February 22, 2011

When a supermarket’s decision to put a modesty shield over a magazine cover featuring Elton John, his male lover, and their surrogate baby attracted a fierce backlash from the usual suspects”€”liberal busybodies, professional gay militants, publicity-seekers, and other such rabble”€”I was personally delighted. The star writer of my own Takimag, Jim Goad, was the first to comment on this brouhaha and took a neutral stand. Being older and far less tolerant, I will not. The funny thing is, I know both “€œparents”€ of this unfortunate baby. I was once seated between Elton John and David Furnish at some London gala, and both were extremely polite and friendly toward me. Sir Elton asked nonstop questions about tennis”€”I suppose he loves the game but can”€™t play it, unlike yours truly who has played it well in the past but hates it. After dinner as we were about to say our goodbyes, David Furnish, or “€œLady Furnish”€ as we now call him in jest, asked me what I had against homosexuals. Absolutely nothing, I said, then laughingly added, “€œSome of my closest friends are gay.”€

Both men giggled, then Furnish asked: “€œThen why do you make so much fun of them in print?”€

“€œOh, I joke about everyone,”€ said I, “€œand I”€™m probably gay myself.”€

“€œWe knew it!”€ boomed both men in unison, leaving me thinking, My God, what have I done?

“€œGood manners are not a superficial activity; they serve a moral purpose.”€

I had thrown in that last bit trying to be polite. I”€™ve never desired a man and have never been close to a homosexual experience, but I do like to make mischief. The very next day Furnish sent me a bottle of champagne from Harrods, delivered to my Cadogan Square flat by a Harrods horse-and-buggy liveried driver in a top hat. Thank God the friendly message did not include any references to “€œa fellow gay”€ and all that.

Still, when the supermarket hid Us Weekly from the prying eyes of mothers and children, I was delighted, unlike that awful woman who Tweeted that she was “€œshocked and horrified”€ because children were shielded from seeing a gay family. What next? Are children to be graphically shown acts between consenting male and women adults that do not lead to procreation? (Hollywood and television actually do show them, and quite graphically.)


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