Kevin Sweeting reports on The revenge of Jobriath, the first openly gay music star, and our growing collective appreciation for his brilliant music.
Jobriath did not pussy-foot around. While Elton John and Freddie Mercury were snugly in the closet and Klaus Nomi was nothing above 14th Street, Jobriath was unabashedly declaring himself the “the true fairy of rock ‘n’ roll.” Elsewhere, the crazed androgyny of glam was all transgression-grubbing sizzle and no steak. David Bowie was pretty deliberately fooling no one with his prep-school overtures of bisexuality and Mick Jagger and his nail polish could ride that sneer of masculine sexual aggression past any name-calling, but Jobriath? Jobriath made no attempt to pass. “Asking me if I'm a homosexual is like asking James Brown if he's black,” Jobriath told the press.
See also a recent documentary, Jobriath A.D., and this review by Marc Almond of Soft Cell. Jobriath would be getting on for 70 now, had he lived, and Sweetings' is my favorite article about him yet. Sweeting not only offers some why in addition to the usual vaguely-mysterious what, but makes a striking point about the nature of Jobriath's growing fame: that his success now is the dividend of past failure.
That said, there's something too easy about a conceptual keystone often placed in the arch of Jobriath's rise and fall:
the idea that his ostentatious homosexuality was not just a failed gambit against the times' homophobia, but that he was somehow betrayed by the inauthenticity of pop culture's contemporaneous pretensions and transgressions. That he was too glam for glam
Many misunderstood the appeal of glam, especially to young women, and Jobriath was the essential manifestation of that misunderstanding. The evasive, ambiguous, having-one's-cake-and-eating-it quality of British glam always conjured, in some, the thought that it would be better if there were a more full-throated, authentic homosexuality at large. But this idea–that sexuality maps to a binary scale with authenticity only at its extremes–is problematic for all sorts of reasons. Yet it is a significant part of why the music business thought it was onto a winner with Jobriath.
When it came to selling records, Jobriath's problem wasn't that he was too homosexual; it was simply that he wasn't bisexual enough.
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence. Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | RedditIn this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially […]
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
These days, the vape market is saturated with low-quality products, making it nearly impossible to separate the gems from the duds. The Atmos Rx Dry Herb Vaporizer stands out from crowd for two reasons: its impressive battery life and durable construction. This high-end little gadget is compact enough to fit in your pocket, and packs a powerful punch, […]
If you’re like us, you occasionally get ambitious with your dinner and try to cook multiple sides plus a main dish. These efforts usually end as a cold meal plus a pile of dishes to wash. MasterPan Multi-Sectional Meal Skillet makes it super easy to make multiple dishes at once without the hassle. This heavy gauge bottom pan […]
The Lytro Illum is our all-time best-selling camera and here’s our best deal yet. Apply the code “Lytro10” to save an extra 10% off on this camera’s mind-blowing functionality in this exclusive one day only sale.