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Some People Would Consider This Gay Stereotype Insulting. He Shuts That Down Right Quick.

Meet John DeVore. His written piece here is more than an awesomely defiant love letter to a great American art form — it's a radical testament to individuality, love, and truth ... with bonus lightbulb moments about violence in the media, useless gay stereotypes, and singing Batman.Forgive the guy his deliciously strong language — he's having some strong emotions — and take six minutes of reading to see what I mean.*

"You Hate Musicals Because You Are Dead Inside" by John DeVore:

I love musicals.

Oh, you hate musicals? Really? I’ll get to you and your opinion in a second.


First, I’m making a public confession: I am a white, heterosexual man who loves musicals. I don’t give a shit who knows. You are not your demographic. The people who make up focus groups are demented human beings.

I eat bacon cheeseburgers. I love pranks. I watch professional wrestling. Well, maybe that last one doesn’t prove anything. Pro wrestling is just Redneck Broadway.

But my point is this: “Defying Gravity” is a legit good song. Do I only listen to musicals? No. I’m not a monster. But I’m not here to defend my Dave Matthews and Electric Light Orchestra Pandora channels.

I know musicals can be cheesy. Some can be boring. There are plenty of awful musicals, too.

But any excellent example of anything is excellent. You have to understand that musicals are, mostly, an irony-free artform. There is no way to be ironic, or even cool, when singing a power ballad in the car or a torch song during a booze-soaked karaoke party.

Now, you. You with your opinion. Fuck your opinion.

I will argue with you using, simply, reason. Your opinion is wrong. You’re ignorant. I don’t have to respect opinions from stupid people. All I have to do is let you finish your undercooked thought. Now, you. You with your joyless opinion.

Shut up. Don’t finish your thought. I don’t care. Art doesn’t fail. Humans fail. You have failed art, you magnificent douche.

No one ever says “when I grow up, I want to be an emotional void.”

Let me address some of the basic arguments I have heard from dudes who hate musicals. These dudes, by the way, are always the sort who will punch a wall then run away to cry in the rain the moment fate demands they suffer, as all mortals must.

First: is it really weird that characters in musicals suddenly break out into song when the emotions become too intense? You know what’s weird? When characters in movies suddenly break out into shooting bullets or karate chops when emotions become too intense.

Action movies are just musicals with knuckles. Of course the main difference is action movies celebrate violence. So many explosions. Emotions are dangerous. Most civilizations pacify their citizens with displays of violence. Blood spurts are hypnotic. Distracting.

Feel something for a change. FEEL GOD DAMN YOU.

I have also heard, for years, how musicals are “gay.” Is that an insult? I don’t know what to say to that. I’m a living thinking person who loves? Fine. Whatever. Then I am gay. I am gay. I am gay. I am gay. I am gay. Proud & loud!

“Musicals suck,” is another retort. Why do you hate your father so much?

You’re a tiny pink worm piloting a robot husk that looks like a human. If I cracked that shell open you wouldn’t last a day in the light.

I might be overreacting. No, I’m not. Think before you talk.

Musicals don’t get respect from most people, and that’s fine. I don’t watch hockey, and that’s okay. I don’t talk trash about it.

Just hear me out. Because I’m going deep. I’m basically singing to you right now. Man up. You can take the truth. I’m not suggesting we hug it out, because I think you’d be a crap friend. But, check it: the bar jukebox? You feed it money because your soul needs songs.

Musicals can turn my bones to wind chimes. They make me feel drunk. I know of few American artists who can gut you with a sad, beautiful song like Stephen Sondheim.

Here, step into the time machine of imagination and let’s journey back to when I first fell in love with musicals. Oh, you don’t have an imagination? Okay. Then I will just tell you the tale.

The first musical I ever saw was a production of “Les Miserables” at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. It was a high school field trip. I was 15. My Trapper Keeper was stuffed with love letters I didn’t have the courage to fold up into little triangles that could slip into her locker.

She was in love with someone else, anyway. He was a total puke bucket, with a car.

I spent the day leading up to the musical employing every single form of teenage emotional expression. All three of them. I sneered. I rolled my eyes. I stared off into the distance in despair. Repeat.

So when Eponine took to the stage to sing about her unrequited love for Marius, I could feel my heart try to claw its way up my throat.

I, too, am on my own! Holy Christ, just like her! I wanted to stand up and sing along with her. I didn’t know the lyrics or melody, but I would have bravely bleated along in solidarity.

Finally, as she lays dying in the arms of the SHIT HEAD WHO OBVIOUSLY SHOULD HAVE LOVED HER AND NOT THAT DOOFUS LADY COSETTE, singing the song “A Little Fall Of Rain,” I suddenly saw myself on my deathbed. The cause of death? Heartbreak, probably. Terminal heartbreak.

And there she was, sitting next to me, sobbing. Maybe someone had given her my Trapper Keeper? Maybe she had read my nearly illegible insane hobo cursive handwriting that covered both sides of multiple pages of torn out spiral notebook paper?

Had she broken up with the total puke bucket, with a car? It did not matter. I forgave her. Cough, cough.

“Les Miserables” is a sprawling singalong opera about a superstrong sensitive dude, an uptight maniac cop, and a failed French student uprising. It’s a musical that loves weepy solos, endless crescendos and synthesizers. So many synthesizers.

It’s great. So is “Phantom of the Opera.” That was the next musical I saw after “Les Miserables.” Look, to me, as a kid, “Phantom of the Opera” was basically “Singing Batman.”

A year later, my wonderful father begrudgingly took me to see my first Broadway show in New York City. IT WAS A MUSICAL ABOUT THE VIETNAM WAR.

I have spent a lot of time sitting in theater seats. Not just for musicals, either. Plays, performance art, Shakespeare in parking lots. Theater is the original social network.

I love it. I also love, in no particular order, Music Man, West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, The King & I, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Sweeney Todd, Hedwig & The Angry Inch, Chicago, Spring Awakening, Assassins, Book of Mormon, and, honestly, it’s a long list that also includes musicals performed at midnight in basements in the Lower East Side, years before Manhattan turned into Bankhattan.

The American musical is the cradle of contemporary pop music. It’s an art form that connects us to the vaudevillian music halls of our shared past. The musical is what happens when the church meets the saloon. These songs are all pagan hymns to first kisses and lost loves. There is so much cruelty in the world, and the American musical knows that. Sometimes it tells us everything will be okay — the curtain will come down on dancing and singing and triumph. Sometimes it tell us everything won’t be okay and that kind of honesty can set you free.

Love what you love. This is a truth you can only read on a non-ad supported internet digital web blog platform. I’m not selling anything. I’m not telling you what to love. Just that you should love what you love. Love what you love.

Bear hug it. Whisper to it. Cut any bitch who tries to diminish that love.

We cool, and all that jazz, bro?

Image from Pixabay.

Under the sea...

True
The Wilderness Society


You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."

But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.

(Get your mind outta the gutter.)


There's this dude named Captain Ahab who really really hates the whale, and he goes absolutely bonkers in his quest to hunt and kill it, and then everything is awful and we all die unsatisfied with our shared sad existence and — oops, spoilers!


OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!

whales, Moby Dick, poaching endangered species

Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.

It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.

There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.

conservation, ocean water conservation

A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.

Photo by Gabriel Barathieu/Wikipedia.

In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"

And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.

International Whaling Commission, harpoons

Tail in the water.

Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube

And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.

What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)

Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.

Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?

whale blubber, blue whales, extinction

This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.

GIF via National Geographic.

This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.

Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).

Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?

population, Arctic, Great Australian Blight

Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.

GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.

We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.

In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.

This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.

And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?

social responsibility, nature, extinction

BOOP.

Image from Pixabay.

Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.

If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.

I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.


This article originally appeared on 11.04.15

Identity

Do you have a 'gay voice'? Here's how to tell.

Have you ever wondered if you have a “gay voice”?

Photo pulled from YouTube trailer "Do I sound gay?"

For anyone who's wondering if they have a gay voice and what that actually means.

This article originally appeared on June 5, 2015


Have you ever wondered if you have a “gay voice”?

If you're anything like me, the answer is yes. Many times.

For anyone who’s laid awake wondering if your voice is just as gay as you are, I've created a rigorous test for you to finally get some answers. Follow the chart below to see if you, in fact, sound like a homosexual. ***(Image needs to pulled from Robbie Couch who wrote the article.)


Temporary pic pulled as a place holder

Temporary pic pulled as a place holder******

Yes, that's correct: You do not have a "gay voice" — because a "gay voice" is not really a thing.

Unlike humans, voices do not identify as certain genders or sexual orientations. They're just ... sounds. (Crazy, I know!)

Stereotypes about what LGBTQ people sound like lead some to think their gay-dar can accurately sniff out queer folks in a crowd based on voices alone. However, research shows we actually do a pretty poor job at guessing another person's sexual orientation solely using our ears.

Even if we do wear our queerness on the tips of our tongues, though, why should it matter?

Some LGBTQ people fret over their voice, fearful their queerness is on display every time they speak. And that concern is understandable. Sometimes, it's not a matter of accepting yourself, but a matter of survival: When your voice outs you as an "other" in an environment that's hostile toward gay, transgender, or otherwise queer people, personal safety becomes a priority.

“A lot of gay men are self-conscious about sounding gay because we were persecuted for that when we were young," LGBTQ activist and media personality Dan Savage said in the 2014 documentary "Do I Sound Gay?"

CNN's Don Lemon, who is openly gay, also chimed in on the topic. Has he ever felt insecure about "sounding gay"? “I’d have to say, if I told you ‘no,’ I’d be lying," Lemon admitted in the documentary.

But we should never let a bully's bigotry convince us our voices should be silenced. You sound perfect the way you are, honey — and don't you forget it.

Checking out the documentary "Do I Sound Gay?", available on multiple streaming platforms. Here's a look at the trailer:

This article was written by Robbie Couch and originally appeared on 11.5.15

@geaux75/TikTok

Molly was found tied to a tree by the new owners of the house.

Molly, an adorable, affectionate 10-year-old pit bull, found herself tied to a tree after her owners had abandoned her.

According to The Dodo, Molly had “always been a loyal dog, but, unfortunately, her first family couldn’t reciprocate that same love back,” and so when the house was sold, neither Molly nor the family’s cat was chosen to move with them. While the cat was allowed to free roam outside, all Molly could do was sit and wait. Alone.

Luckily, the young couple that bought the house agreed to take the animals in as part of their closing agreement, and as soon as the papers were signed, they rushed over to check in.

In a TikTok video, April Parker, the new homeowner, walks up to Molly, who is visibly crestfallen with teary eyes. But as soon as Parker begins cooing, “Baby girl…you’re gonna get a new home,” the pitty instantly perks up—all smiles and tail wagging.

“We are going to make her life so good,” Parker wrote in the video’s caption. “She will never be left all alone tied to a tree.”

@geaux75 The people that sold our house to us left behind their 10yr old dog they had since it was a puppy. I was so stressed we wouldnt get the house and something bad would happeb to her. We are going to maje her life so good. She will never be left all alone tied to a tree. 😭😢@roodytoots ♬ Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) [2018 Remaster] - Kate Bush

The video has been seen upwards of 4 million times. Countless people commented on how enraging it was to see a dog treated so carelessly.

“I’ve had my dog since she was 7 weeks old. She just turned 10 a few days ago. I literally cannot imagine doing this,” one person wrote.”

Another added: “The tears in her eyes…she doesn’t understand why they could just leave her, it breaks my heart. People like that shouldn’t be allowed to be pet owners.”

Subsequent videos show Parker freeing Molly from her leash and introducing the sweet pup to her husband, with whom she was instantly smitten. It’s clear that this doggo was both relieved and elated to be taken in by her new family.

Since being rescued, Molly has accompanied her new mom and dad everywhere.

@geaux75 Replying to @ohitscourtney ♬ Lucky Girl - Carlina


“She’s sticking to our side,” Parker wrote. “She won’t stop following us around. It’s so sweet.”

Parker has created an entire TikTok channel documenting her newfound pet’s journey, aptly named “Molly’s New Life,” showing Molly enjoying warm baths, plenty of treats, cuddles…all the finer things in life.

But what Molly seems to enjoy most of all is car rides:

@geaux75 Taking Molly to get a treat! Stay tuned!! #mollysnewlife #goodgollymissmolly ♬ original sound - Mollysnewlife 🐾🐕💗

And in case you’re wondering, the kitty is doing well, too, though it still prefers to stay outdoors.

Molly also has two indoor cat siblings who instantly welcomed her into the family. The video below shows one of them, Joofus, comforting a trembling Molly with kisses during a thunderstorm.

@geaux75 We had a big storm this morning and Molly was having a hard time. Joofus got on the bed and started comforting her. It was the sweetest thing. They got snuggled up and Molly went to sleep. Animals are amazing. #mollysnewlife #petsarefamily ♬ I Won't Let Go - Rascal Flatts

It seems that Molly has gotten the safe, loving home she’s deserved all along.

We know that animal abandonment is fairly common. According to The Zebra, almost 4 million dogs are either given up to shelters or abandoned each year. And still, it’s really hard to fathom how humans can treat such innocent creatures with such blatant disregard when they provide so much pure joy.

Thankfully, there are folks out there like the Parkers who know that taking care of animals like Molly is one of life’s most precious offerings.

Stay up-to-date with the rest of Molly’s journey by following her on TikTok.


This article originally appeared on 5.31.23

Identity

High school girl’s response to ‘Ugly Girls’ poll inspires positive reaction

This brave high school student stood up to her school’s cyberbullies.

Lynelle Cantwell/Facebook.

Lynelle Cantwell had a response on her own Facebook page.

Lynelle Cantwell is in 12th grade at Holy Trinity High School in Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador (that's Canada).

On Monday, she found out that she had been featured on another student's anonymous online poll entitled "Ugly Girls in Grade 12," along with several other classmates.


Cantwell responded via Facebook with her own message, which has already been shared more than 2,000 times and counting.

cyber bullying, bullies, kindness

The unkind poll.

Lynelle Cantwell/Facebook.

Take a look:

bullying, brave response, community support

“Just because we don’t look perfect on the outside does not mean we are ugly.” - Lynelle Cantwell.

Lynelle Cantwell/Facebook.

Since posting her brave response on Facebook, more people have come out to show support than people who voted in the first place.

Check out some of the responses:

appreciation, confidence, self esteem, love and support

Some responses to her post.

Lynelle Cantwell/Facebook.

The School District of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced that it will be looking into the incident further. For Cantwell, the positive outpouring of love and support vastly outweighs the initial cyberbullying and is raising her confidence in new ways.


This article originally appeared on 08.20.17

Health

Artists got fed up with these 'anti-homeless spikes.' So they made them a bit more ... comfy.

"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."

Photo courtesy of CC BY-ND, Immo Klink and Marco Godoy

Spikes line the concrete to prevent sleeping.


These are called "anti-homeless spikes." They're about as friendly as they sound.

As you may have guessed, they're intended to deter people who are homeless from sitting or sleeping on that concrete step. And yeah, they're pretty awful.

The spikes are a prime example of how cities design spaces to keep homeless people away.


Not all concrete steps have spikes on them, but outdoor seating in cities like Montreal and Tokyo have been sneakily designed to prevent people from resting too comfortably for too long.

This guy sawing through a bench was part of a 2006 protest in Toulouse, France, where public seating intentionally included armrests to prevent people from lying down.

Of course, these designs do nothing to fight the cause or problem of homelessness. They're just a way of saying to homeless people, "Go somewhere else. We don't want to look at you,"basically.

One particular set of spikes was outside a former night club in London. And a local group got sick of staring at them.

Leah Borromeo is part of the art collective "Space, Not Spikes" — a group that's fed up with what she describes as "hostile architecture."

"Spikes do nothing more than shoo the realities of poverty and inequality away from your backyard — so you don't have to see it or confront what you can do to make things more equal," Borromeo told Upworthy. "And that is really selfish."

"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."

charity, social consciousness, artist

A bed covers up spikes on the concrete.

assets.rebelmouse.io

The move by Space, Not Spikes has caused quite a stir in London and around the world. The simple but impactful idea even garnered support from music artist Ellie Goulding.

"That was amazing, wasn't it?" Borromeo said of Goulding's shout-out on Instagram.

books, philanthropy, capitalism

Artist's puppy books and home comforts.

assets.rebelmouse.io

"[The project has] definitely touched a nerve and I think it is because, as a whole, humans will still look out for each other," Borromeo told Upworthy. "Capitalism and greed conditions us to look out for ourselves and negate the welfare of others, but ultimately, I think we're actually really kind."

"We need to call out injustice and hypocrisy when we see it."
anti-homeless laws, legislation, panhandling

A message to offer support in contrast with current anti-homeless laws.

assets.rebelmouse.io

These spikes may be in London, but the U.S. definitely has its fair share of anti-homeless sentiment, too.

Spikes are pretty obvious — they're a visual reminder of a problem many cities are trying to ignore. But what we can't see on the street is the rise of anti-homeless laws that have cropped up from sea to shining sea.

Legislation that targets homeless people — like bans on panhandling and prohibiting people from sleeping in cars — has increased significantly in recent years.

For instance, a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty that analyzed 187 American cities found that there's been a 43% hike in citywide bans on sitting or lying down in certain spaces since 2011.

Thankfully, groups like "Space, Not Spikes" are out there changing hearts and minds. But they need our help.

The group created a video to complement its work and Borromeo's hoping its positive underlying message will motivate people to do better.

"[The world] won't always be happy-clappy because positive social change needs constructive conflict and debate," she explained. "But we need to call out injustice and hypocrisy when we see it."

Check out their video below:

This article originally appeared on 07.24.15