, the girl scouts, the HRC campaign, the Cente(red) campagin for HIV/AIDS, Oprah’s book club, the NYS Pride Agenda, Sally Struther’s Save the Children fund, etc. etc. etc. —And those were the groups that sent me mail last week. Let’s not even begin to talk about what I received in email.

    We’re divided and our issues are more complex. By the way let’s not forget that at any given moment there are perhaps 50,000 of us online searching for the next hookup, while others of us are chat forums/message boards and blogs reading up on and or discussing issues of interest.

  • Paul Raposo

    >think that should I leave Chelsea and move to a place, such as the outskirts of Brooklyn or the better parts of Astoria then I will suddenly find deep and meaningful homos but to say this misses the point. I am not addressing my specific needs nor my friends as I have many interesting and creative people in my world – both gay and straight. My commentary is about the state of the community and as a group we are no longer the cutting edge people that we once were nor are we allowed to continue to claim the laurel proclaiming our counter-establishment creative superiority over the straight world. one has to work hard to be interesting. That’s all.Let’s cut the personal attacks and think about the issue.Let’s cut the personal attacks and think about the issue.< I gave this particular issue exactly the amount of time it warranted and deserved.

  • [email protected]

    Many gay men of today seem all too eager to be perseved as “straight acting” and think they break gay stereotypes by being “masculine” which they often translate into being dull and boring.
    Wilde, Capote, and Crisp might be ignored/shunned by todays gay culture.

  • jono

    WOW, Paul, you’re a bit hostile. Deep breath babe. There has been some really interesting feedback on this from all sorts – much of which I totally agree with and some of which has made me think deeply but you, wow, you just feel the need to attack me personally.

    Why the anger?

    You know nothing about my world nor my interesting friends in it. My friends criss cross the spectrum from Drag Queens and hookers to civil rights lawyers and documentarty film makers. It’s not about people being like me or like my friends – the commentary is about mediocrity and about the dumbing down of our community through celebrity magazines, the cult of the dj and over-extended gym routines. It’s about going beyond the mainstream. I appologize if I didn’t express that in a way you understood.

    And as for MY constant struggle to remain intersting.. I work on it each and every day. You?

  • Colin

    First I must admit that Jono is basically my sister separated at birth (and a few years apart)…we’ve been close friends for nearly two decades, and we met fighting AIDS. I appreciate and very much share his dissappointment in the character of our “community”at the moment, though we do disagree on the import of various aspects of the issue, and I have my own theory of where we went wrong and how we can get back on track.

    Back in the day, when Jono and I met in New York City, almost everyone we knew was engaged in the fight against AIDS. And if I met someone at a bar and hooked up, if he wasn’t engaged, I got him engaged. That’s what a community is…shared interest in a mission outside of one’s own self-interest. DICK and ASS does not count. In those days everyone had safer sex because we didn’t want to get HIV if we were negative, we wouldn’t even think about giving it to someone as a ‘gift.’

    Sadly things are very very different now. Yes Poodle is quite engaged in every community in need, but it seems most fags turn out only if their gaggle decided it’s the right place to see and be seen, or they get their name in bold on some donor list…who’s stuffing the envelopes, who’s manning the phones, making sandwhiches for volunteers, delivering food to the homebound? Who’d rollilng up their sleaves and getting dirty?

    The truth is the great gays of history weren’t part of a ‘community’ they were part of an underground…by definition, showing up was not enough to to be welcomed. In truth, many were supported and got promoted through the artist salons of London, Paris and New York…thoses were creative communities and though I’m sure everyone shared their sexplotes around the dinner table, that wasn’t the point. It was about the work, the exchange of ideas.

    And just like women who are mysteriously absent from the vast majority of history text, we have to assume that for every straight man who’s great contribution is noted, there was probably an equal number of straight women doing something of equal value, and probably 10-20% of the men were gay.

    So the real question is why are we still talking about sexuality in 2006? Do we ask our straight friends which do it missionary style and which doggy-style, and refer to them accordingly? How focused on our sex lives are we that one can’t imagine a chat room profile that doesn’t list (exaggerated) cock size and top/bottom requirements? Even in the bars, on the rare occasion that someone breaks from his pack to say hi…the top/bottom question is one of the first things asked? As if fucking is all that matters and there’s only one way to do it…what a sad loss of connection.

    So where to? Lets take Poodle’s cue and think about all the problems in the world…all the human beings who are suffering, many many who’s lives are so much worse than we could even imagine. And lets make sure our political clout and financial support enables change that benefits society at large, and lets do it in a way that promotes our community’s character.

    And let’s stop thinking that the way we fuck makes us special…it doesn’t and never can. What makes anyone special is the ability to feel and to hope and to share, whether creatively, financially, intellectually or emotionally. One hundered years from now, will history think gay’s were more special, that we felt more, shared more? I doubt it.

    But more importantly, I hope it’s just a silly question that no one would think to ask.

  • Paul Raposo

    >…you’re a bit hostile…Why the anger?You?You?< I am the pure, unadulterated definition of interesting. Infact, when people want to say someone is interesting, they don't say they're interesting, they say they're Paul Raposo

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