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Just When I Think I'm Out, The Advocate Magazine Pulls Me Back In

Updated on September 17, 2007

Just When I Thought I was Out, The Advocate Pulls Me Back In - Don't Get Me Started!

Okay, so I'm paraphrasing Al Pacino as Michael Corleone who says in one of the Godfather movies, "Just when I thought I was out they pull me back in." And so it is with the Advocate magazine. I want to like this magazine, truly I do. I mean back in its day it gave us news and information on issues that other magazines and newspapers just wouldn't carry but through the years it's become a glossy rag more akin to Tiger Beat than Time. And so last week I wrote about once again being fed up with The Advocate (Read that blog here... Once again The Advocate Magazine is no advocate for me! ) and then here it came in the mail almost immediately after writing that blog, here comes the fortieth anniversary edition of the Advocate magazine delivered to me. Just when I thought I was out, The Advocate magazine pulls me back in - Don't Get Me Started!

Right away when you look at the cover of the September 25, 2007 issue of Advocate magazine you see that it's different. Why is it different you may ask? Because it doesn't have some straight Hollywood heartthrob shirtless on the cover with a caption like, "River's best friend is gay, and he likes it that way!" The cover; filled with a collage of important GLBT figures immediately makes you start to think about what these people did for all of us and at the same time you're thanking God that for once Lance Bass is not pictured. (Don't worry Bass fans; he is in the issue if only in the form of a birthday greeting on page 16)

As I read this issue cover to cover it was more than apparent that as they celebrate their fortieth year of publication that they understand the importance of important stories beyond summer cruises, gay soft porn movie reviews and finding out who the latest Hollywood heartthrob would have a boy crush on if he was gay, which he isn't but if he was gay and he had boy crushes...ugh...this question seems to be a stock question for every interview they do with any straight person as of late in The Advocate. No, this issue shows the past covers and stories that made this magazine controversial and at the same time gave the gay community its voice. The forty heroes they list are well chosen (by Advocate readers) and their stories are almost as fascinating as the snippets written by prominent GLBT folk about their feelings on turning forty.

Here's the problem I have Advocate, where do you hide for the rest of the twenty-one out of twenty-two issues a year? And why can't you do the thought-provoking stories like you used to and are featured in this issue all the time? In a world of insta-celebrity and where exposés on the latest non-underwear wearing celebrity fill online blogs, newspapers and television as if they're actual news, it sure would be nice to have you at the level this current issue is all year round. Once again, I find myself being Anne Frank, believing in the good of human nature and yet somehow I all ready know that come next issue, it'll be back to a cover story on shirtless Zac Efron from High School Musical, asking who he would have a boy crush on...if he had boy crushes.

PlanetOut which owns not only The Advocate but Out and various other magazines has enough magazines for glossy hairless boys and butch daddies aplenty, how about letting The Advocate go back to being what it started out to be, a political magazine with thoughtful and thought provoking articles? I get it, with gay issues appearing on the nightly news now instead of the way things were even fifteen years ago, it might be easy for The Advocate to think that they don't need to work as hard on getting us news but dear Advocate, you're so wrong. We need you desperately.

I remember years ago when one of the first people I knew died from AIDS complications. I remember a large group of people creating his "square" after my friend's passing that would go to become part of the famous quilt conceived by San Francisco activist, Cleve Jones in 1985. How odd it seems that I recently saw an article about the quilt in another mainstream publication and I thought how many years it had been since I'd heard anything about the quilt? Where is the quilt? Do people still add squares to it? The stories of the people for whom the squares are created are fascinating but equally fascinating is the care and love of the person or people who make the square. When was the last time The Advocate carried a story about these people? I don't recall seeing anything for the last year that I've been receiving my subscription. (However, I have been known to be wrong from time to time)

I'm not saying that The Advocate needs to focus only on the tragic but it would be nice to see more stories and information on these types of things as opposed to yet another article asking the Fall Out Boy band why they think they have such a large gay fan base. Allow the critical observations to be heard and really listen to them, Advocate. We need you but we need you as you used to be, not the US magazine look-alike filled with only celebrity news on every page. Of course, just as I was going to cancel the subscription, this 40th Anniversary Issue showed up and so yes, I've renewed my subscription full of school boy hope that there will be more issues like this one this year instead of what I've seen this past year that I've been receiving it. Just when I thought I was out, The Advocate magazine pulls me back in - Don't Get Me Started!

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