Have the black men you know become even more macho in order to refute accusations of being on the down-low?
Yes. Well, to be honest, no. This is how I'm looking at it: If someone suspects them of being gay but can't prove it, there's nothing you got on 'em. Like Terry McMillan, the one who wrote Waiting to Exhale, she got a new bestseller and everything. Her husband just came out of the closet in the media. All these years he's been gay.
It sounds sick, but I've heard females say, "I'd rather my man cheat with a male than a female." If I found out my man was gay, I wouldn't break up with him, 'cause I get along with a lot of gay guys. I mean, I would go get tested for HIV and AIDS, but if I was already in love with him, I wouldn't break up with him. I would talk real bad to him, I would let him have it, but I wouldn't stop being his friend and leave him. But I'd be on his heels 24/7. If he did it again, then it's over if it's just horniness.
But I believe it's biological. People don't just turn like that. I have a cousin who's gay, and it wasn't a big deal when it came out. We always knew it. My mama always said, "He got a juicy screw in him." I guess that's code for being gay.
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Hell No, We Won't Go!
Dan Goldenbaum and six friends were trying to relive their teen years by visiting the Edge of Hell. As they were standing in line to get into the West Bottoms haunted house, Goldenbaum tells us, "an exuberant teenage white girl" skipped up to offer them coupons for $2 off the admission at a place called Nightmare at 36th and Main. They thought they'd save time and money while supporting a fun haunted house in midtown.
Instead they got an evangelical trip to hell. Goldenbaum and his friends, all twentysomething professionals, were treated to scenes of a bloody abortion, a gang shooting in an urban alley, and a car crash involving drunken teenagers. In the finale, scary clowns led them to a room in which a gasping Christ died on the cross surrounded by images of the security tapes from Columbine High School and BTK killer Dennis Rader's mug shot.
This Nightmare was the creation of Solomon's Porch, a nearby church. In its last room, Goldenbaum and his friends encountered Solomon's Porch pastor, Troy Covey, who told everyone in a videotaped message that the place was so scary because its scenes had been taken from real life. He encouraged his audience to talk with the spiritual volunteers who waited outside.
OK, so churchy haunted houses are nothing new. What was weird about this one was that the perky girl committed a little sin of omission (dare we say she lied?) when handing out coupons for Nightmare.
"We felt manipulated," Goldenbaum says.
Suspicious that he might be a bit overdramatic about his victimization by evangelical teens, we checked out the Web site, www.kcnightmare.com. It made no mention of a church.
The site had a forum, so we posted a question: "Why won't you guys tell your customers up front that this is an evangelical Hell House?"
The post got a response from a user called "Troycovey." (We assume it was the pastor himself, though we know we can't be sure about anything on the Internet.) "Why didn't McDonalds or even the FDA tell you that Mc Donalds products are a primary source of health risks in America ... Why are companies getting away with it and why does the public let them get away with it? Because everyone knows they are under the influence of marketing! It's America! It's simple so follow along closely. We believe we can address social problems and entertain people at the same time ... So what you were exposed to a little evangelical influence!"
Well, we hadn't personally been exposed to a little evangelical influence. So we paid our $10 and found that all was as Goldenbaum had described (except that one of the young "thugs" in the gang shootout asked us for our phone number! We're right here, baby, 17th and Main).
At the exit, we met a volunteer. He said that, though it might be sneaky to lure people away from the West Bottoms' houses, God injects himself into people's lives at unexpected times.
After we extracted ourselves from a prayer service, another volunteer called after us. "We have a bag of treats for you!"
Apparently we'd learned nothing from the last two hours, because we expected M&M's. He handed us sacks containing a New Testament, information about the International House of Prayer, and a CD titled 23 Minutes in Hell.
Well, trick or fucking treat.
Inherit the Windbag
Pitch readers may recall how a TV weathercaster in Idaho recently advanced one of the more peculiar conspiracy theories about Hurricane Katrina. Scott Stevens said he believed the Japanese mafia, using technology developed by the former Soviet Union, stirred up the storm in order to avenge the bombing of Hiroshima.
"There's a chess game going on in the sky," Stevens told the Idaho Falls Post Register in September.
Stevens came upon the idea of weaponized weather while struggling to make accurate forecasts. "I was left trying to forecast the intent of some organization rather than the weather of this planet," he told the newspaper.
Katrina's path of destruction reinforced Stevens' belief in a Soviet-designed electromagnetic generator capable of unleashing a catastrophe. "The center of the storm passing over the National Hurricane Center, that was a clear calling card," he said. "It's saying, 'You idiots! Look what we can do.'"
After making that outlandish claim, Stevens enjoyed a few minutes of fame Bill O'Reilly interviewed him on Fox News, and USA Today picked up an Associated Press story about him that included a quote from a hurricane expert who called his theory "laughable."
Stevens no longer appears on TV in Pocatello. (Alas, we're still waiting for him to return our call.) Stevens and the station manager both described his departure as voluntary.
Where did Stevens get his education? Naturally, in the science-appreciating state of Kansas. He attended the University of Kansas from 1984 to '88.