DailyAfirmation (dailyafirmation) wrote,

A play, and let the fray begin...

Robert and I went to Fayetteville to see a play tonight. The playwright is a friend of one of Robert's friends, and after hearing about it Robert thought the storyline had some similarities to his father's experience as a POW.

Paying the Price (musical)
Book, Music & Lyrics by Mark Walter Braswell

Based on his father's true story during WWII, this one-hour play with seven original songs brings to life the true meaning of patriotism and one American's fight for freedom. Paying the Price is a three-character drama depicting the story of a young man becoming a tail gunner on a B-17 named "Flaming Arrow," battling his way across the skies of Europe, and becoming a POW in Romania where he was cared for by Princess Catherine Caradja. A secret kept for over 50 years, this account of the military service of Edwin Maurice Braswell is now being told. (Braswell's original manuscript on which the show is based is registered with the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project.)

In 2004, Paying the Price enjoyed a successful production by the Cape Fear Regional Theatre and the U.S. Army's Airborne & Special Operations Museum in North Carolina. During 2003, Paying the Price enjoyed successful readings and workshop performances at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage (Page-to-Stage New Play Festival) and the National Theatre's Helen Hayes Gallery (Monday Night Series). Press coverage about the launch of this patriotic show has appeared in the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, and the Fayetteville Observer. Paying the Price is now available for booking, with script, score, and DVD being available to artistic directors, interested producers, and investors. (A 10-minute medley of songs from the show is also available for entertainment during special events and ceremonies.)


Four "Letters to the Editor" in today's N&O, about the story with Robert and I in it, were these:

Too intimate

I can imagine many of your readers had the same reaction I did when I saw the front page of the Oct. 21 Life, etc. section. The photograph of two men on their bed with legs intertwined made me uncomfortable. The photograph was too intimate, too inside the bedroom to be on the front page of the section.
Like many parents, I encourage my teenage son to take an interest in current events and read the newspaper. Since the features section contains the comics, I would assume children in many households read it. How do parents explain such a photo to our kids? More important, why should we even have to?

While The N&O may feel an obligation to run a sexual lifestyle story on a regular basis, I shouldn't be required to see it prominently displayed. The photograph was entirely inappropriate.

Graham Wilson

Worse than Junior

I have never felt so motivated to respond to any newspaper article more than I do now. I opened up the Oct. 21 N&O to do my daily crossword puzzle and the first thing I saw was two homosexuals on a bed with their legs intertwined. This has to be one the most offensive pictures I have ever seen in your newspaper.

What kind of message does this picture send to our children? Never mind what the article is about, the picture itself is over the line. If Dale Earnhardt Jr. can be fined $10,000 and lose 25 points in NASCAR for a four-letter word spoken in excitement, you guys should be fined 10 times that.

Danny Carter
Newton Grove

Shock value

It was very disturbing to see the picture on the front page of your Oct. 21 Life, etc. section of the two men apparently posing on a bed for your photographer. It seems the media are trying to push the abnormal ideas of a small percentage of people to be accepted as normal for the majority. The media are always looking for shock value for attention and sales.
I am not shocked, but saddened that our society has fallen to such a level that morals are not even a consideration in what media portrays. With all that is thrown at our children in mainstream media, is it any wonder that so many are mixed up and troubled?

Also, the Life, etc. section is the wrong place, as homosexuality itself cannot generate "life." This requires a man and a woman, and has been God's plan from the beginning.

Debra Phipps

Inappropriate photo

I do not care what people do behind closed doors. Nor do I care who they choose as a partner. But the photo on the front page of your Oct. 21 Life, etc. section, with the article "That uneasy silence," showed a little too much. I feel that it is inappropriate for young viewers. I don't even feel that a photo of a man and woman in a bedroom setting is appropriate for young viewers. You should use a little more discretion, knowing you have young readers.

And don't forget that the parents of those young readers are the ones who actually pay for that paper. And if you continue to use photos like that you may lose some business. You can't please everybody all the time, but you can be more mindful of our youth.

Patricia Cheek

The following discussion took place on the "EAGLE" discussion database. EAGLE is the IBM Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender employee networking group, which has members all around the globe.

Gotta love the media...
Susy Dreyfuss - Austin, TX
Response Summary: Drama Queen


The writer seems...uhhhhh.... *slightly* over dramatic. It seems like the article is really working hard to try and build an issue.

My favorite part is about Kerry's comment abt Mary:

"Part of the public reaction was the term 'lesbian' as opposed to 'gay,' " Conover said.

"Gay," which Edwards used, is more common, and "people are desensitized to it," she said.

"Lesbian" sounds more threatening to the general public, she said.

I had no idea "Lesbian" sounds more threatening. I'll definitely need to work on being more threatening.


Suzy the Threatening Lesbian


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
John Martin - Raleigh, NC
Response Summary: LOL

Love being in small-town USA... letters to the editor this morning:
[This posting contained the letters to the editor above that I won't repeat here.]


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Richard Ziglar - Durham, NC
Response Summary: Welcome to North Cackalackey


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Dorothy Drennen - Cambridge, MA
Response Summary: Well, at least ONE of the letters ....

.. mentioned that she would have had the same objection to that photo of a heterosexual couple. That's been one of my concerns over the years... especially around Gay Pride. There is a group of folks who think it's their "right" to be publicly sexual with one another -- (I'm obviously not talking about handholding here, or other generally accepted PDAs... ) -- and I have a problem with that. If the couple's behaviour makes me uncomfortable in public, the odds are *very* good that precisely that same behaviour would make me uncomfortable whether it was a gay couple or a straight couple.

And my $.02 on the photo -- I think the reporter completely set you up. The pose, the bed -- there would have been a thousand other photos which would have shown affection and relationship without inflaming the general populace, In the text and the photo, it seems to me that inflammation was the goal....


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
John Martin - Raleigh, NC
Response Summary: She took probably 40 photos over the course of about 1.5 hours.

If I saw a straight couple sitting on a bed doing a crossword puzzle with their legs intertwined, I would not be offended.


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Paul Noga Jr - Bethesda, MD
Response Summary: On the serious side

there are some times you want/need to push the envelop, and others where you don't. I certainly see nothing "wrong" with the pose, but there are probably a lot of folks that wouldn't want to see any combination of sexes on a bed (especially with that plaid pattern!). One position to take is "tuff, there's nothing wrong with it, and if they don't like it, they can cancel their subscription," The other is "well, maybe we need to show a little sensitivity here, perhaps a bedroom is not the place, and perhaps intermingling limbs isn't the best pose to take."


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Daniel Larschied - Menlo Park, CA
Response Summary: I disagree with Paul...

Do you think the readership would have blinked at this picture?

Or these.

Or even this.

Probably not. Why?

Because we are used to intimate moments between a man and a woman in a bed. People can’t get comfortable with images we never see....or perhaps if they kept one foot on the floor.

The Hayes Code censorship guidelines dictated that a man and woman could never be seen in the same bed. If the situation occurred that a man and woman were on the same bed together, one of them had to keep a leg on the floor.


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Pseudonym: Frost - Canada
Response Summary: Oh.. my... God

I can't believe that.

I admit that I was kind of siding with the "well it really isn't appropriate to show any couples in bed" opinion. But after seeing those images, I realize that is not true at all. We see them all the time and think nothing of it for heterosexual couples.

Shame on me. :-(

Damn brainwashing.



Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Paul Noga Jr - Baltimore, MD
Response Summary: Some would have blinked

as one of the letters stated. I agree with you that most would not. That, however, wasn't my point. The point was that there are two very different strategies in gaining public acceptance (if that is indeed one of the goals of the article). One is the "in-your-face-I've-got-my-rights-take-it-or-leave-it" way, the other is the "let's recognize the sensitivities of those we are trying to convince" method. Note I am not saying those sensitivities are valid, but recognizing they exist and are part of the backdrop that has to be taken into consideration when trying to persuade someone. It has nothing to do with John and Robert having the right to pose as they did, or expecting people to respect them as they would any hetero couple. One may have the right to dress up in nun's outfits or leather get-ups with derrieres hanging out, but that is just plain bad PR.

I believe it's naive to think one can gain acceptance by shoving things in people's faces (at least that is how some of the readership sees it). The newspaper should know its target audience and how to best present the argument. It may have been better to have had several pictures of John and Robert in other situations that wouldn't seem threatening (none of them within sight of that plaid comforter, for instance) and perhaps one of them sitting and holding hands on a couch.



Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Daniel Larschied - Menlo Park, CA
Response Summary: I see your point but ...

I think acceptance of public display comes easier to younger people, for instance, because they see media that shows same sex situations more frequently than older folks and that iconography is more ingrained in them. I think it is important to see us as real people. I don't think one needs to be in anybody’s face, but I also do not think the penultimate seat qualifies as the front of the bus.


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
John Martin - Raleigh, NC
Response Summary: This is a nice thought...

... but who is going to be the judge of "what the straight people are ready to see next and when?" Let's start with hand-holding. Okay, everybody on board with that now? Can we move on to say, a kiss good-bye at the airport?" "No, no, the legs entwined first... let's get them used to the legs touching before they see lips..."


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
John Martin - Raleigh, NC
Response Summary: Some follow-up...

With regards to the ongoing drama in the local newspaper, right before I left for our (coincidental) monthly EAGLE lunch, the "Feature Picture Editor" for the N&O called me. He started the conversation off with, "John, how are you doing today?" I said, "I'm doing fine, thank you."

"Good," he said, "because we're getting lots of calls and emails today about that picture, and I wanted to make sure the situation wasn't causing you any problems personally. I responded that it wasn't causing me any problems that I was aware of, and thought to myself, "I wonder about that comment (someone made to me in a joking manner in the hall this morning), 'There's Mr. Controversy.' I heard this morning.

We talked for a good 20 minutes. During the conversation he told me that they are putting a response together for all of the calls and email, which they are going to run in this Sunday's paper. The response is going to address the choice of that picture by the staff.

They spent a lot of time on choosing that picture. They really wanted a picture that showed intimacy that was not sexual, because he said, "Almost all of the shots we publish of GLBT people are of them at rallies or as spokespeople, etc. We rarely have an opportunity to show them as they really are, in their real lives, as real people." We thought that the legs intertwined shows intimacy, but is not sexual.

I agreed with him, and said, that in this article on Sunday there might be an opportunity to discuss the "double standard" of what's considered sexual for gay people as opposed to what is for straight people. The idea that, when people see two straight people holding hands it's cute, but when two gay people are doing it, it's "flaunting their sexuality."

I agree with, and thank, Daniel for his posting with [the pictures of straight couples in bed in them]. You might get one or two people shake their head a little at those pics, at worse, but you'd never get them writing to the editor about them. It's a double standard.

I also explained to him about why the bed. The photographer stressed over and over, we want you to be as natural as you are in your real life for this. Well since I don't have a TV (which you all have heard a gazillion times by now), I never sit downstairs on the couch just to hang out. Most people sit there in front of the TV and do that. I don't. I spent 95% of my life in the bedroom in which that bed is, as it's where my computer is. There are no chairs in that room other than the chair at my desk where the computer is. When we do crossword puzzles upstairs, we do them on the bed.

He (the editor), who by the way is married (presumably straight) with two kids, and he said, "I think the saddest part of these people being so upset about what to say to their children is the lack of recognition that it is a great opportunity to talk to their kids."

During the course of the conversation with him, I mentioned my disappointment in the writer's failure to include the point I feel the strongest about, which is that my experience has been that the more comfortable I am talking about my boyfriend/significant other/partner or other "gay things," the more comfortable I find the receiver. I think we, as gay, people play some part in this "awkward silence." I was disappointed that that point didn't make the article. He suggested that I call the writer to tell her that.

I had a good conversation with Karen, reiterated that point, and she said that she would pass that on to the, I think she called her, the assistant features editor, who will be writing the response in the Sunday piece in case she can work that in. She didn't make any promises about it, and I will consider it a bonus if it's in there.

I, of course, also pointed out the inconsistency of boyfriend/partner in the article, that "stunning people" comment in the caption (which she told me she had absolutely NO input on), and that I didn't like how she made is sound like it happens to me more than it does. She apologized, and assured me she didn't mean to do that, and I believed her, though I don't expect most people to as they weren't involved in the entire conversation.

So, anyhow, I've had a couple of funny emails from my friends, which said:

....how shocking!
Not two men in bed, but that they are listed as partners. John!
When did this happen? And why weren't we invited to the wedding?


"I'm still trying to get past "Martin, 47". That smacked me out of nowhere w/ your youthful good looks."


in response to all of the letters to the editor: "apparently you still haven't managed to stun folks into silence. ;p"


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Jon Bitner - Mebane, NC
Response Summary: Actually...

...at our monthly RTP EAGLE lunch gathering today, John mentioned that the folks at the N&O told him that they receive letters and calls almost weekly from some people complaining about pictures of models in lingerie and underwear ads for the local department stores.

The concern here, as I see it anyway, is if there's any difference in the criteria the editorial staff at the paper uses to decide which letters they deem worthy of actually publishing in the paper vs which letters simply wind up in the circular file.


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
[Straight Ally] Kevin Myers - Raleigh, NC
Response Summary: my Letter to the Editor


I get that you are not happy with the way the article was written but I wanted to support the idea of it. Here is what I just sent in:

The reaction of some readers to your Thursday article on homosexuality in the Life section made me chuckle. Evidently they just read the N&O for the pictures. If they read the content of the article, then the point was obviously lost. Despite our discomfort, our gay and lesbian neighbors are just trying to be themselves, not trying to offend or upset.

It is my hope that one day we can get past our fear of people that are different from us, and recognize that in every one of our neighborhoods across the Triangle there are people that could add value and richness to our lives if we would engage them as friends and neighbors, rather than as “the other.”

I appreciate the N&O adding to the on-going discussion, and helping us to better understand some of the struggles that our neighbors deal with as they go through Life. I can think of no more appropriate section of the paper to generate this dialog.


Main Topic Gotta love the media...
Jennette Banks - Raleigh, NC
Response Summary: Thanks Kevin

I am reminded again how important our straight allies are to our community. Especially when they can respond in a reasonable manner to the attacks from the non-allies in the straight community.

I am so emotionally involved with this I cannot formulate a helpful reply myself. I have my own problems with the N&O's coverage of the local GLBT community and the way the N&O panders to its conservative, evangelical, right-wing base in the Triangle.

And speaking of the Life section, I don't know what these people are all upset about. The Life section had one article about gay people (with a very cute picture, I thought) in yesterday's issue. Today, as it is every Friday, the Life section is devoted entirely to religion. I am offended almost every Friday when I read it, as certain opinion columns often contain opinions about the sinful nature of homosexuality according to religion (that would be Christianity, the only religion that gets major coverage in the Friday Life section, as well as the rest of the paper).

So, in response to that, do I cancel my subscription? Not at all, because once in a lifetime we get a shocking picture of two fully-clothed men in bed doing the crossword puzzle.

We're here, we're queer, give us a four-letter word for "get used to it."

Perhaps I am being too threatening here; but I can't help it, lesbians are just that way.
Tags: advocacy, newsandobserver, plays

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