Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Blogfather

"Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home..."
I suppose it was around March of 2007 when I was working in a Midtown East post-production house supervising edits of promos and googling my day away when I clicked a link and stumbled upon Joe.My.God.

I was originally looking for Michael Fierman music but what I suddenly found was this whole online discussion from men who through their blogs were discussing and meeting and caring and giving a shit and not a giving a shit and seemingly having a great time doing it all. I was hooked!

I had been searching for this community for a long time. Where were the activists? The voices of our time? Where was the whole big gay discussion going on? And here it was like a treasure chest beneath the sand.

This isn't to say that Joe.My.God is the gay blogging community. He's not, by far, and I realize that there is a vast spectrum of LGBT blogs who represent all the colors of the blah blah blah.... but he was my first! He popped my blogging one and zero and through following him I realized that the activism and conversation, the yearning and caring and need, the community gathering it was all still happening. It never disappeared and in it's own way seemed to be just beginning.

Now two years later I'm sure of that...

Last night Wayne and I went to hear Joe speak at The Center on the topic of "Queering the Blogosphere." Joe and Bradford (founder of Queerty) and Oriol from Poz and Erin Mulrooney a, Research and Planning Associate at NYC’s LGBT Center sat around and talked about how they got involved in blogging and what their experience has been like and the role gay blogging plays in today's community.

During the discussion somebody used the word "pedestrian" to make a case about facebook. Actually the person was saying that she felt Facebook was too pedestrian now that everyone feels like they have a voice or thinks they're funny or has the next best thing but it dawned on me that in the end it's that "pedestrianness" which might be the catalyst that dissolves closet doors all over this country.

We're all walking on a digital highway these days. Make no bones about it. If you're on facebook or read blogs or simply sign in you're getting a feed to everything, what everyone is doing- now. Facebook and blogs especially. Signing in is lacing up your shows and being in is walking down the sidewalk with everyone in that community. No longer does that isolated person in North Dakota not see ("on the street") a gay person. It's inevitable. Personal collisions are almost unavoidable these days, even if it is online. If you want to seek something or someone out you can and will and even if you don't want to seek something or someone out you can and will!

The chances that we collide and see one another "on the street" is becoming greater and greater and soon, if not already, we'll be able to gather in moments. At the drop of a hat. On the hit of publish. Sooner, not later, we'll be unstoppable.

The future is literally ours - we're making it right now.

In the 1980's ACT UP used phone trees to call members and friends about the where and when of their latest action. In a few day's time they would be able to assemble 500 or a 1000 people at most. Now, using the Prop 8 Protests as an example, which could be considered the first massive digitally organized protest rally in history, we know that with the right push we can organize 10's of thousands of people in a few days if not a few hours.

It was the afternoon of Saturday Nov. 8th when Corey Johnson alerted me to the Facebook Event Page for the NYC Prop 8 rally. When I clicked "attending" the numbers were still in the double digits. Then the bloggers got the word out and by the time I went to bed that night there were 300 people attending. The next day the facebook status updates began - by Wednesday night we had 12,000 people (young, older, male, female, black, white, Asian, Latin, straight) marching from Lincoln Square to Columbus Circle.

Think about the iPod for a moment. It began as a hunky, clunky heavy iPod and went to an all encompassing, everything in your hand iPhone in what - Six? Seven years? Now apply that rate of growth, that speed in technology, that change of culture to blogging, social network sites and what this means for the gay community. It's only now that we seem to be uncovering the hugeness of what this all is.

The playing field has completely changed. We're limitless and it's only just the beginning. We're here and we're in numbers and we're not going to be silenced nor ask for your permission any longer.

And by the way, there's a rally this Sunday.


David said...

Of course, the flip side is that our opponents also have the same access. Thankfully their demographic generally skews much older and is generally less tech-savvy. Generally.

So while we can pat ourselves on the back for accessing this technology, we don't have a monopoly on it. So let's rock it but not assume it can't be used against us.

Aegletes said...

It's thanks to Joe's blog, and many others, that I'm informed of things that impact our community much faster than most people I know. Living out here in the Jersey 'burbs, it's easy to feel isolated and disconnected from the larger community. Blogs like these have helped me to get more engaged.

Boomer said...

Joe's blog got me hooked like crack on his and many other blogs. It is a community that I wasn't looking for but am definitely glad that I found.

As for Facebook being too pedestrian...This is the same attitude that "the cool kids" have always had when the "gen pop" discovers the "great new thing." just like the amazing new band you found playing in a dive club automatically becomes a "sell-out" when they start to become successful and discovered by others.

Jim said...

We are glad that there are bloggers like you and Joe out there to take the time and keeping the LGBT community...and everyone else really...informed and entertained. Where else would we get any information from other than the internet? Not from any mainstream media, that's for sure. Your contribution is much more appreciated than you will ever know. Keep up the good work and thank you for helping giving us a voice.

ewe said...

I like your optimism. It is very energetic. I do not necessarily agree identify with all of it anymore and find myself less interested in fighting the world than just being comfortable in it with myself and those i encounter. It sounds like that is the "end all be all result" you seem to be seeking for everyone as well. Kudos for technology. I do hope people attend AIDS WALK NY before the rally.

Joey7777 said...

It's just a new form of communication, just like the telephone used to be. The other side uses it too. Sen. Ruben Diaz is using it to get as many participants as possible for his anti-gay-marriage rally on Sunday in Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Joe Jervis' blog was a lot better when it was just a sex blog like it was for the first few years, and it was not political at all.

Now it's jumped the shark billions of times with copy/paste news articles from Huff Po and youtube videos. He also focuses way too much on white gay men from NYC only when he should be focusing on everyone that's LGBT and not just people from NYC.

If I want an excellent LGBT blog I'm going to go elsewhere and not to JoeMyGod with it's annoying and trollish commentators, posts where Jervis masturbates over Dan Savage, and the rampant racism, biphobia, and transphobia of the posters at JMG is childish and annoying from people who are supposely in the LGBT community.

There are trolls, or one main one who post on Jervis' blog who go as far as stalking other members, being higly biphobic, and transphobic, and misogynistic but Jervis refuses to ban him despite this when if he pulled that stuff on any other blog or site he'd be warned and then banned.