the gay whines


by Gabriel Rotello

Newsday - May 26, 1994

I KEEP GETTING ASKED why I haven't written about the upcoming Gay Games, so I'll be brutally frank. People say that gay white men are basically whiners, and while I can't speak for the rest of the gang, it's certainly true for me. I live to be victimized. I groove to gross injustice. Dirty rotten homophobes turn me on. As both a whiner and a columnist (is there any difference, really, besides maybe a small gratuity?), my life is blessed by a reverse Catch-22. Things can never be genuinely bad because the worse they are, the better the column. But then again, if things are going well...trouble.

Which brings me to the Gay Games. I admit, I've neglected them. But from my perspective the whole enterprise is annoyingly victim-free. The organizers themselves are so relentlessly chipper I'm half-convinced that, in some awful eugenics experiment gone awry, the DNA that produced generations of Midwestern high school cheerleaders somehow got mixed in with the genes that produce homosexuality and created this legion of happy, perky gay people who prefer playing volleyball to kvetching. It's a chilling thought, but I just can't shake it.

For gay men like me, who basically live to whine and whine to live, the Games originally had real potential. For example, back when that dirty rotten homophobe George Steinbrenner was refusing to lease Yankee Stadium for the Games' closing ceremonies, I had plans, big plans. Think of it! Your tired, poor gay athletes yearning to parade free. I tell you, that column was going to write itself.

But then the people from the Games called and begged me to hold off, promising that they were absolutely sure they could convince that nice Mr. Steinbrenner to change his mind, seeing as how everybody in the world is basically good at heart. Right, I snickered to myself. Keep smoking the good stuff.

And then, to my horror, Steinbrenner caved, and there were even rumors that Rudy Giuliani himself had leaned on him to do it, as though the spirit of the Gay Games had infected Mr. Squeegee Buster with warm, fuzzy feelings about his gay brethren. For a victimization junkie like me, that's a truly frightening thought. I whined privately, but what could I do?

Deadline looming, I considered the p.c. approach, criticizing the Games themselves for pushing oppressive hetero sports at the expense of events that gays are really good at. I mean, where's the Cruising Decathlon? Where's Cannibalizing the Leaders? And where, for heaven's sake, are the events where I could have been a contender? Like, say, Catholic Bashing? Or my favorite nightclub activity, Dishing the DJ?

But the real tragedy is the organizers' blindness to the ways that world-class sniveling opens up all sorts of liberating opportunities. Take publicity. They've been trying to drum up press for two years now, and the only time they ever even sniffed a front page was when Mary Cummins and the Rev. Ruben Diaz denounced them for making homosexuality look normal. You can say that again. Reporters, being almost as negative as columnists, ate that up, but the organizers just acted slightly hurt and let it pass. Amateurs!

I say, if you want publicity, go with the flow. If I were running the Games, I wouldn't ignore Diaz and Cummins, I'd hire them to do my press. Think of the possibilities.

Is attendance lagging at the lesbian water polo quarterfinals? Send over Mary Cummins to scream about precious bodily fluids and the threat to the municipal water supply. Who knows, you might even score another round of editorials in the dailies. You can bet that Rotello would be writing columns as fast as his little fingers could pound them out. And I can assure you, in all his misery, victimized to his heart's content, he'd be happy as well as gay.

Let the whines begin!