Slacktivism


Unfortunately tragedies and injustices have filled our news feeds for much of 2016. The year brought a crushing election defeat, a pipeline standoff, and a devastating mass shooting in  Orlando. As our hearts go out to all the victims in need we look for any possible way to help. Actually let me re-phrase that, we look for the easiest way to help. The way that requires the absolute least amount of effort. Forget volunteering, is there a way we can help by clicking a button on our phones? That way we can shit on the toilet and still check-in at the North Dakota standoff sight and feel like we’re being justice warriors. It’s important that we can show everyone how kind we are on social media but that doesn’t mean we have to go out and actually do anything. Minimum effort and (perceived) maximum reward. Welcome to era of the slacktivist. 

Social media is the one and only tool of the slacktivist and the photo filter for a cause on Facebook is the perfect example of slactivism at its best. Just by clicking a button your profile photo will tell all your friends that you are a good person. We had rainbows for Orlando and French flags for Paris. While the idea has good intentions at its heart it’s by far the laziest form of support we can give. A visual show of support is nice but I doubt the real victims see your photo much less get comfort from it. Maybe I’m wrong but if I had a loved one killed in Orlando a rainbow filter would not make me feel better. Personally my favorite part of the filter for a cause phenomenon is when everyone starts to switch their photos back to normal. I mean I’m totally united with Orlando but this picture from last night is too cute to go to waste. I’ve been guilty of being a slacktivist just like everyone else. I had so much anxiety over this election yet it still wasn’t enough to get me to go out and get involved in the process. I could have volunteered at a voting site or donated to Hillary’s campaign. Nope, I just talked about it to like minded friends and posted a picture of Hillary on Instagram. I’m sure she appreciates my valuable contribution. I mean that Instagram picture got 37 likes. You’re welcome Hillary. Yes you’d also be correct to assume that most slacktivists are also self righteous. If you try and tell a them that their profile photo doesn’t matter they’ll get very defensive because to them profile photos really do change lives.

This topic inspired me to take action. I wasn’t sure where to start so I set up a reoccurring  monthly donation to charity. I know it would be best if I volunteered but I’m starting out small. Going into the new year I hope that complacency doesn’t take over because we need to stay active. I challenge everyone to take action in anyway they now how as long as it goes beyond social media. We are so busy complaining that 2016 was awful that we are failing to realize that 2017 might actually be much worse and an angry rant on Facebook isn’t going change that. Donations of time or money are what matters.  Let’s all do our part to help fight against the urge to be slacktivists. 

 

 

You’re Tacky But I Don’t Hate You


Tacky (adjective): Showing poor taste or quality. 

There is a lot of noise made about what is and isn’t offensive. I’m sure if you search the internet there are lengthy articles about the current state of political correctness and our society’s penchant toward the offensive. Personally I’m a huge fan of political correctness and I think it’s gets an undeserved bad rap. I tend to think a lack of language is partly to blame for the problem. There are not enough words to describe the complexities of the situation. Gray areas exist such as when a person isn’t truly offended themselves however they see something wrong with a statement. In that case offensive really isn’t appropriate because no one was actually offended but it still isn’t totally cool either. I thought about it and I purpose we bring back the word tacky. Tacky behavior or language usually comes from a place of bad judgment and ignorance rather than genuine hate and malice. Here’s an example of when to use the word tacky:

Recently I was listening to the podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend and she was interviewing comedian Greg Fitzsimmons. Right of the bat Greg started talking about a gay friend. He used adjectives like fruity and light in the loafers. At one point he took a second to think of a better word to describe the man and he landed on the word faggy. Yes faggy. Their whole conversation continued to be a minefield because they were talking about gay men (without any gay men present) and making so many incorrect stereotypical assumptions my mind was spinning. It reminded me of that one straight friend who’s been told about Grindr hookups so now he thinks he has complete insight into the entire gay world. I wasn’t offended and in fact the only emotion I felt was a twinge of disappointment. This is a situation that I would call tacky. Greg  Fitzsimmons said some incredibly tacky things. Do I think Greg is homophobic? No. I think he was trying to be funny and used astoundingly poor taste in order to make a point. No real harm done because he just being tacky. As we’ve seen society can sometimes overuse the word offensive and that’s why we need the word tacky. I challenge you to use tacky more often when you encounter these types of situations. When someone posts an inappropriate comment on a Facebook picture of your family: tacky. When you hear someone blame all the world’s problems on millennials: tacky. When a friend posts outlandish bullshit just to get attention: tacky. Like so many overused buzzwords before it (diva, genius, literally) the word offensive has a purpose and place but it isn’t always the best word for every situation. It’s time for tacky to make a comeback.

 

Dear Netflix 


Dear Netflix,

First let me congratulate you on your continued success. Even though you started out as a video rental service you’ve morphed into the leading streaming service for original content. My recent obsession has been The Crown and I can’t wait for season 2. You’ve influenced our culture and changed the way we watch television. Your policy of releasing entire seasons at once also brought the idea of binge watching into our lives. Great shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Stranger Things have made you a true competitor with HBO. Now that your original content has proven its worth I would like to recommend that you start building up other areas of your catalogue.

While your service has become the go to standard for online content it still lacks in the area of classic television. One of the things I like best about cable is landing on a marathon of a classic show that I’ve seen a hundred times and that I’d watch one hundred more. I’ve seen every episode of The Golden Girls at least 30 times and I want to watch each one 30 more. As a viewer sometimes it’s nice just to have the television on in the background while I do something else and a classic show is the perfect fit. I don’t have to pay close attention yet I can still easily follow along. I know you are constantly bringing full seasons of current cable shows to your site but don’t forget to bring the old ones too. For example there are several shows that I want to watch over and over again only to discover that they don’t exist online other than to pay by episode on iTunes:

  • Will & Grace
  • Murphy Brown 
  • Designing Women
  • The Golden Girls
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • Looney Tunes

Those are just some of the shows I wish were more available for streaming but I also have a lot of friends who love science fiction fantasy and I’m sure they’d love to see classic episodes of Saturday morning cartoons like Transformers and Thundercats. I feel like this idea is simple, cheap, and would be a big hit with many viewers.

While I have you I would also like to make a push for more classic movies. Every so often I like to watch classic movies that I’ve never seen before because I feel they are part of cinematic history and I want to be an educated viewer. In the past I’ve sought out movies like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof only to find that the only way I can watch it is to pay for it on iTunes. My current obsession is to see Cabaret staring Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray. It doesn’t exist anywhere except again for iTunes. This leads me to my last point. I know your focus tends only to be on shows but don’t forget your roots as a movie rental service. It seems like the movie side of your business hasn’t been given the attention it deserves in the past few years. Looking into the future it’s easy to predict that iTunes might start a streaming option for their already enormous catalogue of movies. If they did so they would take a serious chunk of your business. Whenever I look for a specific movie, 90% of the time I can’t find it on Netflix. I know I’d much rather pay a monthly fee for iTunes knowing they would have a movie when I go look for it. While I know you can’t totally match iTunes for content, you can at least start to diversify and get ahead before they realize the goldmine they’re sitting on.

To wrap up please continue to create wonderful original content but don’t forget you can also look to the past to fill in some of the areas where you’re lacking.

Sincerely, 

The Gay Gasp 

 

How to Find a Boyfriend 

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I’ve been with my wonderful boyfriend Russ for 4 years however before that I was single for my entire life other than a short 3 month long distance thing in my early 20s. Trust me when I tell you that I know the struggle of being perpetually single because I’ve been there and made a lot of mistakes along the way. This is what I’ve learned.

  1. There’s no right and wrong way to do it. Ask couples you know how they met you’ll learn that there are a variety of ways a relationship can start. You’ll also learn that while they’ve stayed together the beginning wasn’t always a smooth storybook romance. Stories of a break up early on or a horrible first date are just some of the unconventional things you’ll hear. Try not to have a rigid script in your head of how things should go.
  2. Work on yourself. If you’ve been single for a long time really consider the fact that you may just be happier being alone. Although the idea of a relationship is nice the actual reality isn’t always for everyone.
  3. Use every resource available. Look as much on Growlr as you do when going out to bars. You’re going to get a lot of bad advice from all directions. A lot of guys over 40 will endlessly shit on hook up aps due to their own discomfort with technology’s increasing persistence in our lives. Younger guys will denounce bars as impossible to meet new people because they’ve grown up online and don’t know how to talk in person. Treat advice like a buffet and take samples from everyone as neither side is right or wrong. Fun fact, Russ and I first saw each other at a bar but we didn’t talk until later that night on Growlr. 
  4. Work on yourself. Do you have an appropriate level of emotional availability? In the past I tended to not show enough emotion because I always wanted to come off as cool and collected. I’ve also met guys who tend to dump every emotion and feeling on you in the first conversation. The key to success is finding a healthy balance. Be available but not codependent.
  5. Stay busy. Have hobbies and interests beyond finding a man. If single is the first word you use to describe yourself than you’re probably a little too focused on it. Think of it this way: If I was going to make a movie about you would you have a story-line beyond your search for a guy? Is it the only thing you talk about? Join a club, play a sport, volunteer. Obsessing over your dating life is like a nail in the coffin.
  6. Work on yourself. Do you need therapy? Talking to a neutral third party can do wonders to help see thing clearly. I’m a huge proponent of talking to a therapist.
  7. Have standards not requirements. I notice a lot of guys get stuck on a list of requirements based on a guy’s physical traits (age, weight, race) but never look at how he acts. As time goes by the guy who is the ideal weight and age turns to be a total asshole. It’s seems like no one ever lists kindness and decency as requirements. Don’t be so strict with the physical requirements because they can blind you to the personal realities.
  8. Work on yourself. Are you hung up on a guy from the past who’s comfortable but bad for you? Being hung up on someone from your past (or present) will subconsciously hold you back  until you get that skeleton out of your closet.
  9. Get to know people. A good person with a sense of humor doesn’t always look his best in pictures. Be open to getting to know someone before you write them off. Personally I’ve found that some of the guys who I’ve had the strongest first attraction to ended up being the most toxic long-term. Also attraction can change and develop the more you get to know someone. I’ve also met plenty of guys who I completely overlooked who ended up being unexpectedly great. 
  10. Work on yourself. If you’re searching for someone to complete you then you’ll be searching forever. Finding a boyfriend is great but it won’t fix your life. You’ll bring all the problems you had before into your relationship.
  11. Change. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you’ve been single for many years it’s time to shake things up. For example, if you already know every guy in your city them maybe it’s time to find a new city. A lot of guys wait to make a big move until they’ve found someone. That only adds pressure to a new relationship and you start out behind the eight ball. Instead consider moving to a new city while you’re still single and finding love once you’re there. It worked for me.
  12. Work on yourself. Time for some tough love. If you’re perpetually single it’s because of you not them. I tell you this from personal experience. While other factors hindered my love life the one major reason I was single for so long was my own bullshit. I had to work on myself first. As RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself how the hell are you going to love somebody else.”
  13. Get ready for a long road. With all that said, you can work on everything in your life and that doesn’t mean a boyfriend will just magically appear. It’s still going to be a frustrating journey ahead filled with a lot of boring first dates. Stay strong. 

Don’t Be Basic

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  1. Don’t post un-cropped photos. I shouldn’t have to say this but if you take a screen shot crop out those thick black bars before you post the picture. *SMH*
  2. Don’t make one of those cliché sportsball jokes. I’m not saying you have to give a shit about sports but sportsball is an old joke that’s been beaten to death. RIP sportsball.
  3. Don’t say, “Not my president.” Although it’s tempting you end up sounding like a Sarah Palin tea partier.
  4. Don’t ever say, “I don’t bite unless you want me to.” The only thing less sexy is saying you’ll only give a blowjob with a condom.
  5. Don’t give the 2 finger piece sign in pictures. You’re not a retired hippy with brain damage from too many years of acid.
  6. Don’t complain about too much political correctness when you have benefited from it. Fucking faggots.
  7. Don’t even think of having a close up picture of your lips as a profile picture. Look at your life. Look at your choices.
  8. Don’t talk to someone who has headphone on at work. “But he has headphones on all the time?” That’s because he never wants to talk to you.
  9. Don’t use the Snapchat dog filter for a profile picture. Seriously have some self respect.

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Your Holiday Survival Guide 


After this election you’re probably dreading the trip home for the holidays with your family. You’ve managed to successfully avoid all major confrontations with your pro-Trump family members on Facebook by hiding all their posts. However now they’re going to be sitting across the dinner table from you.

Before you even arrive you’re already starting to prepare a list of non-election topics to talk about over dinner. Baseball, West World, The Walking Dead…

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At first you’re optimistic and think you’ll be able to get through the whole meal without anyone bringing up the election. “How about those Cubs winning the World Series?”

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Until your uncle passes you the salt and asks, “Can you believe this election?”

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As if you’re preparing for a car crash all of your muscles clench and you close your eyes fearing the worst.

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The Hillary bashing starts off simple with statements like “I would vote for anyone before that crooked liar.”

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Which segues nicely into, “She has the blood of US soldiers on her hands.”

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You’re doing well. So far you’ve had no outbursts and you feel like you just might get through this.

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Until they start to boast about how great Trump is. “He’s a great business man who is going to shake up Washington and get things done.”

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When you ask about all the awful things he’s said they just admit, “He just says what everyone is too afraid to say.”

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You’re faith is humanity is hanging on by a thread until someone inevitably says, “All lives matter.”

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It’s then that you realize that you’re never going to change their minds. They will forever think of you as weak bleeding heart liberal. You will forever think of them as scared racists who are afraid of progress. Rather than waste your energy debating, a better use of your time is to beat them to the dessert table.

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Don’t despair. As stressful as your family is, just remember that New Years is just around the corner and you’ll be spending it surrounded by a gaggle of gays guzzling  champagne and vodka-Redbulls. Cheers.

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Be sure to follow the adorable Dean the basset hound on Instagram @deanthebasset

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4 Things to Look Forward to in the Next 4 Years

  1. Art. They say distress breads great art. We may be entering an era of great music and movies. In addition SNL is going to be hilarious. 
  2. Melania Trump’s fashion. I want big bows, the highest heals, and ruffliest ruffles. Bitch better work it like a drag queen lip syncing for her life. 
  3. Unity. After gay marriage was passed the well organized gay rights movement seemed to lose momentum due to the lack of a clear goal. Now we can unite against a common enemy. 
  4. 2020. Democrats are almost guaranteed to win the White House and Senate in 2020 especially if we can talk Michelle O into running. 

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It’s not much but we’ve got to hunker down and survive the next 4 years.