ColumnsWhat A World

What A World: The Whatties

The best, the worst, the most, and the rest.

By Nancy Ford

NancyFord at deskDust off that tuxedo and get out those acceptance speeches: it’s time for the First Annual Whattie Awards.

Obviously named for the title of this column (which I thank some of you for choosing as your favorite part of OutSmart in this month’s Gayest and Greatest survey. Check’s in the mail), The Whatties recognize those stories, occurrences, and general freaks of nature that have seized our attention in the past year.

Best News Story that We Thought Was a Setup for an April Fool’s Joke But Was Actually True: Despite warnings of God’s disapproval from Midwestern fundamentalists, Iowa legalized gay marriage. Yet, curiously, Des Moines still stands.

Best Infectious Disease That Was a Threat to Mankind, Then Wasn’t, Then Was: Swine Flu. Rumors that the Centers for Disease Control is advocating the manufacture of full-body condoms are found to be unsubstantiated, but highly amusing.

Best Performance by a Congressional Chief of Staff: As a speaker at September’s Values Voters Summit held in Washington, DC, Michael Schwartz, chief of staff for Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK), insisted that straight pornography makes people gay. This concept does not reflect my personal experience: straight porn did not make me gay. But it’s fair to say that straight porn has kept me gay.

Best International Security Challenge to a U.S. President Elected After the Revolutionary War: Barack Obama vs. Somali pirates.

Runner-up: In March, while inspecting bags at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, security officers mistook a traveler’s 12-inch, aluminum sex toy for a weapon of mass destruction. The difference between this incident and those that happen every single day to embarrassed flyers is the fact that this time, the traveler, a porn producer flying in from Rio de Janeiro, was prohibited from taking the shiny mini-missile aboard because it posed a security risk. 

Best Collection of Complimentary Sex Toys: Airport security officers, probably.
Runner-up: My ex.

Biggest disappointment in costuming: Somali pirates. There wasn’t a single eyepatch or shoulder-riding parrot in the whole lot of them.

Best Hat: Aretha’s, at the presidential inauguration.
Runner-up: Kate Gosselin. Oh, wait; that’s her hair. Never mind.

Best Makeover: Susan Boyle. After wowing the world and moving millions to tears with her amazing voice, Boyle got de-frumped and returned to the spotlight with a new hairdo, wardrobe, and album, following a stint in an institution.
Runner-up: Whitney Houston. After wowing the world and moving millions to tears with her amazing voice, Houston got de-Bobby Browned and returned to the spotlight with a new hairdo, wardrobe, and album, following a stint in an institution.

Best Reason to Wait Patiently to Use Your Office Restroom, and Then Nonchalantly Mention It in Casual Conversation with Your Friends: Because U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) was in there changing clothes between fundraising gigs.

Most Homoerotic Commercial: Quizno’s talking toaster-oven commercials, in which the randy appliance breathlessly begged his sandwich-loving co-star to “put it in me, Scott,” giving new life to the phrase, “hide the salami.”
Runner-up: National Organization for Marriage’s “The Gathering Storm,” a glossy, misleading antigay commercial complete with thunderous special effects. But no effects were special enough to butch up the commercial’s male actors who, though forecasting the perils of queer marriage, set off worldwide gaydar screens clangclangclanging like the proverbial trolley.

Best Reclamation of a Term: Ultra-conservatives protesting that they are “Taxed Enough Already” proudly began referring to themselves as teabaggers, prompting former Idaho Republican senator, Larry Craig, to wonder what all that airport fuss was about.

Best Symbolic Threat: California resident Melissa Etheridge vowed to stop paying state tax after her state’s Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, which prohibits same-sex partners there from legally marrying. If all of California’s same-sex couples followed suit, the Sunshine State would look a lot less shiny. A whole lot less shiny. More like Mississippi, but with better grammar.

Best Bong Hitter: Michael Phelps. The world record-smashing Olympic swimmer lost millions of dollars in endorsements after being caught by phone camera at a party sucking on the business end of a smoldering bowl of weed. Now we know how he was able to hold his breath so long: practice.

Best Resignation: In March, James Dobson relinquished his post as chairman of the board for Focus on the Family, the vehemently antigay organization that he founded more than 30 years ago. Among other memorable sure-fire fundraising quips, Dobson omnisciently said, “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.” (The Daily Oklahoman, Oct. 23, 2004).
Runner-up: Lovestruck South Carolina governor and lothario Mark Sanford (pending).

Best Obvious Observation: In May, determined, based on data mined from Craigslist’s “men seeking men” listings, that Houston is home to a disproportionate number of bottoms. As long as we each have one…


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