Channeling Judy

Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

Channeling Judy


This is another one of those fawning NY Times articles about drag, except in this instance apparently the drag doesn't bother to wear women's clothes.

Instead, he "channels" Judy Garland.

Here are some excerpts, including the opening and closing paragraphs:

Music Review | Rufus Wainwright

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Conjuring Judy Garland


Published: June 15, 2006

They came to commune with a legend and to pay their respects to the singer channeling her.

"They" would be the heavily gay, male, over-30 audience at the sold-out Carnegie Hall last night and tonight; the legend would be Judy Garland; and the gawky, flouncing pop shaman conjuring her would be Rufus Wainwright, the 32-year-old singer-songwriter and opera maven descended from folk-rock royalty.

It didn't matter that Mr. Wainwright sounds nothing like Garland or that his voice, an astringent drone with a quavering edge, uncertain intonation and slightly garbled diction, isn't half as good an instrument as Garland's.

The spirit was there. At the very least, his loving song-by-song recreation of "Judy at Carnegie Hall," Garland's brilliant 1961 concert that became the most beloved of all pre-rock concert albums, was a fabulous stunt. Not even Madonna, pop music's ultimate pop provocateur, has attempted anything so ambitious.

What unfolded onstage was a tour de force of politically empowering performance art in which a proudly gay male performer paid homage to the original and longest-running gay icon in the crowded pantheon of pop divas. ...

If Mr. Wainwright doesn't begin to convey emotional extremes Garland embodied like a great method actress, he, like Garland, is a natural clown and showman. One of his many amusing anecdotes described his childhood identification with "The Wizard of Oz." On good days, he was Dorothy and on bad ones, the Wicked Witch of the West.

For those who came to worship, Mr. Wainwright could do no wrong. His courage to stand as a surrogate for every audience member who ever gazed into the mirror and fantasized slipping into Dorothy's ruby slippers spoke for itself.

[emphases mine]

Bill Weintraub:


I didn't know it took courage to do a bad imitation of Judy Garland.

You learn something new every day.

So: According to the Times, we have a "proudly gay male performer" who "flounces" while "singing" Judy Garland songs in "an astringent drone with a quavering edge, uncertain intonation and slightly garbled diction" to a "heavily gay, male" audience.

And who as a child, he says, identified alternately with Dorothy and the Witch.

That's the NY Times' idea of high culture these days.

My late lover Brett used to say that putting on a dress and lip-synching to Judy Garland songs does not make you an artist.

Apparently that's no longer so.

Apparently nowadays, you can skip the dress, sing Garland's songs badly, and be considered not just "fabulous" by Stephen Holden of the Times, but worthy of Carnegie Hall.

Like I say, it's unreal.

But there's more:

The Times characterizes this event as "politically empowering performance art" by a "proudly gay male performer" -- who "flounces."

Which begs the question:

Who does this "empower"?

Answer: gay-identified effeminized males.

Who do anal.

Because if you're effeminized -- what could be more natural than to get fucked?

And thus honor your inner-Judy.

So the article illustrates how the dominant culture works to

  • Effeminize gay males;

  • Facilitate anal penetration; and,

  • Marginalize MASCULINE MEN who love MEN.

Thus an effeminized "gay male" who flounces and does a bad imitation of Judy Garland is lionized as courageous and "politically empowering" by the nation's paper of record.

While masculine models of men who love men are nowhere to be seen.

Instead, what we get is an anecdote about identifying with alternately Dorothy and the witch -- which is truly gruesome.

And redolent of self-oppression.

I never identified with Dorothy -- or the witch.

I don't recall any identification with movie stars per se when I was a boy, but to the extent I identified with anyone in a movie, it would have been with the Kirk Douglas character, Einar, in The Vikings, which was released in 1958, when I was 10 years old.

Einar was neither a little girl nor a crone.

He was a fearless Viking Warrior chieftain.


Why is my sort of gay man NEVER represented in the NY Times?


Instead, the Times is there "for every audience member who ever gazed into the mirror and fantasized slipping into Dorothy's ruby slippers."

Did you ever gaze into the mirror and fantasize slipping into Dorothy's slippers?

I didn't.

I never wanted to be Judy Garland.

Or any other woman.

Did you?

You need to consider the effect of an article like this upon a gay-identified kid -- or even a straight-identified kid.

You need to think that one through.

Because as it happens, this article was number six on the Times' "most popular" list.

Neither the concert, nor the reporter's opinion of it, can be deemed marginal.

This by contrast is from an email I received yesterday:

I, like other men who've responded to your site, believe you've touched men's heroic, archetypal reality--THE WARRIOR.

Bill, I happened upon your site at a time when I was searching for an avenue to express my aggression. I started Akido, and am looking for a gym to start boxing, a sport that has appealed to me more than Akido. My sensei in Akido is amazing; he's a gentleman; he's intelligent; he's committed; he's an all around great person. I think he'd agree that his practicing Akido has helped him discover and define his manhood.

Bill, your no-nonsense, non apologetic confirmation and affirmation of masculinity is gospel to my ears as I am sure to other men's as well.

I've made a point to stand up for a man's right to be a man. I think young boys who are reared in single-parent mothered home then go to school to be surrounded by women teachers telling then don't do this and don't do that are frustrated and tired of women quelling their masculine excitement. I think most women don't intend to quell masculinity, but women only know how to be women and would that boys appease women's inclination for order. "Sit down, don't move, don't say anything" are the conversation women often have with boys.

Men know to let boys be boys. I romp with my nephews on the floor slugging it out, and they love it at three and four years old.

My correspondent wants to remain anonymous.

He's a straight-identified man who's very supportive of our work and agrees with us that the labels which divide men are meaningless.

Doesn't he sound like a great guy?

"I, like other men who've responded to your site, believe you've touched men's heroic, archetypal reality--THE WARRIOR."


This is what I wrote back:

The Warrior has been my archetype since I was a little boy.

And one which I've followed throughout my life.

I lived through a terrible catastrophe within my own community -- HIV / AIDS.

I believe that part of the reason I survived was that I remained true to the Warrior ideal.

I resisted those who wished to effeminize me.

I resisted those who wished to penetrate me anally.

I remained true to myself.

I remained true to the Warrior way.

I survived.

Many -- most -- did not.

They were not "bad" people.

But they allowed themselves to be pressured, coerced, and seduced away from the Warrior path -- away from their true nature as men.

It was fashionable then -- as it is now -- for males to do that.

But those who did -- paid a terrible price.

This is a lesson I'll never forget.

And it's one which I'll continue to attempt to convey to the world.

Because that's the choice we continue to face:

The Way of the Warrior

or the way of death.


Judy Garland was certainly talented.

But she was also miserable.

It's not just her sex which makes her a poor role model for gay men.

She died of an overdose -- too much pills and liquor.

Why -- thirty-seven years not just since she died but since the riots at the Stonewall Inn which were supposed to signal the end of homosexual oppression -- is she still considered a gay male icon?

Is it because gay males, their spirits broken now not by homophobia but by anal penetration and effeminacy, are still bent on self-destruction?

Robert Loring:

A person (male or female) bent on self rejection is a person bent on self hatred. A person bent on self hatred is a person bent on self destruction. When we think of such things as suicide or castration we often think in physical terms but one can commit suicide and become castrated not only physically but psychologically and spiritually as well. Sadly, there appears to be growing numbers of males who have already committed psychospiritual suicide and/or castration today as they have bought into being feminized and, thus, have become easily controllable. As has been written elsewhere on this site "Gods denied become demons. Creatures of the shadow. And what comes from the shadow is death and destruction." This is not simply true of "gods" but it is also true of MEN.

Society has failed to look back at tradition and history and see that the WARRIOR ETHOS is the PERFECT route for many things MALE. The Warrior Ethos is a perfect pattern by which a boy can become a masculine man. A man of HONOR and a man of INTEGRITY! The Warrior Ethos is a perfect pathway by which a male can learn to control his innate aggressiveness and channel it into something PRODUCTIVE instead of destructive. The Warrior Ethos does NOT feminize a male nor does it seek to take a male along the hellish road of self rejection. Rather, it promotes masculinity, honor, and integrity. It promotes self respect and SELF CONTROL. It promotes self male PRIDE! It honors CREATION by males instead of destruction and self destruction as femininity does. The Warrior Ethos promotes and enhances NATURAL MALE MASCULINITY not only for young males but throughout the lives of mature masculine males. The Warrior Ethos is a road that never ends because it is a road of male HONOR of self and of others!


The Way of the Warrior is the Way of Salvation.

"The Warrior Ethos does NOT feminize a male nor does it seek to take a male along the hellish road of self rejection. Rather, it promotes masculinity, honor, and integrity. It promotes self respect and SELF CONTROL. It promotes self male PRIDE!"


We're involved in a culture war between those who believe that Judy Garland is a fit role model and exemplar for males;

and those who believe that MEN need MANLY role models, and that "men's heroic, archetypal reality--THE WARRIOR" is the model which best "promotes masculinity, honor, and integrity."

We're in a war between those who believe that a woman whose life spiraled out of control and who killed herself -- is a fit role model for males;

and those who believe that WARRIORS -- MEN who AGGRESSIVELY and HONORABLY and with full INTEGRITY take charge of their fate -- are the models that MEN should follow.

It makes a difference whose views prevail.

Because as with any war, there are casualties.

We have had more than 40 years of the Judy-model among gay males.

The result has been 500,000 dead from an effeminizing and degrading "sex" act and another 500,000 infected.

With 55 new gay male infections each and every day.

What we offer is entirely different.

We're a cohort of MEN who love MEN who've stayed free of HIV and all the other anally-vectored diseases through a simple strategem:


Rejecting those who would effeminize us.

Rejecting those who would penetrate us.

Rejecting the road of self rejection, self hatred, and self destruction.

Embracing instead our NATURAL WARRIOR WAY which honors our AGGRESSION; celebrates our MASCULINITY; and exalts our MANHOOD.

A Way which is


Males need to once again take PRIDE in themselves! They need to once again be PROUD that they were born MALE! They need to once again feel WORTHY of LOVE and of SELF LOVE! They need to STAND UP and FIGHT BACK and STOP being little boys who act as if they were just spanked by big bad Mommy! That requires telling some concepts and elements and other people in our society to GO GET FUCKED!!

The FACT is that YOU ARE worthy of LOVE! And the FACT is that there is NOTHING wrong about you being a MALE! Unload the fucking GUILT and BE A MAN...BE A WARRIOR because THAT is what is being CALLED FOR today and that call is going out to ALL males!






© All material Copyright 2006 by Bill Weintraub. All rights reserved.


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