As I mentioned in my earlier entry on Details’ Gay or Asian? article, a
protest was scheduled to take place on Friday, April 16th outside the
Details offices in Manhattan. A Google news search found these articles
- Crain’s New York Business: Asian Group Protests Magazine Article
- New York Newsday: Asians picket magazine, call feature demeaning
- The Harvard Crimson: Details Magazine Sparks Protest
- The Advocate: Details speaks to “Gay or Asian” outrage
According to the reports, about 200 people attended the protest,
which led Details’ editor-in-chief, Daniel Peres to make the following
“It has been made abundantly clear to me that this story, which is part
of an ongoing series challenging male cultural stereotypes, was
insensitive, hurtful, and in poor taste,” Details
Editor-in-Chief Daniel Peres said in a written statement. “There’s a
line that should never be crossed in any satirical humor, and Details crossed it. I, on behalf of the magazine, deeply regret this misstep, and apologize to those who were offended.”
The Advocate article reports that Details
will “run a full-page apology in an upcoming issue and move forward in a
more sensitive manner in featuring stories on lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgendered people as well as Asians and Pacific Islanders”.
I’ve never been terribly keen on the word “sensitive” in this sort
of context. It has a “poor widdle baby, can’t take a couple of barbed bons mots” pat-on-the-head connotation. How about “non-bigoted”?
In the meantime, thanks to how publications work and the magic of
lead times, Whitney McNally’s dead horse receives continued flogging.
May’s issue of Details has her latest ouevre, Gay or Socialite’s Husband?
Here are scans of her entire “Gay or…?” series, courtesy of the blog What Tian Has Learned:
- August 2003: Gay or Guido?
- October 2003: Gay or British?
- November 2003: Gay or Preppy?
- December 2003: Gay or Magician? (There are enough magicians to form stereotypes? Who knew?)
- January/February 2003: Gay or Democratic Front-Runner?
- March 2003: Gay or Jesus? (And no uproar?)
- April 2003: Gay or Asian?
- May 2003: Gay or Socialite’s Husband?
Geez, and I thought the writers at Saturday Night Live were the kings of milking a joke long after it ceased to be funny. Whitney, you can take that crown now.
And what can be done about Ms. McNally (picture purported to be her, taken from the slam site whitneymcnally.com shown below)?
Hey, wait a minute…wasn’t she all over me at the For the Love of Breasts fundrasing gala?
A number of Asian and Gay advocacy groups have demanded that Details
fire her. I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do, as she’s only the
writer. Every magazine article is the product of a team of people, of
whom the writer is only one part. The “Gay or…?” series had to be
approved by a story editor, and each article submitted is probably
approved by a section editor and (at least in theory) the
editor-in-chief. The act of firing Ms. McNally in the absence of any
other sort of remedy merely opens the door for another like her to
replace the void left in her absence (although I suspect that her
presence is a void itself).
I can suggest three possible solutions:
- Have one of those “roundtable” articles in which
editor-in-chief Daniel Peres, Whitney McNally, a high-profile gay man
and a high-profile Asian discuss the issue.
- Have someone with good powers of persuasion convince them to
run a “Gay or Al-Qaeda?” article. (Probably unwise, as the resulting
“protest” will probably harm a lot of innocent people).
- Team Ms. McNally up with her Canadian dim-bulb counterpart Leah McLaren and put them on some kind of “gosh-they’re-cute-but-dumb” reality show a la The Simple Life or Newlyweds.
I will gladly volunteer my services for the episode in which they must
wrestle an Asian accordion player in a vat of creamed corn.