Your post is 'ridiculous,' says he who ran photo of man licking another's butt
We have a startling admission to make. That is: Peter LaBarbera was actually correct about a fact that we ourselves got wrong.
The dealie: Well yesterday, Pete wrote a post in which he defends his recent decision to use explicit photos from a certain fetish fair that takes place in San Francisco as a way of linking gays and gay rights to the bacchanalia on display. And in that post, Pete makes this claim about yours truly:
Incidentally, [Zombietime, a website who was at the fair], like AFTAH’s own eye-witnesses, contradicts homosexual activist Jeremy Hooper’s ridiculous attempt (also belied by the crowd photo above) to discredit AFTAH’s report by falsely claiming that Up Your Alley “was actually not ‘public.’ This is a paid, closed-off event. Yes it takes place in the streets; but these are blocked off streets!” In contrast, Zombietime, who was actually there, writes (emphasis his):
“And remember that this fair is completely free, and open to the public without any admission charge, and is held on public city streets.”
So here's where we were wrong: It turns out that Pete is actually correct about the price point. The Up Your Alley Fair is, apparently, free, but with a suggested donation of five bucks. The person who we talked to who was on site paid the five dollars, and seems to have assumed that the money was obligatory rather than optional. So we just took the word that there was five dollar charge at face value. Our mistake.
Now, that being said -- there are certainly entry gates to the event. It is still held on certain, closed-off streets that are dedicated for the day to the fetishy fair...
Yes, these roads are technically and obviously public streets. We say "obviously" because we rarely encounter city streets that are private in nature. But despite their tax funded-supported status, it's not like citizens are going to just stumble on the fair while out to get milk. So that's what we meant by it not being "public" in the sense that Pete wants you to believe it is. On the day of this fair, these are not regular everyday streets that one can drive and play hopscotch on. On the day of this event, they are not streets that one is going to "accidentally" find themselves walking down. Those who go to this event make a choice to be there. Pete is trying to muddy the water between "public, open, accessible, everyday streets on which one might inadvertently wander" and "streets that are still financed by the San Francisco public, yet which are being used for a certain purpose on a certain day." This distinction matters.
Now that out of the way, what really offends this writer about Pete's name-checking is that he tries to make it sound as if I'm "ridiculous" for this one point, when in reality -- THIS WAS NOT AT ALL THE PRIMARY POINT OF THE POST I DID ON THE SUBJECT. If you recall, the point of the post on Pete's coverage of this fair revolved around one primary point. That point: That Pete chose to run explicit photos from the event, including an unedited one in which a man is literally licking another guy's ass! In case you don't remember, here is a censored version of one of the pics Pete ran:
You can probably figure out what's going on by the leg and arm placement of the two guys; but if not, Pete is still running the fully uncensored version for all of his "pro-family" peeps to see. This editorial decision from a "family values" man was what we found so shocking, considering we would NEVER run such a photo, and yet are routinely called "depraved" by the likes of Pete. Over 7,000 articles and tens of thousands of links will bear out that we simply do not present such content here on G-A-Y. So it seemed like Pete's choice to run this photo lessened the efficacy of his nonstop "morality play."
The funny thing is that in Pete's new post, wherein he name checks this very site on two different occasions (including the one quoted above), he fully bears out the thoughts that we had and conveyed when seeing his first round of photos. He fully admits in the first few lines of his article that he's been contacted by a "pro-family" person on his side of the culture war who has taken exception with the explicit photo spread. And we certainly believe it, as in the days since Pete first made the editorial decision to run the pics, we too have chatted with evangelicals who find Pete's photos completely out-of-line, and who have conveyed to us the thought that the "pro-family" troops are diving into two camps: those who would take such a tactic, and those who would never even consider it. So while Pete might want to call this writer and this site "ridiculous" and "fanatical," or try and make us look nutty by saying that he'd expect heat from us but not those from the"good" and "moral" team (the same "us and "them" tactic he took last month in reaction to Sally Kern's gun-toting), he can't really call us wrong for saying that his image choices are sure to draw discomfort from even his own troops. His own willingly coughed up evidence shows that to be true!
Alright, enough about this. If you wanna see Pete's newest, where in addition to the aforementioned attempts to make us look silly and the revelation that someone on his "team" is less-than-happy with his pictoral display, he's also running a new and barely-edited batch of inappropriate photos, then see the below link:
jeremy i love you guy but as a gay man those who engage in sex acts on a public street should be ashame of themselves what if a kid happen to be there.keep defending us but not this display of trash
Posted by: JAMES FORNEY | Aug 8, 2008 9:20:36 AM
Alright, you know what? I'm getting really tired of anytime I post about this sort of thing, being accused of somehow "defending" the event. I am not even speaking to the righteousness of the event, just as I wouldn't speak to the righteousness of a hetero fetish ball. I'm only addressing Pete's antics, his photos, and in this case, his direct comments against me!
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I would much sooner make out with a woman than go to an event like this! But that point is irrelevant to this post! The point is that Pete and others are parlaying this nichey event into an attack on gay rights in general. And in doing so, they are doing extremely kooky things for self-professed moral authorities, like posting pictures of two guys seemingly about to engage in a rimjob! That is what I'm addressing.
Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 8, 2008 9:34:15 AM
I'm not sure if such an event should be out in broad daylight at all, but I trust Jeremy's research and motivation far more than I trust Porno Pete's. I am so glad that another "pro-family" advocate called him out on the use of the explicit photos. I have a difficult time imagining, say, members of my very conservative family enjoying or even getting any use out of LaBarbera's site. One of my hugest problems with LaBarbera is that he is being, and reveling in, everything that he's warning gullible readers/contributors against. The only kind thing I can say about him is that at least he's not a politician with real power.
Look at what he's saying and who he's saying it about. Jeremy heavily edited this picture and hardly ever discusses sex, but he's anti-family. Ex-Gay Watch hardly has pictures at all and often features discussions of the Bible and Christian doctrine that make my Pagan eyes glaze over, but they're anti-family. Pam's House Blend mostly discusses politics, but they're anti-family. I have very seldom encountered *any* LGBT blog that is as explicit as LaBarbera's, except for a few that are actually, specifically, and honestly about pornography. At mine, which is an old-school strictly personal blog, the furthest I go is to post an artistic nude painting where a woman is only seen from the back and make winking references to "winning sports team sex," and that's further than many LGBT blogs I encounter go.
But we're the ones who shouldn't teach or adopt or be around children at all or join the military or be trusted to do a gazillion other things, because every last one of us LGBT people is just so damned obsessed with sex. Huh.
Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | Aug 8, 2008 10:02:18 AM
I was arguing this with some folks over on digg the other day (Pete's outstanding journalism had been highlighted by his contemporaries over at WND, and then dugg, like many WND articles are), and the single point that was the hardest to get people to acknowledge that this wasn't some fair out in the open for all to see, perhaps even accidentally. All the entrances were monitored by both event organizers and police, and people who wanted in had to enter through the designated areas where they were made aware of the adult theme inside.
The other thing that really struck me was...sort of this disconnect between the two sides of the debate. A lot of people really expected that if you didn't like what was going on inside, then you should be against the entire fair and want to disallow it from happening again. What happens at Up Your Alley and Folsom Street fairs isn;t my kind of thing, so I don't go, and it's just so....simple. What is this mentality....sort of like a bullying mentality, that one has to take an active role in fighting something that they find offensive, even though it's completely harmless to them?
Have too many people bought in to the kind of rhetoric that inherently harmless, but otherwise offensive (to them) things are "corroding society" and "harming our children?"
Posted by: zortnac | Aug 8, 2008 10:18:23 AM
These tactics are so frequently used because they are effective: take the most outrageous example of behavior and then generalize it to apply to the entire group. In defense, the group tends to split and either 1.) agrees that the acts are outrageous and therefore give the accuser more legitmacy, or 2.) denies the acts are outrageous and therefore give truth to the accuser's claim that the group is itself depraved.
I'm with you, JH. I'm not going to be forced to defend or decry what is in these photos because they have nothing to do with me or my life far far away. It's like getting all worked up when the #1 story on every national channel was (whatshername?) being kidnapped in the Carribean. It's just overripe sensationalist garbage used either to sell advertising or in this case, further your career as a professional bigot. Peee-eeewwww.
Ever see "How Clean is Your House"? Where the two old British ladies go into the filthiest houses around and take their bare hands and scoop the gunk out of the back of the stove, show it to the camera, and then make each other smell it? You know what? My house is none of your business, and I don't feel like just because someone else can't scrub their own grease trap (ifyouknowwhatI'msayin') I'm should feel somehow ashamed of my slightly dusty pied-a-terre.
Posted by: Sykler | Aug 8, 2008 10:19:55 AM
Good Job, Jeremy. I never got the impression that you were a participant, or wanted to participate this particular fair.
I'm not likely to ever go to Folsom or a lot of niche events within the gay community. I don't say this with any sort of pride in that lack of interest, or any judgement on the participants. Like diet 7UP, it's just not for me.
As long as they did what they should to keep this event from being in full public view of a kindergaren class, I don't give a rats ass what consenting adults do on blocked-off streets. I'm also not a busybody who feels compelled to peer over the fence trying to catch the neighbors doing something naughty. I have this thing, it's called A Life, and it's not threatened by the existence of choices that I'm not interested in.
Posted by: Jason D | Aug 8, 2008 11:13:01 AM
actually those tactics of doing what peter did are getting old. and sometimes they have a habit of backfiring. Peter goes so extreme that people are questioning Him rather than what he is trying to convey.
Posted by: a. mcewen | Aug 8, 2008 11:47:51 AM
I did take it the wrong way the last time anything about this was posted and got worked up without knowing all the details.
That being said, I wish any event like this wouldn't be out in the open. It would do just as well in a building. I think it's a matter of decency, more than anything gay/straight. (Though I do wish gays would think of the implications of their behavior. We're not going to be treated equally to straights at this time. If you behave disgustingly, although it shouldn't, it's going to end up reflecting on gays as a whole. Bottom line. No one should be behaving disgustingly/inappropriately, but it bothers me when gays do it more because that ends up adding to the stereotype that being gay is about sex (and nasty/dirty sex at that).
And aaaalll that being said, I completely agree with your point. There's absolutely no reason for him to be posting un-edited (or any pictures really, a written description would suffice... if that would even be necessary... just saying 'sex acts' would really suffice) on his website. And even claiming it's a public event or that it has anything to do with being gay.
Posted by: Christopher D | Aug 8, 2008 3:02:05 PM
So, I popped over to check out The Peter's post re this whole sordid affair and, geez, someone should have warned me. Good god, the first image to greet me was some naked man standing in a window. I'm not a prude, but dang! It would appear to me that such tactics will increasingly side-line The Peter with his own brethren. I mentioned Peter's site to my dad who is a conservative pastor. His assessment rang true with me. His assessment? "That site is not the site of a man attempting to reach others with the Gospel of Christ. It is a site designed to passively/aggressively titillate the love/hate relationship one man has with his own sexuality." I couldn't agree more!
Posted by: Jonathan | Aug 8, 2008 3:10:56 PM
I think what it all boils down to, is Peter is upset that more gay men aren't exhibitionists. This is why he travels cross country to chase after nude men with a camera.
Posted by: Scott | Aug 8, 2008 4:09:12 PM
"I'm with you, JH. I'm not going to be forced to defend or decry what is in these photos because they have nothing to do with me or my life far far away."
You may think that but unfortunately they are being used to politically bash you and yours. They may even help the cause of the rest of us being stripped of our rights. I have no problem saying I think this is odd behavior (with potentially ill effects for the health of the participants) for a street fair, and it should not happen. In addition, the people who do this should know that they are being used to really hurt gays and lesbians and will continue to be used so. Thier exhibitionism, thier lack of caring for thier health, simply, does not have to be done in a street and it does hurt us all. They probably don't care and its that lack of caring, which is a moral failure.
Posted by: Pluto | Aug 9, 2008 12:26:04 PM
But see, Pluto, I think you are misunderstanding the opposing argument here. What I am basically saying (joined, I believe, by Sykler, Zortnac, and others) is that what you, I, or the peanut man think of this sort of fair on a personal level is another matter entirely. It's of course valid to have our own opinions about events like this, and perhaps even responsible for us to voice them. But the fact is that regardless of our feelings on "Up Your Alley," this is NOT an event that identifies the gay community as a whole anymore than a hetero fetish ball, a swinger's club, or even Mardi Gras define the straight masses. And by taking Pete's bait that it IS indicative of LGBT people's "immorality," we are allowing him (and others) to use to "politically bash" us.
I would also be careful about defining all participants of this fair with one sweeping, generalized viewpoint. Again, I think that's what the Peter LaBarbera's of the world would want.
**Oh, and just for the sake of full disclosure: I think it's important for me, as the writer of this and other pieces on the subject, to again say that I have never in my life been to an event like this, and that such fairs appeal to me not. My defense is framed only in terms of personal freedom, resistance to unfair linkage between human sexual expression and sexual orientation, resistance to religious extremism, etc.
Posted by: G-A-Y | Aug 10, 2008 6:39:11 PM
I know I'm late with my opinion on this story - mainly because I found it a bit silly as I always do. That being said Peter posted yet another story on this (he's really milking it)something about putting a wall around my wonderful native city that I’m still proud to be a citizen of.
Side note when Peter first posted the story there was no mention of Nancy Pelosi:
Here is my exchange with Peter:
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 4:20 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: 40-Foot Wall Around San Francisco?
If a wall could keep all judgmental people out of my city I'm all for it.
But seriously why are you trying to make yourself out to be the victim as G-A-Y pointed out to you and even a fellow evangelical point out to you it's not the message that was upsetting it was how the message was told.
You're supposed to be running a "pro-family" website not a porn site.
The simple fact is you were doing what you always do demonizing a whole group of people based on the actions of a few. You know as well as I do there are plenty of Heterosexual sexually themed events that people such as yourself would find morally repugnant.
However being that this is America you have every right to do what you do.
With that being said that next time some "Christian" shoots up a church that is pro-homosexual, or the next time the Westboro Baptist Church protest at a soldier's funeral because of America's "fag loving ways" or any other horrible thing is done in the name of Christianity and militant homosexual activists try to link you and others like you to those things you are no longer able to cry foul as you have just done the exact same thing!
Hope You're Well.
From: [email protected]
Subject: RE: 40-Foot Wall Around San Francisco?
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008
Alonzo, hope you're well too, even though your again not seeing the BIG picture by honing in on OUR tactics. Deal with this: the "gay" Mecca is overrun with government-protected perversion. This does not happen in any other city? Why? What does that say about GLUT "tolerance"? Why don't the bright bulbs in YOUR movement (not mine) put an end to this. The world is finding out and Pelosi is a laughingstock. Best—pl
Sent: Mon 8/11/08 4:55 PM
To: Americans For Truth (email@example.com)
"Why don't the bright bulbs in YOUR movement (not mine) put an end to this."
Because some people in my "movement" come from a different angle then your side. We're coming from a POV of that we know what it is like to be judged therefore who are we to judge what someone regardless if we approve of it or not does a street fair.
I'm pretty sure the Log Cabin Homosexuals would have the same amount of outrage at the Up Your Alley fair as you did.
The reason things like Up Your Alley are ok is because to put it simply this is San Francisco - as hard as it is for you to grasp it's really not that big of a deal here.
Just because SF is a homosexual Mecca - it doesn't mean that every single homosexual agrees with or condones what happens at Up Your Alley or Folsom including the many homosexuals who live in this city.
None of this was ever a problem until people like you try to link what happens at these fair as something that all homosexuals engage in and/or endorse. Again I have to ask you what if every single Christian was judge based on the unsavory actions of a few which is exactly what you are doing in this case.
BTW: Up Your Alley and the Folsom Fair have happen in this city for over 25 years way before Nancy Pelosi.
Peter has yet to respond.
Posted by: Alonzo | Aug 12, 2008 1:59:22 PMcomments powered by Disqus