Whataya Want from Adam Lambert?
With my publishers duking it out — publicly — about the value of Adam Lambert, I figured I’d offer you some perspective on what’s going on.
It all started with a preview of the Miami Beach Gay Pride. We mentioned Lambert: “Other headliners (and head turners) include Adam Lambert, Crystal Waters and Lady Bunny.” So we put him on our cover — as far as covers go, he made it work.
The cover read: “Adam Lambert headlines Miami Beach Pride, and everything else you need to know.”
And then my Associate Publisher Jason Parsley got an interview with Lambert, wherein the star mentioned that he had just split up with his boyfriend. It was a well-timed interview, and it blew up, crashing our site incessantly. Days later, Parsley released the full interview. Again, it blew up.
Lots of emails. Lots of phone calls.
This is around the time my Publisher Norm Kent wrote that Lambert didn’t deserve the award, and GLAAD shouldn’t have given it — these two points led to a lot of anger. The site crashed even more times. There’s a certain bittersweet-ness to seeing your publication die from popularity. Quickly, Parsley wrote a rebuttal to Kent’s piece, starting a dialogue of hundreds of comments across the web, fans and opponents battling it out.
Lots of emails. Lots of phone calls.
But when GLAAD announced it would reward Lambert in March, we aggregated the story from Gay Star News. There were no horns or marches, protests or editorials. Not until Lambert crashed our site — I didn’t even know who he was. But now I do.
To clarify, this piece you’re reading now is the first word from the editorial team at SFGN. The publishers aren’t editors or reporters, they’re publishers.
Email me if you want a further explanation of what that means, but for now:
Occasionally, they write stories. Both Kent and Parsley are fully entitled to their opinions, and are also open to the opinion of others.
Kent raised an important issue, in my opinion, but he may have targeted it at the wrong person. Should people idolize pop stars on social issues? Maybe not.
Maybe people should read more books and newspapers, talk more with their local officials and protest publicly more. Maybe screenwriters should get the credit for creating characters on film for which actors get all the credit. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
But these are all very big questions. I’m sure Lambert would agree that LGBT advocacy isn’t his specialty. And I’m sure the head of an LGBT advocacy group would agree that Lambert advocates for LGBT rights very succinctly, and makes the world better for it.
Advocacy is a multi-colored beast. The mere fact that Lambert is openly gay advocates for equality. His popularity confirms it. For many people, he’s exactly what the doctor ordered. For others, he’s not enough because he hasn’t penned any bills into law. Adam Lambert supplies different things to different people. So the question is: Whataya want from Adam Lambert?
The movement doesn’t start and end with pop music. That’s just one significant cultural trait whose inner-workings show progress. I’m currently getting through Richard Evans’s “The Third Reich in Power,” the second in a trilogy detailing the rise and fall of Hitler’s regime. There’s a chapter about culture, and in it a whole section dedicated to music.
When some Evans in the (hopefully near) future writes a historical account of the road to LGBT equality, you can bet there’ll be a section on culture, and you can bet that Lambert’s name will be in there somewhere.
So read our publishers’ words as you will, but remember they’re opinions and can fall prey to the personality of their authors.
SFGN will continue to bring you solid journalism, and maybe some more break-up stories, regardless of the opinions of our publishers.
Have questions for me or concerns about this or something else? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @ggrudo.