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05/22/2008

Not ifs, ands, or butts about it: Pete's gettin' cheeky

by Jeremy Hooper

A few days ago, we forewarned you that Peter LaBarbera had a post in the pipe wherein he planned on attacking a Queer Prom that will be held tomorrow night in Chicago. But even we didn't expect Pete to do this (arrow and writing our own):

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Yes, that's right -- in his attempt to decry the private gym and bathhouse Steamworks for sponsoring the Queer Prom, P.L. has pulled an image from the club's website, where it is posted behind a disclaimer warning that the content may not be suitable for all ages, and put it on the front page of his own "pro-family" site. For no discernible reason, he has put up a pic of gay dudes enjoying private time together, one of whom is certifiably de-panted. Odd, right?

Is this really what Pete's audience wants to see?! We're certainly not going to post a bare-assed stripper giving a straight dude a lap dance just because we think it might show readers that private sexual encounters run the homo and hetero gamut. And why? Because we have respect for our readers, who've come to expect a place where opening their browser at work is not going to lead to a bare-assed bombardment. Also, we like to let them decide for themselves what sort of sexual imagery and experiences in they choose to engage. It's just common sense. We can let our words paint a picture without needing such literal visual representation.

Pete's sometimes odd focus on dude-sex has been the topic of much conversation among not only gay activists, but also some on his side of the "culture war" fence. We've mostly overlooked all that, focusing instead on his rhetoric and attacks (the only aspect of his life of any concern to us). However, this one's a little tougher to overlook. It's just so -- unnecessary. But then again, so are the "live and let live (only in the way I see fit)" attitude that goes along with it, so why are we surprised?

Latino Youth ‘Queer Prom’ in Chicago Sponsored by Adult Homosexual Bathhouse [AFT]

**UPDATE, 5/24: Pete has now moved the image behind a jump cut, and but a white box over the man's bare derriere.

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Your thoughts

This isn't the first time that Peter put up pictures of nude males. About a year ago he displayed some pictures of a pile of porn, and it was full-on nudity. He took it down soon after and put black-boxes over the bits...

Posted by: kevin | May 22, 2008 2:05:59 PM

" How will homosexual California couples -- say, two men -- consummate their "marriages"? "

Man seems a bit too interested in gay sex if you ask me. Above is a Peter Quote.
That's not what I thought of when I heard the ruling. I thought of 100 other things, but not about sex.
Weird eh?


Posted by: banshiii | May 22, 2008 2:15:06 PM

Oh, the poor guy! What a shame that he had to look through pictures of gay guys just to prove his point. Me thinks that he enjoys the looking just a bit too much.

WWJD Pete? Probably keep his mouth shut just as he did during his ministry.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | May 22, 2008 2:16:15 PM

is it just me or does pete seem to have

a) an unsettling obsession with gay sex and/or
b) an unsettling knowledge of what happens in gay sex clubs

??

Posted by: marc | May 22, 2008 2:16:27 PM

LOL was reading the post where he attended Folsom for some - ummm... - "research" and concluded that this guy is, if not a complete manlover, is totally into situational hilarity. There are evangelical people in Alabama right now looking at a picture of five men engaging in interracial foreplay in a bathtub.

It's like the thought that statistically due to 2girls1cup, 90% of America knows what scat is. LOL..

Posted by: Chris | May 22, 2008 2:45:47 PM

Peter is giving lots of free advertising space to steamworks. That's nice of him. He seems to give Steamworks an unusual amount of attention. Why is that?

Posted by: Joe Brummer | May 22, 2008 2:47:21 PM

I think he's upset that no one asked him to the prom so it's a night at the baths instead.

Posted by: johnozed | May 22, 2008 3:44:59 PM

Here's a possible explanation:

Peter puts up pictures of naked guys on his website so that he can look at them without his wife being able to find anything suspicious in the cache/browsing history.

Matt Barber can then sneak a peek in that way, thus Peter is "serving his community."

Posted by: Evan | May 22, 2008 4:20:47 PM

That is a nice ass! As the word spreads, Pete is probably getting a lot more traffic on his site.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 22, 2008 4:22:09 PM

Doesn't it seem odd to anyone that a bathhouse is sponsoring a youth prom event? It would seem odd to me if playboy were sponsoring a straight prom event just the same. It seems that this post makes fun of the fact that Pete's posting a crazy picture on his website, but doesn't actually talk about the issue Pete has with it. I feel inclined to agree with the argument that adult businesses shouldn't be sponsoring events for youth.

Posted by: Cy | May 22, 2008 5:04:57 PM

Cy: You're right that we didn't tackle the sponsorship debate this time. That's because we have discussed the subject several times in the past, and didn't feel like delving into again today. We chose to focus on another element.

Steamworks has a reputation for supporting and donating to causes that they see as bettering the community. While clubs like that are not everyone's cup of tea (they certainly never held appeal for this writer), they are legitimate businesses that have an interest in protecting and safeguarding the gay community. We're talking about an underserved community that needs support (the prom focuses specifically on Latino youth), and a business who wishes to have a social conscious. So while I absolutely agree that it's a subject up for discussion, I do think the issues run a little deeper than just that of an adult business along the lines of Playboy sponsoring a youth event.

If Pete goes further with this, we'll flesh it all out and weigh in further.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 22, 2008 5:24:37 PM

I think I'm with Cy on this one. While I defend the right of Steamworks to operate their business, I don't like the idea of adult businesses sponsoring events for minors, even those that might need support. I wouldn't want a cigarette company or an alcohol distributor sponsoring such an event either.

If they want to give money without getting recognition, I think that's civic responsibility and to be applauded. If they want to receive recognition, then it is a form of advertising (or image placement) and while it may be nice to give money to this event, it's not exactly charity.

Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | May 22, 2008 7:33:52 PM

Hm. Why is he so interested in what goes on in the bedroom? And, if he's so *against* gays, then why does he post pictures? Why is he so fond of the subject? It's not like gay people put up pictures of straight people naked and what-not!

Posted by: A | May 22, 2008 8:25:54 PM

Should a bath house be sponsoring a prom? AIDS is on the rise for men between the ages of 18 - 25. You can put lipstick on this pig as much as you want - even an upscale bath house is in business for one purpose and one purpose only.

Frankly, I think it's a little creepy and sends the wrong message.

Posted by: stojef | May 22, 2008 9:42:32 PM

Timothy, stojef: For the record, I'm not saying I'm disagreeing with Cy. I'm just saying that I see room for reasoned discussion on this matter. And I'd like to know more facts on the matter (what sort of deal is actually in place, the expanse of their sponsorship, etc.) before weighing in. We all know that it would be a trap to form to concrete of an opinion based only on what Pete is giving us.

Again, I'll try and dig a little tomorrow and flesh out some thoughts.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 22, 2008 11:27:46 PM

I have to agree that it is inappropriate for an adult business, like Steamworks, to be sponsoring a high school prom. IMO it is irrelevant whether this is a "straight" or "gay" event, the age of the attendees makes this objectionable. Frankly, I'm not too keen on Steamwork's line of business either. Were I the parent of any of these kids I too would have a strong objection, and from a pragmatic standpoint I think it's a PR blunder to try and excuse this by saying that Steamworks has an "interest in protecting and safeguarding the gay community". Parents looking after the welfare of their kids aren't going to buy that argument and will be insulted by it. I doubt they'd have a different reaction if it were Playboy or Hustler doing likewise. IMO, Steamworks should never have been part of this prom event.

Posted by: John | May 23, 2008 12:02:12 PM

John: Apparently I need to say it again -- I'm not stating that I necessarily agree with the support. I'm saying I see room for discussion. It's very unfair of you to say of my comments, "it's a PR blunder to try and excuse this by saying that Steamworks has an 'interest in protecting and safeguarding the gay community.' It's trivializing what I have actually said in these comments.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 23, 2008 12:09:21 PM

I like Bam Bam's comments are the end of the Peter's article, breathlessly wanting to know just what adults were going to do to these kids. Ummmmm...WTF???? Do you get the feeling these two guys are just twisted as heck? For sure, I wouldn't let either one of them anywhere near my 9 year old son.

j.

Posted by: Jonathan | May 23, 2008 1:04:51 PM

I have to chime in and agree with those who pointed out the inappropriateness of a bathhouse sponsoring a teenage event. I agree that Pete's need to post naked pictures for shock value is bizarre, but don't let that cloud the real issue here. I know that wasn't G-A-Y's intent, but it tends to happen in these situations. We're so quick to get defensive when a person like this is perceived to attack us that we forget to view this situation objectively to see if this nutjob may actually have a valid point.

Posted by: NaturallyGay | May 23, 2008 3:01:06 PM

But see, NaturallyGay, here's one thing that's annoying me: It's being made to sound like I deliberately ducked away from this issue. That's simply not true. Nothing "clouded the real issue." Look, I cover Pete's ins and outs all the time. I've even discussed the bathhouse issue in length before. It's not like I ducked away from discussing it this time -- it just wasn't where I chose to go. In every single post I do, there tend to be a few ways I can go about it. This time, I chose to focus on what aspect of it: Pete's willingness to post this image. It struck me as odd, and that became the post. I only have so much time and focus.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 23, 2008 3:35:29 PM

Which is why I added:

"I know that wasn't G-A-Y's intent, but it tends to happen in these situations."

It wasn't a knock on you. It was more a knock on the gay community-at-large's knee-jerk reaction to anything said against us. Once in a blue moon, the anti-gay crowd has a point. (I'm a new reader, so I can't comment about what you've blogged on before.)

Posted by: NaturallyGay | May 23, 2008 4:07:01 PM

No, I know you weren't knocking. I was just clarifying that it wasn't a matter of being too distracted by the other topic to focus on the bathhouse discussion, but rather just an editorial choice to focus on one element rather than the other.

In all honesty, I expected him to do a followup post today, at which point I had planned to tackle his other points.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 23, 2008 4:13:35 PM

I've been to Steamworks & never seen the whirlpool or pool as pictured. However, seeing the pic has given me the incentive to return. Peter's post probably has drummed us business for Steamworks. Thanks, Peter!

Posted by: Chicago George | May 23, 2008 7:58:25 PM

Jeremy,

I didn't mean this as a personal attack but we do have a fundamental disagreement here. I see no "room for discussion on this" because an adult business should not be sponsoring an event for minors - period. What annoys me is that because this is a business that caters to gay men some are giving it a free pass. Are bathhouses sacrosanct or do we recognize that there are certain lines that shouldn't be crossed?

You have been very good at taking Porno Pete to task for his failings, goodonya for that, but like a broken clock occasionally he is right. Whatever adults do is their own affair, but that doesn't change the fact that Steamworks shouldn't be involved in an event for minors. The parents of these kids have every right to be upset and I don't blame others for sharing that sentiment.

Let's skip the niceties and talk practical politics. Are bathhouses sacrosanct? The essence of what it means to be gay? As a gay man myself I for one would reject such an idea even if others may disagree with me. How exactly do you think this plays in Peoria? Porno Pete is all too happy to exploit this to further his own agenda, but how do you think Mr. & Mrs. Middle Class America will view all of this? Why, Porno Pete is right! Them darn gays do have an agenda and like we've always heard are out for our kids! Excusing this or stating that there is more than one side because you are afraid of "offending" someone only makes matter worse. What, did you think Porno Pete and those like him made this stuff up? Not at all. They take the worst examples and attempt to project it upon the whole. Pretty sleazy to be sure but it doesn't help when by our silence we allow them to. No, despite his motives this time Porno Pete is right: Steamworks should NOT be sponsoring a prom for minors.

Posted by: John | May 23, 2008 9:05:10 PM

Nor did I take it as a personal attack, John. I just think it's funny that we could even HAVE a "fundamental disagreement," considering I'm not on any one side here. All I have done is present some food for thought, and say that (a) I so see some room for discussion, and (b) do not want to weigh in on this situation based only on Pete's information, and. How that has turned into me agreeing with one side is beyond me.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 23, 2008 11:30:04 PM

Jeremy: The fact that you "see some room for discussion" is itself where we have a fundamental disagreement. It boggles the mind that anyone can "see some room for discussion" when it comes to adult businesses sponsoring events for minors. Whether you wish to admit it or not, you HAVE chosen a "side", especially when you attempt to mitigate Steamworks' participation in this event by citing their charitable activities and state that they have "an interest in protecting and safeguarding the gay community". Whooptie-friggin-doo. The owners of Steamworks could behave like Mother Teresa during their off time and that wouldn't change at all the nature of their business and how wrong it is for them to sponsor an event for minors.

Yes, Porno Pete is a sensationalist who is exploiting this as he does with everything else about 'teh gheys'. Are you surprised? I'm not.

Posted by: John | May 24, 2008 8:52:04 PM

::sigh:: I didn't "attempt to mitigate Steamworks' participation in this event by citing their charitable activities and stating that they have 'an interest in protecting and safeguarding the gay community'." My intent was to say that bathhouses in general, regardless of how one feels about them, probably feel that they have "an interest in protecting and safeguarding the gay community." All I was saying is that from the perspective of the business owners, they might feel a strong will/need to give back to the gay community. They may genuinely feel that they are in the unique position to lead of issues like safe sex and HIV prevention. You and I might find that completely off-base and think that these businesses are the problem, and not in any way the solution. But I was just raising one side of this, basically asking the question: If these businesses are allowed to be in operation, do we allow them to throw money to genuinely good causes that could truly benefit the community, or do we automatically shut them out?

What I think is annoying me (still only on a professional level, not a personal one) is that since I am raising questions for discussion, you are painting me into a box that I feel is unfair. But for now think I'm done weighing in on it. I'll try and do a post on the issues at hand on Tuesday, so that we can all hopefully have a more fully fleshed out discussion on the situation. Have a nice long weekend.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 24, 2008 10:20:20 PM

"My intent was to say that bathhouses in general, regardless of how one feels about them, probably feel that they have 'an interest in protecting and safeguarding the gay community.' All I was saying is that from the perspective of the business owners, they might feel a strong will/need to give back to the gay community."

No doubt Playboy & Hustler feel likewise when it comes to the heterosexual community, but so what? They are seeking to expand their future market and such would be a smart business move. Yet why raise this in the first place if you are NOT making excuses for them? Porno Pete's objection, as I understood it, was grounded in the very extreme inappropriateness of an adult business sponsoring an event for minors. Granted, his antipathy for all things homosexual factors into this along how he exploits these episodes to further his anti-gay agenda, but that doesn't change what the main focus of his objection is. What possible difference does this being a gay establishment make here? Is anything changed in this objection if Playboy & Hustler were sponsoring a prom? I think not. If we truly want to be treated as equals (damn what Porno Pete wants) than it behooves us not to give special exemption to the seedier establishments in our community that the public-at-large refuses to do for the straight ones.

"They may genuinely feel that they are in the unique position to lead of issues like safe sex and HIV prevention."

Are there no publich health organizations whose services could be sought or are bathhouses the sole repositories of such expertise?

"If these businesses are allowed to be in operation, do we allow them to throw money to genuinely good causes that could truly benefit the community, or do we automatically shut them out?"

You are ignoring the mainstay of Porno Pete's objection: their sponsoring an event for MINORS. If this was about an event for adults, that would alter the discussion dramatically as we all are free to choose to attend or not as our consciences dictate. When minors are involved that it vastly different.

"What I think is annoying me (still only on a professional level, not a personal one) is that since I am raising questions for discussion, you are painting me into a box that I feel is unfair."

With all due respect, Jeremy, you painted yourself into that box when you chose to focus on a trivial matter and seemed to brush away concerns about an adult business sponsoring an event for minors. You usually do a superb job, quite humorously too, when addressing these matters but this one left me greatly disappointed.

Posted by: John | May 26, 2008 6:41:02 PM

And your comments have left me equally disappointed. John.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 26, 2008 6:43:19 PM

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