— A newspaper from that mammon-by-the-bay, a.k.a. San Francisco, couldn't help chastising San Diego's Union-Tribune last week over an ad for a gay-themed movie called Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss. In a story headlined "Gay near-kiss ad too hot for paper; Film promo revised in San Diego," the San Francisco Examiner detailed the fuss over the U-T's decision not to run an ad featuring what the Examiner described as "the image of two clean-cut, fully dressed young men about to kiss." Then the Examiner started in with the really low blows, describing the U-T as "the newspaper of record for California's second-largest city, where July's gay pride parade drew some 110,000 people" and quoting an ad man for the movie as saying, "It's a very tame image. There's nothing objectionable about it. I'm shocked. I wouldn't have expected it of San Diego. It does seem like there is an agenda of homophobia at the newspaper." Observing that the U-T's Sunday movie section "ran a riot of ads showing men and women kissing, and one for the movie Baseketball that shows two men, each holding two basketballs in a suggestive position," the Examiner reported that "only the San Diego Union-Tribune, owned by the Copley family, had a problem with" the kissing ad. U-T execs, the Examiner said, didn't return phone calls. (Both the Reader and the U-T were criticized by Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation [GLAAD] for not accepting lesbians almost kissing in ads for the film Erotique (in 1995) ... In yet another confrontation over kissing, San Diego TV stations have pulled the plug on an ad campaign for Virgin Cola, which features an actual gay couple getting married and kissing after they give each other rings. Another spot in the Virgin series has an aging hippie cheering Bill Clinton for his infidelities and encouraging the president to play the field even more: "You've got the power. Do it!" A third spot shows a librarian explaining the Dewey Decimal System with swear words. The spots have been a hard sell not only in San Diego, but the other four markets where the new cola is being rolled out, including New York and Boston, where some have been allowed to run with bleeps over the naughty librarian's voice.

Far out

U-T columnist Neil Morgan's wisdom on what columnists should write about, as recently told to a column writers national convention here: "If a columnist doesn't get ahead of a community, there's little reason to come to work. If a columnist gets too far ahead, there's no reason to come to work. Readers don't want to go along with you on a blood hunt every day. Not everyone is a villain. There are some good people out there, too." The remarks were reported in Editor & Publisher ... Ex-NBA player Jackie Robinson, once one of Jerry Tarkanian's biggest stars at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has bought up all the Pizza Huts in San Diego County ... Speaking of Tarkanian, his lawyer, Terry Giles of Rancho Santa Fe, is making more noise about Monica Lewinsky. Giles represented Lewinsky's one-time high-school-teacher-cum-lover who claimed she was "untruthful." Giles continues the anti-Monica theme in an interview in this week's Washington Post. "Those who know her are almost unanimous about the fact that Monica seemed to have sex on her mind," Giles says, adding that Monica was deprived of male attention while growing up. "That's what she pined for from her dad and never got, and so as a result, if she was providing sex favors to someone and they were not giving her the attention she wanted, she was not above and beyond using her street smarts to in other ways guarantee her that attention...."

Heaven's Gateway

Has Gateway Computer moved to San Diego just in time to fail? So claims Forbes magazine, which in this week's issue takes Gateway founder Ted Waitt to task for missing out on the commercial market: "Whereas Dell concentrated on the corporate market, Gateway sold mostly to individuals -- a bad mistake."... La Jolla-based evangelist Morris Cerullo is back making controversy, this time in Cleveland, where the Jewish Community Federation is complaining about a flier he mailed out to Jews, promoting an upcoming "special night to honor Israel." What is Cerullo doing in Cleveland anyway? "The Holy Spirit said to me, 'I want you to come to this city of Cleveland,' " he told the Plain Dealer. "I am going to do something very special in this city."

Contributor: Matt Potter

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