Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Tale of Two Divers

It was the best of Olympics; it was the worst of Olympics. NBC was the network of wisdom; NBC was the network of foolishness. It was a week of belief; it was a week of incredulity. It was the mid-season of light; it was the mid-season of darkness. It was the convention of Hope; it will be the convention of Despair. We were shown everything; we were shown nothing. We were all going direct to Washington; we were all going direct the other way (China). In short, August 2008 was so far like a Dickens novel that some of it's drunkest authorities insisted that it be received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Strong piece of writing that. I loved Charlie Dickens. Dickens could put the dick in me anytime, and did. And before you say, "Oh Tallulah, you couldn't have had an affair with Charles Dickens. He was a Victorian. They hated sex." let me remind you that Charlie had 10 children by a woman he couldn't stand, and then had a passionate affair with an actress who was younger than him. Who do you suppose that was? Say what you will about me, I am slightly younger than Charles Dickens.

Where was I? Oh yes, China. I haven't posted much this month as I was in China on my honeymoon with Joshua Allen. When you're 111, and you're on your honeymoon with a virile 19 year old man, you have better things to do than flog, or floss for that matter!

But I was flattered to be asked to do some Olympic judging while I was in Beijing. It's not often anyone trusts my judgement. However, when it comes to judging hot young men, well darlings, I wrote the book. (My Lush Life)

My primary judging assignment was men's gymnastics, specifically, the Men's Synchronized Rhythmic Prancing About With Streamers event. But I also judged Best Versatile Gymnast. I judged them as tops, and gay porn legend Arpad Miklos judged them as bottoms. Here I am checking out the form of American gymnast Alexander Artemev, riding the Hung-Like-a-Pommel Horse.

By the way, didn't you miss listening to John Tesh at these Olympics? At the last Olympics, he incessantly referred to the pommel horse as "The Pee-Horse," and worse, the parallel bars as "Pee-Bars." Apparently he thought he was announcing water sports. I have one hard and fast rule (I mean besides, "If you're hard, I'll be fast."), when going to a Pee Bar, I
always wear yellow.

Now here I'm judging overwhelmingly gorgeous French medal-winning gymnast Benoît Caranobe. Nothing is more exotic and erotic to me than a man whose name requires an accent mark I don't know the name of or need for. That's hot, or in the words of Paris Hilton: "Huh?"

Sometimes the gratuitous uniforms the athletes wear make judging their form difficult. Fortunately, Benoît had no compunctions about trying to escape from my room by scrambling up a rope like a rat up a rhododendron, while stark, staring naked. (He was stark, and I was staring.) I gave him a perfect 10, and he returned the favor, and then added two more for - well, "Luck" is three-quarters of the right word.

China is on the opposite side of the earth, where everyone walks around upside down. (I have flipped all these pictures over, so that they appear right side up to you. Don't be disoriented. Actually, having just returned from China, I am "dis-oriented." Or is the PC term now "Dis-Asiated"?) Australia is also upside down, and backwards as well. (And, like the island on LOST, China and Australia both exist one day in the future. It's wacky!) You see, in Australia, they have winter in the summer, and summer during the winter. Consequently, the Australian bobsledding team showed up in Beijing, expecting to compete. Since I have years of experience bobbing on good sports, and I love to be luged on, I was tapped to judge.

I love Australia, so I spent some future time in Sydney, visiting my dear old friend, Dame Edna Everage. Here's a picture I took of the world-famous Sydney Opera House. Isn't that a gorgeous, awe-inspiring sight?

Here's a shot my future ex-husband Joshua snapped of me in Sydney, shortly before Sydney was in me. I asked Joshua if it was for a souvenir, and he said, "Sort of. I'll call it 'Exhibit A' when we get to court." Oh well, my marriages have all tended to be short and sweat.

But in Australia I heard an Olympic tale you only heard part of on NBC. It's my tale of two divers.

No. not that diver. He's Canadian Olympic diver Alexander Despatie. He has nothing to do with my story, but he's so gorgeous, I couldn't resist showing a picture of him. No, my story is about these two men, Greg Louganis and Matthew Mitcham.

Once upon the best of times, it was the worst of times. In fact, it was 1988. In America, Ronald Reagan was in his last few months as president, and while that sounds good now, it actually meant that George Herbert Walker Bush was about to be an even worse president. (No easy accomplishment.) This year we have Hope; that year, we had Hype.

And in Asia, Korea to be exact (Which to my amazement, is not in the Malibu hills, like it was in M*A*S*H. Don't tell little Kent Levine. He thinks he was in Korea when he was writing M*A*S*H. Actually, he was in Century City.), they had an Olympics. And at this Olympics, there was a magnificent diver named Greg Louganis, who also was ridiculously beautiful.

It was Greg's third Olympics. Eight years before, when he was still just a teenager, he'd been on the American Olympic diving team, and won a silver medal. Still in high school, he had competed against the best divers in the world, and won a silver medal over all of them, while still too young to vote, drink, or have legal sex with an elderly movie star. So naturally, he came home feeling he was ...

...a LOSER! In the sick competitive mindset of sports, Second Place is Last Place. He had made an stunning achievement, so of course he told himself he had failed. Silver wasn't good enough. (Tell that to Phil Silvers, Greggie!)

So in Los Angeles in 1984, Greg achieved perfection, and won both of the men's diving gold medals. Every gay man in the world fell hopelessly in love with him. Except it wasn't as hopeless as they thought. Because Greg had a secret. He was a big old (well, actually, he was fairly young.) homo! But as an Olympic athlete in the 20th Century, he didn't dare come out. He'd read The Front Runner. He knew what happened to out gay Olympic athletes; they got shot on the finish line.

So in 1988, Greg went to the Olympics again, his goal this time to sweep the Olympic diving gold medals a second time! Could he do it?

And then a terrible thing happened during the springboard competition. Greg screwed up a dive, and hit the top of his head on the board, HARD! He ripped his head open and emerged from the pool bleeding.

Could he possibly still win that gold medal with his head freshly stitched up, barely holding his brain in? Yes! He could, and he did! He was amazing.

Between the springboard competition and the 10 meter platform competition, Greg returned to Los Angeles, to tape an appearance on a TV show called Evening at The Improv. As it happened, Little Dougie, who was besotted with adoration of Little Greggie, was at The Improv that night, for an Improv class he was taking there. He met Greg that night, and got his autograph on a photo, and somehow restrained himself from just offering Greg a blowjob on the spot. (It took every bit of self-control Dougie had, which isn't much, believe you me.)

At one point in the evening, Dougie looked out of an upstairs window when Greg Louganis was standing directly below him, and saw from above the terrible wound on Greg's cranium, a shaved rectangle with still-fresh stitches, like a sexy Frankenstein monster. The sight of it made Dougie weep. Dougie wanted to kiss it and make it better, or even lick it if that was what it took, or even if it wasn't.

And then Greg flew back to Korea. Could he do it? Could he sweep the diving gold medals twice, while wounded and jet-lagged? There was an obnoxious (By which I mean maddeningly polite) little teenaged Chinese diving prodigy there who was diving with uncanny perfection. On that final night of diving, Little Dougie, atheist though he be, was sticking a voodoo doll of the little Chinese boy full of poison-tipped pins to make him fail, so Greg could have his victory, but nothing worked. The kid was diving with heart-breaking perfection. No one could be more perfect than he. Language sticklers will note that "Perfection" is an absolute. It is impossible to be "More perfect".

Unless your name was Greg Louganis. At that last, last dive, with everything riding on it, the little Chinese boy already tasting the gold (Unsanitary!), Greg got up and did MAGIC! He was beyond perfection! 10s hardly seemed good enough. If Nigel Tufnel had been judging, he'd have gotten 11s. Instead, he won the gold, he swept the diving gold two Olympics in a row. He was a living refutation to the myth of heterosexual athletic superiority. And further, he had done it while suffering from AIDS! Almost no one on earth besides Greg and his doctors knew then that the blood he'd bled into that pool was swimming with AIDS. (HIV can not survive contact with chlorine. No other divers were endangered by his blood in the pool, but had they known, fear would have trumped knowledge, and he would have been a pariah.)

After those Olympics, Greg was an international hero, a celebrity, and also renowned for his incredible beauty, as more than one photographer noticed.

But he carried his secret still. He gave interviews in which he said idiotic stuff like, "I would never say if I was gay or straight. It's no one's business." which is, let's face it, a dead giveaway, because no straight man on earth has ever said that! Only closeted gay men ever make that dopey remark.

Meanwhile, Greg was taken advantage of by a "Lover," a louse who stole from him, abused him, cheated on him, lived off him, and even raped him. I'd name the bastard, but there's no need to sully this column with that shithole's name. He paid the full penalty. He died of AIDS, while Greg has survived into the era when the medications were found to save the lives of him and so many others.

And the day finally came when Greg found the courage to be the hero he'd been called for years, to realize that his achievement was his forever; that no bigot could take it from him, and that what he could do now was to inspire other frightened young people, and show that he was the living proof of the lie of heterosexual superiority. So Greg wrote a wonderful book, Breaking the Surface, and came out, for once making a big splash, instead of vanishing into the water with barely a ripple, as was his custom. Some people come out to their friends or family in private; Greg came out on Oprah. He showed the world that a gay man, a gay man with AIDS no less, had still been the diver that no one, literally no man on earth, could surpass! Dougie was only one of the thousands of gay men who stood in lines to shake his hand, get his book (And also Dougie's copy of Greg's Playgirl nude centerfold) signed, and thank him with tears in Dougie's normally cynical eyes.

I know that this picture looks like Greg living every gay man's dream, feeling up Mario Lopez's abs (Well someone has to!), but actually, Greg is coaching Mario here on diving form for when Mario played Greg in the TV movie of his life. Talk about full-circle; now a straight man was pretending to be gay to emulate Greg!

This lovely young man isn't reaching for the skies because he's being mugged. That's Australian diver Matthew Mitcham celebrating winning the gold medal for 10-meter platform diving in Beijing.

Matthew didn't see Greg's win in Korea, because he was only 7 months old when it happened. But Matthew more than anyone else, is living Greg's legacy. No one deserved to win one of Greg's medals more.

Because Matthew Mitcham is gay also. But he was able, thanks to Greg's pioneering trek 20 years before, to be an out and proud gay Olympic diver! We have still a long way to go. This year, Matthew was the only openly gay male athlete at the Beijing Olympics. The other 10 out Olympians there (out of 11,028 athletes. Statistics tell us that there were around 1,100 closet cases.) were all lesbians.

When Matthew announced on Australian TV that he didn't have the money to bring his male lover, Lachlan Fletcher, with him to the games, Johnson & Johnson's Athlete Family Support Program gave him a grant to pay for Lachlan's trip. Bless Johnson & Johnson. (Wait a minute. "Johnson and Johnson"? No wonder. "Johnson and Johnson" is the very definition of gay male sex!) Buy their band-aids. Cut yourself daily. Shave recklessly, so you'll use more of them.

Matthew's last round was a nail biter. The Chinese (Possibly nice people, but let's face it, commies!) had won every diving gold medal in Beijing up to that point, and their completed sweep was expected as surely as Michael Phelps's future Wheaties box and trip to Disneyland. Matthew had trotted out most of his favorite, special dives, such as these:

But Zhou Luxin (Place that across a triple word square, and that name will win the Scrabble gold medal!) was in first place, 34 points ahead of Matthew. Matt's medal dreams seemed destined for The Bronze Age. But the gods of Louganis smiled that night. Of course, if they'd had my POV, they would have had to smile!

Luxin fouled up his last dive, and then Matthew came out and did magic, practically tying himself up like a pretzel in mid-air, like flying oragami, and doing it with such beauty, grace, and perfection, that he scored four 10s, for a total score of 112.1, the highest single-dive score in Olympic history! He stopped the Chinese sweep dead in the water, and won the gold for Australia! He cried. His lover cried. Little Dougie came.

Great story, isn't it? (Except for the last three words.) Over the course of The Olympics we heard many such stories. We saw every gold medalist's family members (I saw so much of Michael Phelps's mother, I'd know her on the streets, were I walking them again.), their wives, husbands, lovers, pets, agents, hunchbacked assistants, and even endured photos of their mewling hellspawn, I mean adorable babies. (When a hot gymnast wins a medal, the last thing I want to see is a picture of his child by some other woman! And that goes for a certain American gold medal triathelete too. You're just 30 years away from being Bruce Jenner on that aweful Khardashian show, my friend.) NBC told us some of those stories a billion times over, as I complained about in my previous posting, The China Thunderdrome.

But, although NBC let us see Mitcham's win, not one word of his story was told to America. Nothing about his being openly gay, nothng about Johnson & Johnson paying for his boy friend to accompany him just as they did for the spouses and squeezes of the straight athletes. Not one single shot of Lachlan in the stands watching, let alone hugging his lover in triumph. Nothing. Nothing at all. Maybe his was not the super achievement of Michael Phelps (Who, come to think of it, seems to be dating his Mom. Where's his girl friend? Cloud Cuckooland?), but Matt had a great moment, and is a fine young, mildly effeminate man of exceptional courage following in Greg Lougains's trail. And his tale is a damn sight more interesting than a lot of the boring blather and endlessly repeated cliches we were told ad nauseum.


Now, to be fair (I hate being fair! What am I? The Fox News Channel? No. Because I'm fair and unbalanced.), NBC has since apologized for the "Unintentional" snub. "Unintentional" my latest liver. Even the Headless Indian Brave could see that it was a homophobic decision on NBC's part, and he doesn't even have eyes! They had all the info there, right along with the info they had on EVERY SINGLE ONE of the other 11,000 athletes! They CHOSE to ignore it. And then they apolgized in a magazine article statement. Not exactly reaching the mega-gigantic audience that was watching the meet on TV. That's like apologizing on Big Brother. No one sees it.

But Matthew has forgiven them, as we see here, as he apparently audtions for a Melbourne production of Jesus Christ, Superstar. Whether I ever forgive them is another matter altogether.

But Matthew's win, and his courage, and the shining, inspiring, heroic example he has set can never be taken from him. He is truely worthy of splashing in Greg Louganis's wake. It is a far, far better thing he's done than he has ever done before, and it is a far far better glory he has earned, than he ever earned before.

(Nice ring to that. You know Charlie's first draft of A Tale of Two Cities began "It was a good time; it was a bad time." and ended with "The thing I'm gonna do now is a whole lot better than all the stuff I've done previously.")

Before I head off to the wet bar, a word about John McCain's hilarious Vice Presidential pick. Two days ago, nobody but the 327 idiots who live in Alaska, I assume because they're wanted for crimes back in civilization, had ever heard of Sarah Palin. Now she's "Shattering the glass ceiling," although if you shatter a glass ceiling, you run the very high risk of being cut to ribbons by the rain of razor-sharp shards. Why, she's the first woman ever to be a major party's candidate for --- oh wait a minute. Geraldine Ferarro. Ah, but Sarah is the first wildly-unqualified female to be a major party's VP candidate. She's an inspiration for dunderheads and idiots everywhere.

I mean honestly; she admitted on TV a very short time ago that she has no idea what the Vice President even does! Sweet Bleeding Greg Louganis, even dopey Dan Quayle, a moron of the first-quality, knew better than to publically admit he didn't know what the job entailed! What a chowder brain. Sarah, I knew Dan Quayle (Though only Biblically), and you're no Dan Quayle. (Wait. That sounds like a compliment.)

John McCain, the man who thinks Iraq and Afghanistan share a border (It's a border so wide, they gave it its own name: Iran.), has been taking shots at Barry O'Bama (soon to be our first Black-Irish President), as being unqualified, and then he picks a person next to whom O'Bama's politcal career is longer than the late Strom Thurmond's? She's Governor of Alaska, for Dicken's sake! Is that even an elected position, or is it something that is passed around the citzenry in turns, like jury duty? Isn't that like being a park ranger, only with less responsibility? She'll be a big help with the igloo-mortgage crisis, and negotiating treaties with Inuits. She'll be calling for blubber to be an alternate source of fuel.

I'd prefer Michael Palin, and he's not even an American! The Republicans are obviously banking on her (Does she even use our currancy, or does she still trade with wampum?) to pull in disgruntled Hilary supporters. Yes, people who supported Hilary so vehemenetly that they're still pissed she lost will naturally ignore their leader's having made it abundantly clear that she is throwing the full weight of her support behind O'Bama, and instead rush to vote for a woman who is idealogically Hilary's opposite, the enemy of all Hilary stands for. Why do the Republicans think Hilary supporters wanted Hilary in the first place? (This is obviously an extremely mysterious concept for Republicans, who don't understand why everyone doesn't loathe her the way they do.) Do they think it's all about her vagina? Because clearly Hilary's vagina doesn't even do that much for Bill, and vaginas have no bigger fan than Bill Clinton. (Well, maybe bigger, God knows he's overcompensating for something, but none more enthusiastic.) And a womb is pretty much all that Sarah and Hilary have in common, if that.

They say that "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." Did McCain get confused, and bring home the wrong Sarah? He looks like the kind of man who comes home from the store, only to have his wife say, "I wanted tulip bulbs, not light bulbs, you clothead!" The man doesn't even know how many houses he (his rich wife) owns.

McCain has been accusing O'Bama of being an "Elitist," out of touch with the common man. First off, what's wrong with wanting the best and the brightest for president? Isn't the president supposed to be smarter than everyone else? Who wants Joe Schmuck, who's never read a book for pleasure, running the country? (There's one big difference between McCain and O'Bama: O'Bama actually wrote his own books. McCain's books were written for him. There's some doubt he's even read them.)

But also, how many "common people" don't know how many houses they own? Ask any normal person on the street how many houses they own, and they won't even have to stop and think before they answer: "None! I did own one, but that was before 8 years of President Bush destroyed the housing market. Why do you think I'm on the street? I live in my car. It's like a house, because with the cost of gas what it is after 8 years of letting a couple of oil men run things, I can't afford a tank of gas either." And common people have to work for what little money they have, rather than simply marrying a rich woman, who inherited her money. That's how Republicans define "working for money." Waiting for a rich daddy to die and leave them a fortune is hard work. Just ask Dubya. He's still waiting for his obscenely wealthy daddy to die. (As are we all.) Which reminds me, McCain's economic plan boils down to "A tax cut for my wife."

McCain may like Sarah Palin, he may love his hot, rich wife, and perhaps even for more than just her father's money, but don't forget who his real True Love is:

Cheers darlings.

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