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06/08/2010

A nice gay for a 'Why?' wedding

by Jeremy Hooper

His handlers may have just handed him a schedule. Told he'd been booked for this, talked into doing that -- all plans made outside the rehearsal hall. Tired after years and years of "be theres" and "come this ways," the veteran hits maker now preferring to fully outsource his day-planning to Team Elton.

He may have some reason to need a quick buck. It's sometimes hard to imagine superstars having cash flow problems. But when one stops and think of the nature of the beast, it's not so far-fetched. With more cash comes more opportunity to spend it, with impulse purchases magnified on the same grand scale. A new pair of shoes becomes a new closet (and the other 36 room attached to it). Investments go from a scratch-off lottery ticket to a new Broadway play. Anyone can need some $$, either for their personal pockets or other business/charitable ventures.

Perhaps he thought it would be funny. Or ironic. Or an attempt to build a bridge. Or perhaps to extend an olive branch.


But here's the thing: Regardless of the reasoning, Sir Elton John really needs to say something about why he, a civilly-partnered gay Elton Johnman and proponent of civil rights, chose to perform at the (4th) wedding of one of this nation's most ardent foes of marriage equality, in specific, and LGBT rights, in general!

If it was just another gig scheduled by his handlers: Well no, that's not an okay excuse. Ultimately, everything falls back on the one in the spotlight. The "Rocket Man" singer has quite willingly put himself in the gay rights forefront. That which comes forth from his stable, be they electric boots or electrified wedding gigs, are ultimately the bespectacled crooner's own hits and misses to bear.

If the money excuse? Well, there are better ways to earn. Let's be real: This isn't some indie artiste who hurts for gig opportunities. Even if, nobly, Elton's fee goes to his AIDS foundation, there are other ways to obtain it.

Funny/irony/bridge-building? No, not at this place. At this time. The contempt that the mega-microphoned Rush has been able to direct towards LGBT rights is not fit for this kind of treatment. There would have to be something public from Rush's side (the side that declared and fosters this "culture war") before any kind of real inroad could be made. Plus this was not a public forum or debate or political convention -- it was a personal/private CELEBRATION! Of LOVE! OF COMMITMENT! Of, ideally, PEACE. All of which is forcibly denied to most of the Americans who love like Elton John (and all of us who do, on many federal levels).

We're talking about a wedding in Florida, a state that not only bans marriage equality, but one that also still has an over-the-top adoption ban on the books! And we're talking about a man who works, on some level, to keep a certain equality-hostile mentality alive! How can any of us see this as just another gig? How can any of us who care about progress choose to sit at a piano and say goodbye to yellow brick roads when the guest of honor has decided that gays' own futures lie beyond a fair and equal one?

Or perhaps the better question: Would Rush have done the same sort of thing for Elton and David Furnish' 2005 union?

Look, Elton doesn't have to say anything. Doesn't even have to acknowledge what he did this weekend. He's a big boy, free to conduct his life as he wishes. He can hope the press just goes away.

But the Crocodile Rocker probably should say something. Lest his most ardent supporters start taking the "I'm no the man they think I am at home" lyric a little more literally than he might like.

***

**UPDATE: Musto and Olbermann say:


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