America is the most beautiful country. Utah is my favorite state.
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So, yesterday, I’m on HLN‘s Jane Velez Mitchell show courtesy of CNN ostensibly to put the boot into a 67-year-old Colorado Sheriff called Pat Sullivan who paid young boys for sex with meth.
I started the show by acknowledging Pat’s sex addiction but then, halfway through, listening to the comments of the other ‘outraged’ guests I suddenly felt an overwhelming pity for Pat Sullivan.
Before being caught in an undercover sting he had been described as a hero…as a crusader against drug use.
During his 18 years as elected Arapahoe County Sheriff he had inspired the local population to trust him with their safety.
They re-elected him time after time.
The local jail was named after him.
What became of this man and his reputation? Arrested by young deputies, in the most desperate of situations.
67 years old, a walking stick, taking meth, living a double life, having sex with degenerate addicts and homeless people. Described as a ‘dirty old man’.
The closet can be a terrible place. A terrible dark place.
As Jake found out. The people you meet, the lies you tell. A double life can take a toll on you and those around you.
Unlike Jake, who stayed in the closet because he was a coward, Pat…50 years ago in rural Colorado had no choice.
He didn’t want to move to the big city and follow his sexual condition, he didn’t want to go be a criminal in another city (homosexuality was outlawed 50 years ago) so, he married, had kids and became the town hero.
Having a career as a hero in rural Colorado for a gay man in the 1960’s was not an option.
Pat looked after the people of Arapahoe but didn’t look after himself.
Now, revealed for all to see. As sick as his secrets.
I’m sorry Pat didn’t, couldn’t get help.
Perhaps he will now.
Sitting in Ground Works coffee spot on Sunset with Kevin and Fielder yesterday. Eating a cheese Danish after my latest stint on the JVM show.
Alleged ‘Madame’, Anna Gristina has been locked up in solitary on Rikers Island, charged with a single count of prostitution. Held on an absurd $2million bail.
“It’s not about me; it’s bigger than me,” “They’re trying to sweat me out. They are clearly trying to break me.”
The self-described “hockey mom” and real-estate developer claims to have no idea why prosecutors are so intent on digging up dirt on those men – half of whom she said she knew as friends or business associates.
“I’d bite my tongue off before I’d tell them anything,”
Since my run in with the LAPD I know exactly how they try breaking their victims of choice. Can you believe that they tried forcing me sign a gagging order? As part of their ‘deal’ the DA tried to get me to sign a gagging order…
Obviously I won round 1 by getting myself out of jail.
The fight will get a great deal harder, nastier and…as I predicted…the Immigration Department are already trying to discredit me.
They already lied to the Newsweek journalist Christine P (a meticulous journalist with great sources) about my immigration status.
As I pointed out to her, even if I had been here illegally or ‘out of status’ the immigration department and the Sherrif’s Dept. are still obliged to follow rules and protocols.
As it happened, when I was arrested, I was neither here illegally nor was I out of status.
Kevin and I had lunch yesterday at the 101 Coffee Shop on Franklin. Delicious. We polished our ‘trans superhero’ idea.
By day Ricky is a model booker at LA Models. “Hello? Nordstrom? Yes, you got it.” However, by night, after the emergency call on his ‘weave phone’, he’s Tranny Hooker! Solving gay crime all over WeHo. Dressed in his bad wig, gold disco shorts, crop top and size 13 stilettos he flies (fueled by huge amounts of Tina) along Santa Monica Blvd, to The Abbey where he/she solves most of WeHo’s gay crime…
Mostly crimes against style, including badly cut pants, shopping at Vons and old men pawing mid-western model boys at their palatial homes in the hills…
There by the table I leapt up, over the blackened chicken sandwich, acting out Tranny Hooker’s flight through smoggy LA…just as Robby arrived.
Great being back on Jane’s show. Love CNN. Love the make up girls. Love the security guards…
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
— John Steinbeck
Russell Armstrong was the husband/adjunct of Taylor Armstrong…a “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” character in the Bravo reality television series of the same name.
As most of us read this past week, Russell Armstrong is dead. Hung by the neck, fully clothed, no suicide note at his best friend’s Beverly Hills home.
Did reality TV kill Russell Armstrong?
Discovered by his wife and young daughter. This ordinary looking, middle-aged man could not take it any more.
As the American dream of the middle class crumbles to dust ‘aspirational’ shows like “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” developed by producers like Bravo’s Andy Cohen become increasingly popular.
According to friends who knew them, Russell and Taylor Armstrong were living, “Way beyond their means.” He was having, “Trouble at the office.” He was under, “Increasing financial pressure.”
Russell was the sort of guy who, “Had multiple business deals going at all times.”
Meanwhile, Taylor Armstrong says, “It may look like I have it all, but I want more.”
In many ways this couple are typical of many families in post recession, double dip America. Struggling to get by whilst keeping up appearances.
Yet, unlike other families, their problems were magnified on reality television.
On TV, stoicism is perceived as pretension. Fighting to survive looks to the snarky viewer, recalibrated by the producer as: pathetic and desperate.
Without the cameras, prying eyes and competitive resentment the Armstrong’s might have sorted out the messes that many Americans share. They might have had the luxury of a private chat with a financial advisor, a couples therapist.
The problem is: Shows like “The Real Housewives” are not about revealing the cracks in the facade or grown up solutions. This show is about ‘glamour’, confrontation and spurious TV paid for parties.
Away from the cameras these women talk about ‘production’, ‘air-time’ and ‘ratings’. They luxuriate in the language of prime time entertainment.
This is Andy Cohen’s dress up show. Divas, Cougars, Vixen. Andy’s fag hags that he abusively tells to ‘shut the fuck up’ when the drama he created drowns out his own ego-maniacal, shrill voice.
Some gay men love an older woman with botox to parade at parties. Like Capote before him Andy Cohen delights in exploiting families (with which he has no first hand experience) he can only guess at the financial woes that make such good TV, the divorces with which he speculates and profits.
Andy is a single, childless, gay man playing gay God in lives for which he has no care but to make money. He was laughing all the way to the bank…now he is maybe crying crocodile tears…all the way to the bank.
The last thing any reality TV show needs is a crushingly real suicide. There is nothing real about reality TV. Death, is seems, in reality TV land needs a one hour, unscripted, series premiere preamble for Taylor’s costars to explain their grief. I am sure that they will repair their relationship with the recently departed and defend their co-star as the abused victim, the tragic ingenue.
Last week Russell hung himself in the spare bedroom of his best friend one month after his wife filed for divorce.
Until CNN asked me to appear on HLN to discuss Russell’s death I knew nothing of Russell or Taylor, I had not seen one episode of any one of the “Housewives of…” franchise. My only link to the show was having met Andy Cohen on two private occasions.
The short, ebullient, producer of many avidly watched shows. Driven around NYC in his black, overly large limousine, surrounded by sycophantic boys. Lauded for his extraordinary ability to make mass market, trash television then audaciously crashing through the third wall to make himself a character worthy of his own show.
Whilst Andy Cohen plays ‘dress up’ with his housewives, bank balances are shattered, children see their dead fathers hanging from the rafters, divorces are finalized.
The relationship between Andy and his housewives needs greater scrutiny.
Since Russel’s death Andy has been uncharacteristically mute.
I wrote to him asking if he had anything to say about Russell’s death.
He asked for my ‘POV’. I replied:
I hoped you might want to say more about this incident.
There has been a great deal of discussion about just how responsible you and Bravo might be for this death.
Obviously Russell is ultimately responsible for his suicide but one might argue that he was brutalized by a wholly fictional narrative creative by yourselves.
Excluded from the show, losing his wife and child in a public way…a mere adjunct, his masculinity compromised…this could have pushed a fragile man to the edge of his being.
Whilst you are an ebullient survivor type of guy…riding your housewives wave…it rather cruelly occurs to me to ask whether your heart really does go out to the child of this dead man? Or…please excuse me…I wonder how you will benefit financially from this death?
I wondered whether you felt at all responsible for his suicide?
The pressure put on those women to perform for ‘air time’ can skew (ironically) their reality.
Russell ended up a ‘featured extra’ in his own life. The bad guy who may or may not have injured his wife but certainly not able to imagine a time where he would be able defend himself against the inevitably huge wave of negative press a network like yours can generate.
That was my POV.
Hope you are well Andy.
“I don’t think you know me or this situation at all so it is quite bold of you to speculate as you do.”
We all, of course, live in a world of speculation.
Perhaps Russell saw himself as a failure who couldn’t even get Reality TV ‘right’. Shamed publicly for his bad choices, his bad temper, his un-American solutions. If Russell and Taylor thought that they would discover untold riches under the bushel of reality TV then they were wrong.
Reality TV takes any problem and blows it up. Producers, directors and performers are all interested in one thing: drama. Usually that drama is manageable: tardiness, a sly look, a bitter word…then the inevitable reconciliation. Tearful, hugs, eyeliner smeared over acid washed cheeks.
Did reality TV kill Russell Armstrong?
We must take it seriously. Our insatiable desire to see women like Taylor Armstrong shop for things she could no longer afford, a marriage that no longer served her purpose. Her leading man tarnished, her husband a mere co-star who had to be recast.
“You’re a good looking woman, you could do so much better.” One might speculate that there is a far more telegenic husband waiting in the wings to whisk Taylor away from the funeral and onto a tropical island where her only stab at grieving might be a black bikini.
Many people, escaping their own misery, live vicariously through the noxious drama of the vacuous, crude and tasteless lives of these desperate housewives that may very well have killed Russell Armstrong.
I, for one, regret his passing. There will be no reconciliation for Russell, no ‘to camera’ explanation.
Like Willy Loman, Russell Armstrong killed himself because he was proud and foolish and could not take it any more.
Nowhere to turn, nowhere to hide.
Finally, Russell and Taylor’s child will not have the luxury of private grief. There will be cameras trained on her young face eager for tears that will make someone, somewhere a great deal of money.
Damn..this is the last thing I needed.
Yesterday CNN fetched me over to their Sunset Blvd building to discuss the death of reality adjunct Russell Armstrong whose estranged wife Taylor is part of Andy Cohen‘s Housewives Of…circus/franchise.
Are you aware of how many reality TV stars commit suicide?
The problem with reality TV is that it’s never real, so when something real actually happens the reality TV community…reels.
I was on the show with Omarosa from the The Apprentice. I really liked her. She is so beautiful
Her take on Russell was more pragmatic than mine. He should have gone for the cash. I felt that Russell probably saw his wife’s involvement in the show as an opportunity for them both to do well.
Taylor threw her husband under a bus. Claiming all sorts of headline grabbing reasons why her marriage wasn’t working…except the glaringly obvious problem…reality TV. Essentially thrown out of the show poor Russell, swimming in debt and hideous accusation hung himself. Fully clothed.
No more red carpet for Russell.
Reality is all at once intrusive and life affirming. Getting the big bucks for being ones self. As I have said many times before, I found the entire experience unexpectedly validating.
Would I kill myself naked? I suspect I might.
Having been in two wildly different types of reality TV shows I felt very relaxed discussing my experience. Of course, I mentioned the restraining order. It was the perfect opportunity.
My segment here.
Had coffee at Groundworks with a friend. The excessively large limo they sent gliding back up the mountain.
Had dinner with Robby in Santa Monica. We ate huge raw steaks.
When I got home I walked the little dog. He was being tentative. At the edge of my terrace, no more than ten feet from my front door, a huge coyote lunged at The Little Dog puncturing his back. I lunged at the coyote screaming like a banchee but in my haste falling down a flight of stairs as I fought back. As it ran into the night, I felt my ankle go. I felt that huge muscle in my left leg tear. In extraordinary amounts of pain I sat on the step and sobbed.
Then something weird happened. I started to shake violently. Teeth chattering, body convulsing I crawled back up to the house. I tore off my clothes and dragged myself into bed. I called Robby who came back almost immediately and very kindly iced my foot and leg. That boy is a fucking dream.
Finally my body calmed down. The dog was/is petrified and it will take a few weeks for him to recover. Damn it, it will take me a few weeks to recover.
I thought about Michael Landon in The Little House on the Prairie. He always carried a gun. I always wondered why…now I know.
Slept badly, my swollen legs sweating. Unable to go to the bathroom I pissed in a cup. A portent. Prematurely infirmed.
Jason is heading over this way. I am staying with the Piette’s until I get well.
What was I saying about naked suicide?
Sunday morning, Malibu. You understand don’t you that I have not been to an AA meeting, therapy or spoken with my sponsor…not properly, for a week or so? It leaves one feeling quite raw.
I should devote myself to healthy choices this week.
Joe left yesterday afternoon. Back to NYC. A friend popped over for dinner last night. I made the most delicious Italian feast. We had a cuddle. He left.
Totally forgot all about the party I was meant to be going to yesterday. Instead I hung around in Hollywood. Met a bunch of cool, young Hollywood types who shared their Obama disillusionment.
How in hells name will he turn this around?
Obama is fucked, the liberals have been fucked over.
How will he turn this around?
He can’t, it’s too late.
If only he would grow some balls, stop goofing around, stop reminding people that he is President. Tap dancing when he should be banging heads together. Somebody should remind him that he’s not a contestant on Dancing With The Stars.
Can you imagine what’s going on in the White House? Obama looks petrified. Overstretched, isolated, mocked. When he speaks I can barely listen. Continually grasping for the flayed notion that consensus politics will save him…us. Grinning inanely.
When CNN anchor Don Lemons suggested to me at dinner that “Obama was frightened of white people.” I was shocked. But, I’ve seen it in Obama’s eyes. Lemons was right. He’s frightened of everything. The most ill-equipped man ever to preside over the free world.
Who is running this country?
If you’re wondering why we are still sending drones into Afghanistan? Perhaps it’s because Obama has no control over the military. If you are wondering what happened to his inspiring oratory? Realize that even his speech writers have deserted him.
I wonder what he promised Geitner to stay by his side? A penis enlargement?
If you are a liberal who is sick of watching Obama partying and quipping when your country is falling into a fascist abyss…demand that he is replaced by Hillary.
The Clintons, after all, have already stolen the money.
What will come next? I urge you to worry. Especially my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. There is a real and present danger that we cannot, must not ignore. Perry and Bachmann have every chance of being elected.
There will be a time, very soon, when you will start taking this threat seriously. You will set aside your hook-up sites, your apple martinis, the marriage sop you take for granted, the liberal air that you breath…and remember this:
In the 1920s, homosexual people in Germany, particularly in Berlin, enjoyed a higher level of freedom and acceptance than anywhere else in the world.
However, upon the rise of Adolf Hitler, gay men and, to a lesser extent, lesbians, were two of the numerous groups targeted by the Nazi Party and were ultimately among the 6 million Holocaust victims.
Beginning in 1933, gay organizations were banned, scholarly books about homosexuality, and sexuality in general, were burned, and homosexuals within the Nazi Party itself were murdered. The Gestapo compiled lists of homosexuals, who were compelled to sexually conform to the “German norm.”
Between 1933–45, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals, of which some 50,000 were officially sentenced. Most of these men served time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 of those sentenced were incarcerated in Nazi concentration camps.
It is unclear how many of the 5,000 to 15,000 eventually perished in the camps, but leading scholar Ruediger Lautman believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60%. Homosexuals in the camps were treated in an unusually cruel manner by their captors.
After the war, the treatment of homosexuals in concentration camps went unacknowledged by most countries, and some men were even re-arrested and imprisoned based on evidence found during the Nazi years.
It was not until the 1980s that governments began to acknowledge this episode, and not until 2002 that the German government apologized to the gay community. This period still provokes controversy, however. In 2005, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Holocaust which included the persecution of homosexuals.
Osama Bin Laden is dead. We celebrate his death along with millions of other Americans. For those of us who lived through 9/11 this day will forever remain in my heart as one of the best EVER. AMERICA! Fuck Yeah!
Yes We Can!!!
Watch us celebrate!!
If you are having difficulty watching this video see: http://duncanroy.wordpress.com
The Royal Wedding? What of it? I remember the Charles and Diana fiasco very well. I doubt whether this will compare. Not for those of us who sat through it all before. My friend Dan is in London covering the show for WWD. My ears burning, I called him just as he was having afternoon tea with CP. It cheered me up immediately speaking to them both. Dan covered the Charles and Diana wedding for CNN.
I don’t have anything to say about Catherine Middleton nor William for that matter. Their relationship seems very ‘modern’ which makes the entire event less relevant somehow. Two youngish people getting married in grand circumstances for the sake of the British people and the Commonwealth.
I will be interested to see the dress. Less interested to imagine how much this pantomime will cost the British people. Expensive no doubt.
My brushes with the Royal Family over the years have been brief but fascinating. The Queen, Princess Diana, Princess Michael etc.
Obama released his ‘long form’ birth certificate which had the effect of trumping Donald Trump‘s absurd ‘birther‘ nonsense. More importantly I felt a great deal of immediate sympathy for The President. Unusually.
Today, Miles has gone off to help Jennifer with her box delivery and Robby is running errands for his WeHo boss.
The little dog and I walked the new road and back again through searing heat.
I have devoted this week to gardening. Planting Basil and Thyme. Sweeping paths, trimming shrubs. Whenever I am in the garden the Little Dog helps out by digging random holes. Since seeing the dog with the snake bitten face I am a little more cautious about him freely exploring the garden.
The boys generate a huge amount of laundry which I tackle with aplomb.
When Miles returned yesterday from a day on the beach we grilled pork loin and sat in the garden eating our simple dinner. We discussed his burgeoning relationship and his understandable fears. Before I gave my advice I warned him that my experience of relationships is woefully inadequate. I didn’t really want to add my ha’penny worth. I tried changing the subject.
We watched The Edge which is an appalling film. Miles, a great fan of David Mamet, thinks the film ‘great’. Now, I may not know about relationships but I know about films. Tony’s performance was the only thing worth watching. Making the best of a bad job.
I went to bed thinking about Miles. I hope he understands that I know nothing special about love or sex or relationships. One just makes it up as ones goes along. Reinventing what may or may not work as opportunities present themselves.
My own relationship carnival begins the moment I step off the plane in NYC. A film crew waiting for me with my sweet D.
Who would have guessed that the process of grieving and forgiveness would take so long? I have still not forgiven myself for the death of my Darling Bog Dog.
Part of forgiving, as they say, is forgetting and I am almost sure that I cannot remember why I was so angry with JB to begin with. The more complicated the resentment the more difficult it is to hang onto.
Yesterday I mostly stayed at home. Miles and another friend came by and Ashley joined us later. I made a delicious cauliflower dish for dinner which we ate with home-made pickled beets.
I was planning on staying in all day then CNN called and sent a car and suddenly I was in the studio talking about Tyra and Dr Drew and a 15-year-old wayward girl/fame whore. I looked odd on TV without my beard.
Managed to get the driver to stop off on way home so I could do all my errands.
Miles stayed over…no…not like that.
The house is packed with lively, amusing people. I am happy here. It all makes sense. It all makes a great deal of sense. As the time approaches for me to go to London for my operation I am not without a certain amount of trepidation.
What will it feel like..down there?
What can I tell you? My head, increasingly, feels back to normal. I rarely, if ever, give JB any serious thought. I am getting to the point where I want the best for him as one might any stranger.
The war is over.
Of all days, the most miserable days to choose…I decided to finally leave the house. Without a chauffeur…I made my way to Venice to my favorite restaurant just off Main Street, the adorable Sauce. The owner made me hot chocolate, gave us a huge piece of pear…and of course we ate breakfast.
I came home and I finished the treatment. Sent it to JA.
We all walked in the torrential rain. The dogs came home covered in mud.
What CAN I say? It’s a normal day without fear, resentment or shame.
This morning I lay in bed battling the resentments. I made coffee and called the Katonah small claims court and had the forms faxed over to start my proceedings against him. Quite without knowing why I called Joan and she told me that she had heard from him and he was hurt. So, my heart melted and I threw away the forms. By doing so I kinda threw in the towel. Threw away the resentment and let him go.
I really don’t want to hurt him. I really don’t.
I sent him a short letter and that was that.
All I wanted from the very beginning was to let him go like a mouse that you find in the house. You don’t worry what happens to the mouse..you hope it survives but it’s really up to the mouse.
It’s going to take time to stop thinking about him. I’m realistic about it.
So I wrote this:
Listen. I know I have hurt you. I know that you will probably never forgive me.
I am not going to try getting the money. I want you to enjoy the friends I introduced you to and I hope that you can profit from those contacts from which you were meant to profit.
I hope you will one day understand why I couldn’t continue with our friendship. That I really loved you.
I am truly sorry for everything. For my part in this disaster.
I don’t know if I can stop writing about this on my blog. I will try.
Of course I want you to be happy, to find love. You will, as I have said a million times, make someone a wonderful husband.
The reason that I am writing this is because you told Joan how hurt you were and I hate that. In the abstract you can be hurt badly but in reality I don’t want you to suffer any more than you already are.
The fantasy and the reality of Jake.
You will be pleased to hear that during my last CNN appearance all I could see on the other side of the camera was your face.
It ruined it. I’m not doing that again.
I hope you understand better now why i decided why we can’t be friends or have contact.
You reacted so badly to my thoughtful note. I wasn’t trying to be cruel but I just don’t want half measures in my life.
So, now I have dropped a bomb on you in my blog and I don’t know how to make it right. You can find solace in the fact that you are weekly in the top ten most read blogs subjects on my page.
Remember, in the words of The Bard:
“love is not love that alters when alteration finds nor bends to the remover to remove”
This has been hard for both of us.
Let’s see if we can both forgive and forget.