This Troll Again? Kim Davis reflects on her role in marriage debate 

Source: Kim Davis reflects on her role in same-sex marriage debate – LGBTQ Nation

“How ironic that God would use a person like me, who failed so miserably at marriage in the world, to defend it now,” Davis said Tuesday. “The Lord picks the unlikely source to convey the message.”

Yeah, well, “ironic” is not the word I’d use. “Typical” is more to the point. It’s always that way with haters. Hate me because I’m gay? Wait long enough and someone will catch you trolling for trade in the men’s room. Hate people for using Federal assistance? Look closely at who’s skimming off the top of the money pile. Shame adulterers? Look who just got exposed for having an affair.

God didn’t use you, sweetie. What happened was you used “God” to not do your job. And Kentucky’s new governor, who wants to take clerks’ names off of marriage licenses, is just abetting you and your particular brand of zealotry.

Remember this face, friends. This is the face of true intolerance and hate. Well, you say, she looks just like every other regular, ignorant, white woman in America. That’s right. Be on the lookout. And don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

H/T LGBTQ Nation

Ubiquitous End of the Year Roundup: What You Are Reading ‘Round Here

Happy New Year. Looking back at 2014, I have come to the conclusion that, while I try to write about a broad array of topics, it is obvious that people come here to read about three subject areas:

  1. Web Series’
  2. Soap Operas
  3. Gay People

A web-based soap opera about gay people, well, that’s the trifecta, ladies and gentlemen! (Keep reading!)

So, what have I learned? I learned that more people read this blog in 2014 than in years past and I learned that the busiest day on the blog was June 16 and the most popular post that day was Where the Beautiful People Go to High School, which is about a web-based soap with (not entirely, but strong) gay themes. It was also the year’s most-shared piece. More than 2,000 readers shared it on their Facebook pages.

More people commented on I Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game and Celebrating the Zeitgeist than any other story of 2014 and the top referrers to the site were: Facebook, Twitter, will-sonny.livejournal.com, willxsonny.tumblr.com and reddit, followed closely by thebacklot.com. Top clicks included thebacklot.com, YouTube, Kickstarter, stage17.tv and my marketing blog, markblackmon.net.

Visitors came from 112 countries, including 5 people from Qatar, 1 from Armenia, 1 from Mongolia and 54 from the Russian Federation. To be fair, the vast majority of readers are from the U.S. and Canada, but the international reach is quite astonishing, especially since I did nothing to cultivate it. The Worldwide Web is not named hyperbolically!

So, with that long, drawn-out introduction, here is this year’s Top Ten list of most-popular posts.

10. High School Same-Sex ‘Cutest Couple’ is Prom-Bound Internet Sensation
cutestThis one, originally posted in June 2013 had the 10th most views in 2014.

It got a second wind this year; I don’t know why. Prom season, maybe.

I did some quick digging and couldn’t find any updates on these prom cuties. Perhaps, like so many others, they went off to college and discovered new cuties to hook up with. If you know something about them, though, let me know.

9. Saying Goodbye to the First WilSon Incarnation with a Bit of Snark
snarkwsNothing of great import here; just what the title implies. A shoutout is due for “snicks” from thebacklot.com who put these hilarious slides together to commemorate the end of Chandler Massey’s run as Will Horton on Days of our Lives.

Over the last year there’s been a lot of yammering about Days letting Chandler go and recasting the role, but mostly I believe it’s just the Interwebs’ usual stuff and nonsense. If you know the show, though, these are hilarious.

8. Why I’m Supporting EastSiders — And Why You Should, Too
esdr2A screed. A smack in the face. A wake up call. Maybe a primer on how crowd funding and word-of-mouth actually work. This was written at a time when it seemed that, by traditional metrics, the Kickstarter campaign for the second season of Kit Williamson’s bravura web series may not make it to its goal. I figured that I needed to do something. So I yelled a little! Like I do.

Did it help? Doubtful, but they did make their nut and Season 2 is coming soon! So many people have said that this series is so good that it should be on TV. And even though Kit recut the series as a feature length movie that aired on Logo, you won’t find anything this good on television. Nothing this good ever makes it to television. I mean, they don’t call it the ‘boob toob’ for nothing!

7. Wallflowers Returns for a Second Season — No Shrinking Violets Here
wallflrTruth in advertising: I only watched this show because John Halbach asked me to. I thought the first episode was very good and I said so here.

I did one other post about the show during the second season but what I didn’t expect to have happen was quickly to turn into an unabashed fan of Kieran Turner’s series about a band of romantically challenged souls.

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch the series in one binge and it may be even better the third or fourth time around. It’s a delight. Nuanced. Crisply written. Witty and smart in all the right places. Warm. And in the final episode? Still surprising. Full of grace notes, this.

Watch it, if you haven’t already. This is my nominee for “Best New Thing I Found on the Web in 2014.”

6. Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra?
vankitThis one ties for my vote in the category of the best thing I wrote in 2014. You may not think so, nor may the judges from the American Academy of Specialty Bloggers*, but I think its good and it’s an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I opened up a little and told a bit of my story, old and creaky though it may be.

Kit and Van are smart and creative and are both on my shortlist of people I would pay to watch read the phone book. It hurts not at all that they are also drop-dead handsome. I love their sensibilities, I suppose. Ones to watch.

5. Actor Hunter Canning Talks ‘The Outs,’ ‘Whatever This Is’
hunttommyThis is just a paragraph. I mean, really, Internets? The linked interview is good, but I didn’t write that; just this paragraph.

One supposes that people are drawn in by this devilishly cute picture of Hunter (right) and his The Outs and Whatever This Is co-star Tommy Heleringer

The Outs and Whatever This Is, both from the mind of Adam Goldman and company, are two more of my favorite web series.

Originally posted in Oct. 2013.

4. ‘Sonny’ Skies or Clouds on the Horizon? The New Normal Comes to Salem
freddieAn early-in-the-year piece that focused on daytime television’s first male-to-male marriage proposal on Days of our Lives. I thought it was a compelling jumping-off point to say something about LGBT representation in the media at large and this storyline in particular.

This hit quite soon after the role of Will Horton was assumed by Guy Wilson and a lot of people were saying nasty things about Guy on social media. Sometimes I wish people would keep their yaps shut. So, I slapped at them a bit and ended up getting a number of positive comments including nice note — maybe it was a tweet? — from Guy. I still think it was a good recast. So there.

3. Where the Beautiful People Go to High School
ydGay. Web. Soap: my blogging sweet spot! HA! A quick little review of the web series Youthful Daze. Proving that you never know what will hit and why, this is the most-shared post on this blog and it was shared more than 1,000 times in the first 12 hours it was up. It’s over double that number now.

It’s a very good series. I was more impressed than I thought I would be, to be honest with you. Bryan James has created a real soap in the best traditions of serials with a lot of, as I put it in the original piece, angsty teens and improbable dramas. I’m glad these types of shows exist and continue to thrive on the web. It makes me think there is a higher purpose to it all than merely showcasing silly photos of cats.

2. I Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game, and Celebrating the Zeitgeist
idoThis piece hit big after the April telecast of the wedding of Sonny Kiriakis and Will Horton on DOOL. It was an outstanding week of programming and it was the first time in my soap-watching memory (and that’s a LOOOONG time) that I can recall a multi-year story arc  tied up so well. It really was this genre at its finest and it didn’t hurt that everyone surrounding the two outstanding actors at the center of the action was a veteran soap performer.

In the months since the wedding, I haven’t felt as enamored of the writing. It’s seemed inconsistent and sometimes downright head-scratching. Still, there was a part of that first arc that so enraged me that I nearly stopped watching, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but I do wish the writers were more artful in their plotting.

This is the piece that ties with No. 6 for best thing I think I wrote this year.

1. Finnish Soap’s Gay Storyline Finds International Fans Thanks to YouTube
saltutI published this piece originally on Jan. 4, 2013 and it has made it into the “most viewed posts” list almost every week since and yes, it was the most-viewed post in 2014. That’s the second year.

Go figure.

It’s a quick cut about a gay teen storyline on the Finnish sudser Salatut Elämät. Thanks to the uploader and captioner who goes by the handle missfinlandia88, I still watch these clips from time to time on YouTube. It’s not the greatest soap I’ve ever watched — sometimes it’s downright groan-worthy — but other times it’s pretty good and I enjoy the two leads. Also, I appreciate the fact that while the stories are sometimes a little far-fetched, at least the Europeans have moved past the U.S. in their inclusion of LGBT characters into their stories.

***

Anyhow, if you’re still reading, that’s the list. Thanks for reading these for the past year. Thanks for your comments and your “likes” and shares, which tend to be the only way one knows that you are connecting with the world. And thanks for continuing to check in. I started this blog a couple of years ago as a way to talk about things I wanted to talk about. I didn’t expect anyone would care. I was pleased — and shocked — to find an audience and am excited that it continues to grow.

Best wishes for 2015!

*Oh, stop Googling. I made it up.

Newspapers Prefer Lesbians – Headlines from New Equality States

Newspapers Prefer Lesbians – Bloomberg Politics.

Of course they do. To the straight perception of the general public, lesbians are far less polarizing than gay men, because they are consciously or unconsciously engaging in stereotyping. Look at these front pages. Fascinating.

One Step Closer to Marriage Equality

One Step Closer to Marriage Equality – NYTimes.com.

Excellent editorial in today’s Times, wherein the editorial board muses broadly on the importance of broadening marriage equality throughout the country.

In a surprise announcement on the first Monday in October, the day the new term for the Supreme Court begins, the justices, without comment, refused to hear any of the cases striking down same-sex marriage bans thus allowing the appellate decisions to stand. As such, LGBT people in Virginia, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah — yes, Utah! — and Indiana can now be legally married.

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YouTubers Vinny and Luke Vaillancourt are among those whose rights have been protected through marriage. The couple, who live in England, were married in the U.K. and in the U.S.

The Times also challenged the court. In a speech last month, Justice Ginsburg said that the court is keeping an eye on lower courts but that, at the moment, there is “no need for us to rush.” The Times asks why not? Certainly the moral argument is why not, as well.

But, the Supreme Court weighs in on moral grounds at its own peril, oftentimes. I despise the old “justice is blind” argument — because blind justice cannot see the subtle shades of grey inherent in the language — but, the thinking goes, there has not been enough of a division in the appellate courts to warrant a SCOTUS incursion. If the other circuits weigh in as the previous ones have, the court will likely have to merely rubber stamp the decisions in a year or so, when only Alabama, Mississippi and Alaska are the last defiant anti-gay states.

It has the makings of a societal schism, this does. I never, ever thought — even a few short years ago — that my own ability to get married — and to stay married as I travel across the country (think about that, straight people) — would ever be the next front in the culture wars. Politically, I see the need for the court to continue to exercise caution. As a gay man and as what I consider a rational, moral human being, I agree with the Times‘ editorial board: stop waiting, it hurts people.

I, Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game, and Celebrating the Zeitgeist

I’ll be honest with you: I used to hate weddings. Now, because I can have one of my own, I guess, I’ve come to embrace them — real or pretend. For example, I’ve done a lot of television watching and crying for the last week as Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis got married on the daytime drama Days of our Lives.

This is NOT normal behavior. Certainly not from this curmudgeon!

But I can’t help it.

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A veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Days of our Lives’ royalty flank Sonny (Freddie Smith) and Will (Guy Wilson) at their wedding. On the far left: Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) and Justin and Adrienne Kiriakis (Wally Kurth and Judi Evans). On the right: Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney), Lucas Horton (Bryan Dattilo) and Kate Roberts (Lauren Koslow).

And it’s a perfect example of why I’ve always been a fan of the genre of serial storytelling. It’s not because of any giant spectacle or sweeps month ratings grab: it’s because these important stories, told slowly over time can fundamentally alter behavior, lead public perception and change people’s lives.

I came out as a soap opera lover as a teen — years before I came out as gay — and I even studied soaps in college! Often, it’s been a maddening relationship. While soaps have sometimes been on the cutting edge telling some sociologically important stories, in others they have been unbearably slow in embracing a changing society.

Some Gay Soap History
Let’s take LGBT issues, for instance. In the seven years — yes, only seven — since the first gay male kiss on daytime, we’ve come to the first same-sex wedding*. That’s an impressively short amount of time, especially given how late Days came to the party by introducing Sonny Kiriakis in 2011 as an openly gay man and developing the long, sometimes painfully slow arc of Will Horton coming to terms with his own sexuality and falling for Sonny.

No, I won’t fault Days for finally coming to the table around the desert course, because they seized the zeitgeist by the horns, stopped the music and reset the conventions of the genre and committed to telling a contemporary love story in modern terms using today’s social norms and not relying on unfounded paralytic fears of an older, less wiser, generation. When so many people were predicting the end of soaps, Ken Corday did the right thing in trying to save his: he decided to shift the focus to contemporary values, begin to compress the time it took to tell stories in serial drama and let the naysayers be damned.

It’s the only way you make change happen. It’s the only way you become relevant.

No one should wonder — at all — why Days of our Lives won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama last year.

Freddie Smith and Guy Wilson portray Sonny Kiriakis and Will Horton, daytime’s happiest gay supercouple. Would that we all looked this good in our own wedding pictures!

Why We Love Them
Nick Fallon, nefarious ‘smarmy’ evildoer — assayed brilliantly by Blake Berris — tried, in the days leading up to the wedding, to undermine Will’s confidence, something that was pretty easy to do in the past. He said that the reason that people in Salem were captivated by Will and Sonny was that it was a good old-fashioned romance where the worldly guy (Sonny) came back home and fell in love with the golly-gee wholesomeness of the hometown “total newbie” (Will). And, do you know what? He was right.

That’s why we love this story. It IS a good old-fashioned romance. We love this story for the same reasons that people have been crying at the end of romantic movies, plays and television shows since those media were invented: humans fall in love with love and we love nothing more than watching people fall in love. Oh, and we love happy endings.

The Grooms
When Sonny begins to come up the aisle, on the arm of his mother, there’s a moment when you think he may bolt and run up to Will. His is a character that knows his own mind and he knows what he wants and he has always known that he wanted Will more than anyone or anything else.

When Will sees Sonny coming up the aisle, realizing that he’s there for him, it almost takes his breath away. Forever questioning, forever wondering about his self-worth, forever feeling inferior, you realize at this moment that Will gets all of his strength from Sonny. Sonny has infused him with power, allowed him to be himself, allowed him to grow up and become his own man.

When Will says at the end of his vows, “But most of all, Sonny, I love you,” everyone knows how full of truth and how redolent with meaning that short sentence is.

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Wilson and Smith’s off-screen friendship and chemistry along with their respect for Will and Sonny’s relationship infuses and elevates their on-screen portrayals.| Image: @THEguywilson

Telling the Tale
The writing of the wedding arc has been as superlative as it gets throughout — careful and nuanced — and, in the very best traditions of serials, reaching deep into the story for anchors to bring everything together. Tad references getting told off by Victor Kiriakis in his best man speech; that’s from the summer of 2011, when Sonny came to town. Victor’s own arc from telling Tad “no one talks to a Kiriakis like that” to showing a bigoted associate the door with a “Family values, my ass!” has shown masterful continuity.

And more than that, the short scene in the park on the way to the wedding with Will and T seems like a throwaway, but, without saying it aloud, what Will is remembering is exactly where Sonny kissed him for the first time — an occurrence that began after Tad disowns Will. Then comes Sonny’s kiss, which Will is not ready for, leading Will to sleep with Gabi, T punching out Sonny, Gabi getting pregnant and setting the whole plot in motion.

In other words, they played the long game. Soaps NEVER play the long game. It’s so astonishing, I can’t even think of a time when a story was so well plotted and so well written in a multi-year arc. I was infuriated — just infuriated — when Gabi got pregnant by Will because it seemed an easy way to bust up Will and Sonny’s nascent relationship with every tiresome, hackneyed, eye-rolling, old-fashioned soap opera cliche in the book. Why? Because soaps NEVER play the long game. But here? Son of a bitch, if they haven’t neatly tied up every loose end.

As such, OF COURSE a reformed T is the best man, standing up for them proudly. OF COURSE Lucas has become one of Will and Sonny’s biggest champions. OF COURSE Marlena is the one to marry them, her long arc with Will’s struggles comprising some of the most special scenes over the last several years. OF COURSE EJ DiMera saves the day for a Kiriakis wedding. OF COURSE Sami, however inadvertently, throws a spanner into the gearbox. OF COURSE Justin and Adrienne are the most supportive parents in the world. OF COURSE there’s no “DAYSaster” event [Sami’s wedding is coming!] because it would ruin everything that’s absolutely, positively right about this story.

The Guys
What I think elevates it further is the power of the central performers. Guy Wilson, while a seasoned actor, had only been playing this role for a very short amount of time before these scenes were shot and his roughly four months of screen time — including many days where this story has not been shown — is an awfully compressed interval for someone to claim a character, stamp it as their own and make the audience believe in your characterization — especially an important character previously played by a popular actor.

I’ve watched Guy’s performances closely since he began and he started to charm me early on. He’s a subtle performer who commits readily to the material. His innate intelligence and commitment to the role and the story show through in his performances. As Will is now an older and maturing adult, some of Guy’s choices are bolder than his predecessor, but he plays true to the character brief. The character continues to grow.

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Freddie Smith as Salem’s ‘white knight.’ Sonny generally keeps true, but we all know he has an edge. His last name is Kiriakis, after all.

On the other hand, he plays most of his scenes opposite Freddie Smith, the young man who created Sonny Kiriakis and who is, for my money, one of the finest young actors on the air, so Guy has had to hit a pretty high bar every time he’s up. (You’ll note that I did not say “on daytime.” That’s because I believe that differentiating between actors on daytime and primetime — or now online — is a meaningless and often demeaning construct.)

Freddie is such an easy performer — smooth, solid, layered, confident — everything that Sonny needs to be. He always matches the show’s veterans note for note and lifts up the entire scene, not merely playing his own sides to showcase himself. It is the hallmark of understanding of what it means to be an ensemble player. And it’s damn rare, in this day and age, to find that understanding and ability in someone so young.

New Order Built on the Past
The thing about serials is that, for an audience to buy into them over the long-term, they need to develop relationships with certain characters and certain families. That multi-generational feeling was very much in evidence in Sonny and Will’s wedding and the powerful turns by veterans Deidre Hall, Wally Kurth and Bryan Dattilo [who made me weep like a baby, damn him!] and a lengthy knock-out of a monologue masterfully delivered by the peerless 86-year-old Peggy McCay, served to cement the couple firmly into the bedrock of this show.

I received a tweet awhile back in which the writer called Will and Sonny the modern day Tom and Alice. It was the perfect response. Perfect.

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Frances Reid and Macdonald Carey as Tom and Alice Horton, the original central “tent pole” characters of the long running NBC drama Days of our Lives.

If Days of our Lives is to have a promising and relevant future, its anchors must be placed in characters that both mirror modern life and reflect back on the long history of the show. For decades, Tom and Alice Horton were that center. Plenty of things happened to them, plenty of drama swirled around them, but Tom and Alice as a unit did not waver. Looking back, it’s hard not to think of one without the other. As the show nears the half-century mark, it seems to me that the next generation’s standard bearers of a rare solid soap opera relationship should be Tom and Alice’s great-grandson and the man that he loves.

It is the perfect way to honor the rich history of the program, to honor the genre and to show that the deep, deep roots of serial storytelling have a place in the modern world to tell today’s stories and tackle today’s issues.

In five years, I would love to see Will and Sonny raising their child — or maybe even more than one child by then — and interacting in fundamental ways with the other denizens of Salem while creating a loving and stable home at the center. It would be a powerful statement, one that Days seems to be on the cusp of making. It is certainly one that I would relish.

For the nonce, though, I’m just happy that this story has come into my living room (and smart phone and laptop) and that I was able to share in it. It was simply magnificent.


*Okay, okay, okay, fine! TECHNICALLY this is not the first same-sex wedding. Bianca and Reese on All My Children in 2009 were the first, but that’s a storyline fraught with controversy, not to mention poor plotting and lack of integration into the canvas. Also, their marriage would not have been legal where they lived, because Pennsylvania, where fictional Pine Valley is located, was not — and still is not — an equality state. Days has made Salem’s locale into an equality state in the plot — by fiat — and this is the first daytime TV same sex marriage in the post-DOMA era.

Other Days Ramblings:

See for yourself. Edit by 477mrfixit.

All images and video, unless otherwise noted, originated with and/or are the property of NBC, Sony Pictures Television or Corday Productions.

Wave of Appeals Expected to Turn the Tide on Same-Sex Marriage Bans

Very good analysis in the Times. I think we all wish for a rose-colored past where these issues of civil inequality could have been decided years — decades — ago, but it’s a grand time to be alive and to watch the change. A better America awaits us tomorrow. A better one still, the day after that. Keep your eyes on the prize, babies! We’ll get there.

The Supreme Court will be all but forced to decide if, as appears possible, different circuits reach clashing conclusions. The one most likely to decide against same-sex marriage, many experts say, is the Fifth Circuit, which will decide the Texas appeal. That circuit includes Mississippi and Louisiana, and the court is viewed as largely made up of conservative judges.

via Wave of Appeals Expected to Turn the Tide on Same-Sex Marriage Bans – NYTimes.com.

The Marriage Equality Map You Need To Know

The Marriage Equality Map You Need To Know.

Interesting map courtesy of BuzzFeed regarding the proliferation of marriage equality cases in the various Federal circuits. We are everywhere, it seems.

Speaking of, do you subscribe to the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ weekly marriage equality updates? You should. It’s a good quick two-to-three minute YouTube digest each week. We should all be keeping up with this. Here’s an embed of the most recent one.