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Clay Aiken, Felipe Alou, and WWJAD
2005-08-10 17:08
by Scott Long

This month the Bravo Network features a comedy special starring Kathy Griffin. If you're not familar with Griffin, she is a sometimes actress who has appeared on "Seinfeld", played the part of Brooke Shields' best friend on "Suddenly Susan", and now appears on celebrity reality shows. Griffin's current stand-up act is just long stories about her experience with celebrities and she rips on them like Joan Rivers during her prime.

Why you might ask am I discussing Ms. Griffin? Well during her current special, she has a hilarious segment on Clay Aiken. If you are a newer reader at this site, in the past I have discussed Mr. Aiken and have been bombarded with comments by angry Claymates from the Claynation. My problem with Aiken, besides I think he's a minor talent at best is how he constantly talks and sings about romantic feelings for women, even though it would seem to be a big fat front. Now I know in our politically correct climate, we all have to have to put out our disclaimer so here is mine:
Scott Long is for gay marriage, gays in the military, and even gays getting the chance to be professional figure skaters.

Having said this, when someone puts on a facade like Aiken does towards women, this is when I feel I have the right to comment on it. In her routine, Griffin goes way farther than anything I've said in discussing him. She refers to how much she loves Clay, partially because he is the gayest man on the planet. Her nickname of Clay Aiken is "the Gaiken".

Now, I find it interesting that Kathy Griffin has a large gay fanbase, even though she uses language, which if just read in a transcript, would seem extemely homophobic. Are her gay fans self-hating? No. They know that she has no vendatta against the gay community and even more importantly, Kathy Griffin makes them laugh. I've been doing comedy for 13 years now and let me tell you there is a real tightrope that has to be maneuvered to escape the PC police. Having done numerous appearances on radio, I know the landmines are even larger, as there is a small group of listeners ready to jump at any thing that offends their sensitive ears.

This zero-tolerance world claimed another victim today, as 3 people were canned at San Francisco's KNBR radio station because of "inappropriate comedy sound bytes". This all stems from an incident where the station's talk show host, Larry Krueger offered up that the Giants have too many "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly." Yes, the words make me feel a little queasy, but I think the original punishment of a suspension was fair. Considering Krueger apologized, I think canning him was too harsh. Sure Giants' manager Felipe Alou had a right to be upset and to voice his opinions, but we have to be careful when one statement can wreck a person's career.

Through deregulation, there are few radio stations in the country which are not owned by large corporations. The same goes for our newspapers and television stations, which have severely limited the opportunity for edgy commentary. While I'm not a fan of the phrase "brain-dead Carribeans", knowing that a sentence like this can give a person a potential life-sentence is scary. Considering Krueger had done thousands of hours over the airwaves, a little more rope should have been given.

We can all be a little more sensitive, but I also think we could use just as big a dose of perspective in the way we deal with things. From the Kathy Griffin's comedy special, I learned that Clay Aiken has some perspective, as he didn't behave like a Diva and refuse to deal with Griffin, despite her past cutting material being focused on him. Because of this example, I'm off the bash Clay bandwagon, as I respect his thick-skin. Hopefully we can all learn from Clay. So Felipe, next time someone says something offensive, realize your power and have some perspective. Maybe even turn the other cheek. And just remember. WWJAD. (What would Jesus Alou do?)

2005-08-10 20:21:12
1.   befille
"My problem with Aiken, besides I think he's a minor talent at best is how he constantly talks and sings about romantic feelings for women, even though it would seem to be a big fat front."

Or, you know, the guy might just be straight. Unless you've actually been in his bed, anything you have to say is just a guess -- a guess based on some really tired stereotypes.

As you hint that you're beginning to suspect, he's actually a pretty cool guy with a real sense of humor about himself. If you gave him half a chance (I dare you to catch him on tour this summer) you might just learn something.

2005-08-10 21:00:10
2.   Smed
And he's got a bunch of fans that have drank the Kool Aid big time.

He's a cult of personality, big time. It's like the Dylan cult of the 60's, where he could have put out a record of the sounds of him eating pasta and it would have been a profound statement to the cult.

Then he released "Self Portrait"...

Same with the fat, lazy Elvis of the 70's.

Clay can sing. Clay can interpret songs in a particular idiom. Much like Tom Jones. I equate the two, really. Except Tom Jones was, and always will be, a ladies man. He exuded sex. Clay is a Ken doll.

Clay had better write some decent songs himself, or he's going to be at the mercy of whatever schlock hacks like Diane Warren turn out for him. And that's not art - that's just pandering to the masses.

2005-08-10 22:45:15
3.   joseph
I'm not trying to be a dick, but who are you to decide when somebody should come out?
it's a pretty difficlt thing to deal with, maybe Clay's not ready to out himself (I imagine that being a celeb it's even harder). why should we mock and chastise him for not being ready?
2005-08-11 17:09:40
4.   Scott Long
Dear Dick, I mean Joesph,

I'm not about outing people, but I do have a problem when people put on a false front, as Aiken has in the past. To me it's akin to when a politician or man of the cloth preaches moral values, when they don't live them or when someone has a save the enviroment sticker on the back of their Tundra.

2005-08-12 12:02:59
5.   Avery
Scott - I have a problem with people putting on a false front too, like people who pretend to be a writer or reporter. What makes you so positive that Clay Aiken is putting on a false front? Have you personally had a sexual encounter with him? Know someone who has? Just because he doesn't strut around like some Neanderthal he has to be gay? As befille said above, it is a tired stereotype. Give it up.
2005-08-12 12:30:44
6.   Blah Blah Blah
There seems to be a fairly large body of evidence that Mr. Aiken is, in fact, gay. I don't know this for a fact either, but the circumstantial evidence seems to be solid.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I follow the concern here. Is it not OK for Clay Aiken to simply like these songs? Do you think GP compels him to take a pre-written song that refers to "her" and replace that word with "him"? I mean, in the kid's defense he was singing these same songs long before he had any serious reason to believe that they would make him rich and famous. He likes a romantic song, let's sue him.

He's conflicted, I'm sure that much is true. I bet the conflict stems more from his southern straight-laced upbringing and his work with youth in Christian organizations, and how all of that relates to his sexuality. I seriously doubt it has much to do with trying to sell extra records, if that's your concern.

2005-08-12 12:34:27
7.   Blah Blah Blah
By way of followup to my last post, I really love the song "Anchorage". I'm a guy...yet for some reason I have a strong connection to it. Does that mean I have issues?

Bruce Springsteen sang "My daddy said right before he died that true true love was just a lie" while his dad was still alive. I mean, what's up with that?

2005-08-12 13:35:28
8.   Avery
I find it very interesting that a majority of the writers and comedians that seem to feel Clay is gay are male. Why are you men so fixated with the issue? Is it because, as many women feel, you think with a certain part of your body other than your brain. Guys such as the poster above refer to "a large body of evidence". Huh? I know some guys who didn't have a date all during high school and college and that didn't mean they were gay. Clay is very attractive to a lot of my female friends in their 20's and 30's. Scott Long is just another man who obviously doesn't have a clue what women want.
2005-08-12 14:14:41
9.   Blah Blah Blah
Trust me Avery, it (the evidence) goes a lot deeper than lack of dates. But hey, I'm agreeing with you here, ok?
2005-08-12 14:32:24
10.   Avery
Trust me, Blah, I don't truly don't want to stir this up anymore than it already has been, but I just don't get where someone can proclaim they have "evidence" of someone's sexual preferences unless they have personal knowledge. You even state in your first post that you do not know for a fact and the evidence is "circumstantial". To me, this is more than just whether or not Clay Aiken is gay, it is about people who judge him based on their own preconceived ideas about what constitutes someones "manliness". Scott is stating that Clay is covering up his sexual preference as if he knows this for a fact and I say Scott cannot possibly know this unless, of course, he is, or has had sex with the man.
2005-08-12 16:35:20
11.   Scott Long
If you think men are the one's focused on this subject, let me once again refer you to Kathy Griffin's hilarious story on the Clay.

In regards to Avery's last line which stated " Scott is stating that Clay is covering up his sexual preference as if he knows this for a fact and I say Scott cannot possibly know this unless, of course, he is, or has had sex with the man", let me respond by saying that I can not say speak to this issue presently, on the advice of my attorney, but I hope to clear this matter up in the future.

If it makes you feel any better, Avery, I see your point and I'm not saying it doesn't have some merit. Blah to the 3rd power, of course there is no broken laws in singing lovesongs to a gender you don't get a boner for, but when it happens, it feels so false to me that I can't respond positively.

As I write at the end of the piece, I'm going to have a more open-mind about Aiken, as he does seems to have some sense of humor and I respect that. I will say, though, that if he covers Two Live Crew's "Hey, we want some pussy", I will have to write another post on the subject.

2005-08-12 19:00:15
12.   Avery
I personally think Kathy Griffin is secretly a "Claymate". I also think she is no dummy and she knows that making fun of Clay will get her some attention by getting his fans riled up same as you. I hate it that people find the need to make fun of Clay and harp on his sexuality cause I don't think he deserves it. People like Michael Jackson who acts so wierd give people a reason to make fun of him. Celebrities such as Brittany Spears who seem to do things just to get attention give people a reason to make fun of them. Clay goes on a t.v. show at the urging of the mother of a special needs child he is working with, comes out of it a celebrity with avid fans and wants to use his celebrity to further the causes that mean something to him. So because he isn't controversial in any other way, people have to find something to harp on, i.e. his sexuality. Even if he gets married and has children some day, certain people will still probably be saying it's a front. I just find it very sad that people won't leave it alone. I'm done.
2005-08-13 10:49:06
13.   waikikigrrl
Scott says: of course there is no broken laws in singing lovesongs to a gender you don't get a boner for, but when it happens, it feels so false to me that I can't respond positively

You must not have seen the fan video of Clay getting a boner on stage after having danced "up close and personal" with his very pretty, very curvy, very female backup singer...

2005-08-13 12:31:04
14.   Scott Long
Yes, I've heard of the said fan video. The old Scott would have had many rebuttals to that incident, but the new Scott, who is trying to give Clay a break, will just agree to disagree. Oh and I've been corrected on this before, so let me state for the record, it doesn't appear like Shakin' Aiken needs any Enzyte.

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