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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

 
(This is a combination of pieces of my two other blogs, first the bulk of a comment on Jay Leno, who is insistently antihomosexual; the second, a view of new rental housing that up-and-coming gay men who find Manhattan too crammed-jam and expensive might find congenial in my revitalized city, Newark, NJ.)
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Nasty Guy. Jay Leno made news today for apologizing to a woman friend of the victim for "a sketch that compared Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident to a 2003 videotaped shooting outside a Los Angeles courthouse". The L.A. shooting wasn't fatal, but even if it had been, Leno might very well still have joked about it. After all, he joked many times about a notorious incident in which a woman in Texas murdered her husband by running him over with their car, backing up over him, and then driving forward over him again! That struck the monster Jay Leno as funny. No decent person on Earth regarded that horrible murder as funny.
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Jay Leno is a nasty, nasty guy who camouflages his vicious regard for the rest of the world behind a joking demeanor. But he is fundamentally vicious.
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Part of his viciousness is his unrelenting ridicule of homosexuality, and his constant promotion of stereotypes that injure gay men. His "Ross the Intern" bits endlessly tell the world that gay men are faggoty little fruits, and tell easily-confusable gay teens just coming to adulthood that to be gay, they need to be nelly, flaming queens. Leno endlessly makes disparaging jokes about Brokeback Mountain, even now that the film has been disposed of by the Oscars and is probably not even showing widely in theaters any longer. So, topicality is not the standard. Leno has problems with various kinds of people, and attacks them under the guise of humor.
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I feel that I have to watch his monolog for its political content and the reaction of the audience, so usually turn from Comedy Central's Colbert Report to NBC's Tonight Show for the monolog, since Colbert is repeated at 1:30am, same nite, but the Tonight Show isn't repeated until a week later. With topical political humor, a week's delay renders the commentary less than useful in gaging public sentiment.
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I don't know what Leno's problem is, but he is obviously bristling with hostility toward many, many people, and his view of human nature is at best condescending, not warmly indulgent. His "Jaywalking" and "Headlines" segments are based on mocking people. It's not as good-natured as he'd like you to think.
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I don't know why he is so bitter and hostile. The world has certainly treated him very well. He makes millions of dollars a year; is married, famous and generally well regarded; and people in power listen to his political commentary during his nitely monolog. But he is plainly ticked off at a lot of people. A curmudgeon saying the same things in a different tone would be understood instantly to be an unhappy and vicious person. Of course, he is childless. Perhaps his ego does not permit anyone else to get more attention from his wife than he. Perhaps she won't (or can't) give him a Mini-Me. Or perhaps he's sterile, which might explain a lot of his anger toward the world.
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That Leno clothes his remarks in humor and laffs at people rather than launches hard-faced attacks upon them does not in any way make his viciousness palatable to me.
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Yes, many people are stupid and ignorant, but you don't need to harp on it unless it affects you personally, or produces unwise public policy. In the latter case, you should strive to lead opinion to better outcomes, not just mock people.
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Luxury Apartments, Relatively Cheap, 25 Minutes from Manhattan. Here is a foto of the construction site for the renovation of Newark's second-tallest building, which was originally an office tower but is now being created into apartments.
[Scaffolding on Raymond-Commerce Building, Newark, NJ, March 2006]
The Raymond Boulevard side of the building shows a sign announcing the anticipated completion date, only part of which fits in a normal camera view. (I don't have one of those super-expensive digital cameras with wide-angle lens.)
[Rental sign at Raymond-Commerce Building renovation site, Newark, NJ, March 2005]
I just went to the website noted on that sign, and it has a very jazzy, youth-oriented, slideshow intro that shows plainly the developer's intended target audience: a young, hip, affluent and multiracial audience eager to embrace all that life in a human-scale city has to offer. (They cleverly allow people who remember the site as www.1180rentals.com rather than "eleven80rentals" to get to the same site via redirect.) Gay men should be part of that target audience, especially gay men interested in the many cultural offerings within a short walking distance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Museum, Aljira (gallery), and Newark Public Library. In addition, there's a minor-league baseball stadium also within an easy, comfortable walk past two parks filled with sculpture, more than just trees and grass.
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There will be a rental office on Commerce Street opposite 1180 in due course, but it's not yet open.
[Sign for rental office for 1180 Raymond Blvd, Newark, NJ, March 2006]
I hadn't realized that the apartments would be rentals. I assumed that, as in New York, they would be condos or coops. Rentals seem much wiser at this stage in the development of Downtown Newark as a residential center. Good thinking.



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