Attitude Jumps The Shark

Posted: March 31, 2012 in Masculinities
Tags: , , ,

Attitude, the UK magazine by, for and about gay men, seems to have jumped the shark. Once this magazine had some good points, not least the brilliant columns by [redacted] in the 90s, which later featured in his books It’s A Queer World and Sex Terror. But now it is a glossy gay ‘lifestyle’ magazine from hell, and is all about pop stars, reality TV stars, and the best place to go on holiday this year.

This month’s 18th birthday edition sports a gay soldier on the cover, James Wharton, with his civilian partner. The text at the side reads:

‘Have you heard about the Iraq veteran who can fight for his country but can’t get married?’

I don’t really know where to begin! It simultaneously presents a patriotic awe of soldiers ‘who can fight for [their] country’, and also seems to completely undermine what they do, by suggesting the biggest problem in their lives is whether or not they can tie the knot.  Across the pond in America, the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy has only recently been abandoned. And gay and bisexual and lesbian soldiers are celebrating their newfound freedoms. But ‘gay rights’ movements are always quick to identify the next struggle, the next source of oppression. When (and I am sure it is when and not if) same sex marriage is legalised, I am sure Attitude will come up with another image of inequality to put on their cover.

But it really is becoming a joke. And if I was a soldier, gay, straight, bisexual, whatever, who had just been ‘fighting for my country’, maybe seeing my friends die, I don’t think I’d find it very funny.

  1. QRG-

    ya might get a laugh outta this….

    anyways, yeah, the US shouldn’t even be in Iraq or Afghanistan….

    hear about that nutcase who slaughtered 17 people?

    this whole thing is dishonorable.

  2. s4r4hbrown says:

    Excuse this off topic comment, QRG, but I thought you might enjoy the above example of fuckwittery. The F Word has some ok stuff, such as a recent piece about ‘traditional values’ being allowed to trump women’s human rights, but the medicine piece was awful

  3. redpesto says:

    Shhh…you’re not supposed to notice the apparent paradox!

    It’s like the women in frontline combat argument: there’s a simultaneous insistence on an equal right to serve/fight/die for one’s country, while claiming that ‘war’ is something that ‘men’ do.

    In the end, all ‘being gay’ tells you is whom they like to fuck. It doesn’t tell you anything about their politics, social attitudes or how they like their eggs cooked in the morning.

    Attitude will have truly jumped the shark when it does a big cover feature on gay Tories.

  4. Jake says:

    Just found your blog via another discussing Dan Savage’s horribleness, and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts so far. When I reached the photo of the magazine cover above, though, I was horrified and infuriated (but not surprised). The problems with that headline go way beyond even the things you mentioned here – a more accurate title would be:

    ‘Have you heard about the white soldier who has been trained to slaughter brown people [over 1 million civilians killed in Iraq] to generate profits for weapons, construction, and oil corporations BUT CANT GET MARRIED?’

    What a fucked-up sense of priority. The entire rhetoric surrounding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell here in the US has bothered me a lot – many in the ‘mainstream’ gay community seem to have completely bought into the imperialist discourse that claims soldiers are ‘fighting for our country’ and doing good, instead of being brainwashed to fight wars for profit. It also ignores the fact that LGBT people are not all white and not all American – many of those millions that the U.S. and British militaries kill may also be LGBT, but of course they don’t count.

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