by James Killough
My good friend Shawn Riegsecker, whose unique brand of seductive enthusiasm should be patented, set a goal for me three months ago: I should have one quarter of the amount of comedian Rob Delaney’s followers on Twitter by the end of the year. After he fixed that target and I set up my Twitter account, he actually looked up how many followers Delaney has: three hundred thousand, which makes seventy-five thousand for me by 2013. “Hah!” Shawn said. “You’re fucked!”
I am currently at seventy-five followers, three zeros short. It will probably drop to seventy-four by the end of today once Twitter’s algorithmic bots sweep through and find out that @CoastalOptometry isn’t so enthralled by surreal, esoteric quips about atheism that it has followed me, but is in fact a spammer. This means I have to increase my base by over one hundred thousand percent in eight months, if my primary-school math still holds.
I am all for goals these days, rather than just having ambitions, which have beaten me numb with disappointment most of my life. You can have the ambition to win Mega Millions, assuming you don’t lose your winning ticket at McDonald’s, but your goal should actually be to pay your rent and the bills without having to work there. I can safely assume Shawn’s Twitter goal is unlikely to be achieved, unless between now and the end of the year I star in my own hit TV comedy series, or someone like Charlie Sheen instructs his seven million followers to follow me, of which I might reasonably expect to capture one percent and almost hit the mark.
Note that I said “comedy” series and not drama. My buddy Anson Mount, who stars in the popular AMC drama Hell on Wheels only has a little over four thousand followers. This is because Twitter is ideally suited for people who interact best with punch lines or short phrases: politicians, comedians, pop stars and their hysterical teen fans, on-air personalities, and haters.
Shawn thinks I’m witty, observant and pithy enough to become a Twitter star, even more so than Delaney, which is very kind of him, but there are thousands of wags out there who are much more suited to Twitter than I am. I think Delaney must tweet twenty-four quite humorous lines a day, and I’m too often too rancorous to keep up with that level of fun.
Also, Delaney is working out his material for his stand-up comedy. If I spent that much time coming up with content for Twitter, I’d have no time for anything else. Forgetting normal work, a PFC piece is an intensive labor. For instance, I spent ten hours pouring through articles online just for this article—the weekly roundup is the most time-consuming—forget writing it, finding the images, copy editing and formatting.
I also think PFC itself is a testament that micro blogging on Twitter isn’t my thing. We’re more suited to being long-form, endurance bloggers.
A far as promoting this site goes, I’ve found Facebook is the better platform, as resistant as I have been to that reality. Since finally getting it together last week with a PFC page, our ‘Likes’ have increased four hundred and fifty percent, boosting our regular readership considerably.
As YouTube and Twitter star Chris Crocker tweeted to me the other day, “The internet is run by ten-year-olds,” and that’s particularly true of Twitter. One can learn a lot from Crocker about self-promotion: at the end of the day, it’s all about showmanship to sell your product. Crocker has an almost PT Barnum/William Randolph Hearst ability to create sensation around himself and make it news.
Even in a new-media era, the reality of capturing an audience remains the same for sites like PFC as it does for old-style printed publications: built it post by post, with quality and structure, publish consistently, and they will come.
Regarding random haters, I’ve always been baffled as to why so many Americans don’t get what a remarkable woman Hillary Clinton is. I think Obama has done a decent job under the circumstances, but Hillary would have been our very own benign Margaret Thatcher, efficiently policing the cleanup of the recent crisis, especially with Bill as her Dennis Thatcher schmoozing his way around Washington and making backroom deals over poker games and strippers (I’m imagining that). As noodle-brained and wrong-thinking as modern Republicans are, the Democrats are often their own worst enemies when it comes to doing the right thing by themselves and their supporters.
In a charming, insightful article by Rachael Combe in Elle Magazine this month, Hillary marvels that people are finally beginning to understand who she is. Perhaps I’ve always held the sort admiring view of her that the non-American world shares. But as one political analyst said in reference to women voters in the state of New York and their attitude toward Hillary when she was running for Senate, “That conversation didn’t need a pollster; it needed a shrink,” which reflects the nation’s general “schizophrenic” opinion about her.
Thankfully, as Combe writes, “Hillary hating has jumped the shark.” I would urge everyone to read her article linked above. And for gay people in particular, there is no more important speech by someone of Hillary’s standing about our rights and our plight than the one she gave last December at a United Nations conference in Geneva. This alone is reason enough for us to vote for her unilaterally should she run for President in 2016:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
In stark contrast to Hillary, someone whose relevancy is way past its sell-by date is Taki Theodoracopulos, who published a toxic article by the unabashed racist John Derbyshire on his website, Takimag.com. I’m frankly surprised that the self-proclaimed “soi-disant anti-Semite” cokehead Taki is still alive, much less still making waves in the well-appointed cesspool he calls home.
From personal experience, Taki’s most dangerous quality is he’s so well read, eloquent and charming. But so were many high-ranking Nazis. If I had to put a face to my amorphous problems with Vanity Fair, it would be his; he used to have a column in that rag, and as recently as 2010 answered the prestigious Proust Questionnaire in the back of the book. That sort of thing makes me queasier than smelling the samples of perfume ads.
As for Derbyshire’s article, if you read the whole thing you can understand his train of thought, like Lars von Trier’s career-derailing speech at Cannes last year. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that train is nonetheless hauling the worst kind of fear-mongering, backwards bullshit this country and the Caucasian race in general are capable of. Here are the highlights:
(10a)Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot)….
In a throwback to thirty-five years ago when Dr. Renée Richards was denied entry into the US Open tennis tournament because she wasn’t a “naturally born” woman but transgender, Donald Trump denied Miss Canada, Jenna Tacklova, permission to compete into this year’s Miss Universe pageant, a brand he rather creepily owns. This is because she was born in the wrong kind of body, a man’s, a situation that has since been corrected.
Trump has always been an American Taki without style, social graces or talent. His lack of those qualities were once again on display when he sparred with Tacklova’s attorney, Gloria Allred, in the media this week, saying she would be “very impressed” with his genitals, which instantly made me wonder if his pubic hair is dyed blond and backcombed, after which I belched in disgust.
LGBT activist Michelangelo Signorile, whom I remember from back in the day when I was a magazine editor and he came to me pitching a social column (I hired Michael Musto instead), interviewed Allred on his SiriusXM OutQ program, and she had this to say about Trump’s junk:
“I don’t have a magnifying glass strong enough to see something that small. The world does not revolve around his penis. We have to get off the subject of genitalia and let’s just look at people as individuals and put aside the fears, the prejudices, and stereotypes that he may have.”
At the risk of seeming as if I’m beating a dead queen, I’m once again nominating Andrew Sullivan as our Schizo of the Week. In his sensationalist cover story for Newsweek about Jesus Christ for Easter week, Sullivan makes a specious case for following Christ’s teachings while disregarding the institutions that have grown up around him.
Of course, Sullivan is scrambling to intellectualize the fact he’s an observant Catholic. I wish I had a platform like Newsweek to do the opposite.
In my comment about the story on The Daily Beast, I said that you don’t need Christ or God to lead a moral life, just common sense and humanity. You can’t disregard the traditions and institutions that are based on Christ’s words and deeds; in fact, you must hold them accountable. For instance, the charitable work that religions do is cancelled out by the millennia of their human rights abuses, which collectively eclipse anything Hitler could ever imagine.
The same applies to Sullivan himself. Even though he has been an eloquent and forceful spokesman for LGBT rights, specifically for gay marriage, one cannot overlook the fact that he has done wacky, nasty shit like launch a veritable crusade to prove that Trig is not Sarah Plain’s son but her daughter Bristol’s, or that he unapologetically smears his betters, like when he called Noam Chomsky a Stalinist, of all things.
All forced justifications for Christ aside, let’s not forget that Sullivan is also a walking apologist for unsafe sex. I wonder how many other people the Obamas have entertained at the White House who have had profiles on BarebackCity?