Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Carlos and I had a most interesting discussion over dinner last night [sidenote: dinner was blackened pork chops over lime infused rice with black beans, peppers, onions and tomatoes in a mole sauce....que delicioso].

We were talking about Adam Lambert's AMA performance and all the uproar over it. The discussion of him pulling the guy's face into his crotch....his fondling a female dancer....his big old tongue groping kiss on the guy in the band. All of it; and how people were calling it pornographic.

So, what is pornography, and who gets to be the judge. I mean, the Carrie Prejean tapes are called pornography, but Lambert kept his clothes on and, with the exception of maybe a few hundred Innocent teen boys and girls caught unawares about that tingling...down there....no one got off. So, which is pornography?

Is a photograph of a nude woman pornographic? What if she's lying there spread eagle? How about if her hands, or as Joe,My.God. calls them, her Ladyfingers are visiting her nether region? Which one is pornographic? Not into nude women? Yeah, I get what you're saying. Same thing applies to nude men. Pretty pose? Spread eagle showing the goods? A little bit of chicken choking? Who's to say what's pornographic.

So, then Carlos wanted to talk obscenity, and I noted that the same rules apply. Everyone has a differing view as to what is obscene. I don't find nudity obscene. I don't find pictures of men and women, in any combination, performing sex acts, particularly obscene. That doesn't mean I want to see them on my TV or computer, but, you know, to each his own. For me, war is obscene; violence is pornographic. Murder is immoral.

And yet we see that every night of the week from old Sopranos reruns to any number of CSI or NCIS or Law & Order type shows. And no one raises a fuss. so, why all the hubbub about Adam Lambert's performance?

He's a man, that's why. Oh, and his being openly gay probably added fuel to the fire. See, if it was two women kissing [or three, Madonna, Britney and Christina, I'm talking to you] there would have been little or no uproar. Straight women are not particularly bothered by two women kissing; lord knows the Lesbians don't have a problem with it. Gay men, too, don't care. Madonna's various same-sex liplocks never raised a, um, flag, if you will, in me. And straight men, well, they get downright erect at the thought of girl-on-girl action.

No, it's because Lambert's a guy and gay. It was in-your-face-gay-man-kissing, and it made some crazy. Not straight women, I say; they probably didn't care, unless you count the perpetually uptight types a la Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Gay women weren't bothered either, because it isn't their cup of tea. Gay men, well, we thought Cool. No, it was the straight guys, because they're too macho to admit there's nothing wrong with mano'a'mano spit swapping. See, the straight guys think that if they didn't bitch and moan, we might think they like it and they can't have that.

So, it's mostly straight men who got their boxer briefs in a snit over Adam Lambert's overt sexual, and some say pitchy, performance. And, since it is straight men, for the most part, who control the media and the news in this country, that's why there was such a fuss.

Was it pornographic? Not in my house. Obscene? Nope. Immoral? Hardly. But then, I'm a gay guy, and, to me, who you love, who you kiss, who dives into your crotch, is entirely your business.


Lou said...

"Was it pornographic? Not in my house. Obscene? Nope. Immoral? Hardly." Same in my house Bob.

I did think the whole performance was overly choreographed but I'd probably do that too when I was reasonably new to the big time.

John said...

I love this post and hope lots of people read it. i couldn't agree more! To me it was somewhat erotic, just like Madonna's Erotic & Justify My Love videos. Obscene, pornographic, immoral...puh-leeze. I bet the Europeans and most of the world are laughing at any of the hoopla...over 1500 angry calls to ABC blah blah blah!

What pisses me off is the comments on blogs and even some blog posts of harsh criticism of Adam Lambert's performance--as if he is "too gay." To these Debbie Downers I say support your community for God's sakes and embrace diversity!

Michael Rivers said...

I didn't think his performance was pornographic. Please--we see far worse every night on TV (as you pointed out).

But, that said, I thought his performance was bad. The whole thing was forced and had a "now I am going to really shock you" feel. It wasn't good.

He's an amazing singer and performer. I can't wait to get his CD!!

Larry Ohio said...

I guess I'm out of the loop on this one. Who is saying this is pornographic/obscene?

Yes it was a bad song and a poor performance, but it was by no means pornographic or obscene.

Dan said...

I thought he sounded bad, but I loved what he did and the in your face way he went about it. With all the issues he has been having with Out magazine last week, I loved it even more. He is in controll of his own career and how he is perceived and no one else.

Nothing dirty about what he did, he kept his clothes on, no nipples, no cock. Were as on the Bears game someone pulled down Devon Hesters pants and he mooned the world. Was that obscene?

frogponder said...

My take - as always I view these incidents as 'how to I bring some attention to my work?' Elvis did it by swiveling his hips. Marilyn Monroe stood over an air grate and there went her skirt. We've progressed to Adam's crotch mashing and Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. We can only wonder what the next singer will have to do to generate buzz?
So kind of an anthropological view so to speak. Hopefully there will be talent to lean on when the artist grows older. I don't think anyone wants to see Mick Jagger do anything that over the top at his age. I could be wrong but public sexual posturing should be left to the young and the cute (at least this heterosexual woman thinks so...)

Paul Benjamin said...

The real crime in Adam Lambert's performance was the terrible singing!

That is what everyone should be up in arms about!

Hey Adam, let's focus on hitting the notes before planning a 'shock-worthy' stunt!

frogponder said...


>>>The people who didn't like Adam Lambert's "American Music Awards" performance won't have to worry about a repeat performance on "Good Morning America" -- cause that gig is canceled.

Leading a guy around on a leash and kissing another was apparently too much for ABC. A rep for the show told TV Newser, "Given his controversial live performance on the AMAs we were concerned about airing a similar concert so early in the morning."<<<

ZANDRA said...

We watch award shows to be entertained and intrigued, and Adam Lambert is a born performer and drama queen, to him I say 'YOU GO DIVA!'

Love you Bob!



Kyle said...

Bob, it would appear we are aligned once again.(Like that is a surprise.)

Pornographic? No. If someone wants to see porno I have a hard drive devoted to it. That performance is not on it.

Obscene? No again. Allowing 10,000 kids of the world to die each day, from starvation, is obscene in my book and no one seems to care about that very much.

Immoral? Not by my standards, but you'd have to ask everyone in the world since morality is highly subjective.

Mark in DE said...

Yep, its definitely a double-standard. It makes no sense, but it is what it is.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't pornographic. Homoerotic, yes but pornographic it was not.

That said, I note you touched on obscenity. Having touched on this doing radio I recall the FCC rules on this.

If it goes over the air the FCC has regulatory domain over it. That said, they let more and more slip by without issue every year.

But when they do go after someone they apply the concept of community standards for obscenity. The problem is, a national broadcast community is the entire U.S. and it's possessions. Good luck getting a consistent opinion there.

That's how the FCC sidesteps the debate and just asserts its own censorship.

I advocate for a redefinition of the FCC from a content manager to a bandwidth manager role.

Stephen said...

You are correct. 2 women kissing seems Ok to most women & straight men love it, but 2 guys kissing seems repulsive to most everyone except gay men. I, of course, love to see men kissing... it is much more erotic than full on sex ( I love kissing the most). The performance was forced & shrill. He has amazing talent, but he will need to relax into it. Over the top is fun, overwrouhgt is not.

Beth said...

I'm so with you on this, Bob. I didn't see the performance, although I probably need to find the video.

I'm constantly amazed at the prudishness I see about sexuality, at least here in our country. It's okay to have kids playing extremely violent video games, but people get pissed off by a little nudity? I find it terribly repressed, and I just don't think that's healthy. But then I'm a lover, not a fighter. :)