My husband’s letter to EW
Here is the letter my husband wrote to Entertainment Weekly, as some of you requested.
May 9, 2012
Dear Mr. Cagle,
As a long time subscriber to Entertainment Weekly, I was disturbed when I read the review of Mr. Adam Lambert’s upcoming album, Trespassing, released today with a byline by Melissa Maerz. In addition to factual errors which demonstrated Ms. Maerz’s lack of research into her subject, she unfortunately chose language which was a distasteful attempt at humor at best and full of homophobic slurs at worst. I would like to lodge a formal complaint and am writing to you to set the record straight.
Beginning with comments regarding Mr. Lambert’s appearance “the only American Idol alum who considers purple eyeliner a daytime look”, she continued by implying that the eyeliner suggested his sexual orientation and because of it, it was high time he made his “big gay dance club album”. To imply that Mr. Lambert should stick to the stereotype of creating dance club music because he is gay implies that gay artists should be pigeon-holed into the stereotypes society imposes upon them. She further insults gay and straight people alike by implying that Mr. Lambert was “flirting with the straight crowd, indulging in classic-rock guitars and gender-neutral pronouns on his debut, For Your Entertainment.” To suggest that classic-rock is the purvue of the straight is ignorance that should be embarrassing to you as an editor. Not only is this narrow minded attitude insulting, it is also inaccurate. If Ms. Maerz had bothered to do even the most basic research, she would be aware that one of Mr. Lambert’s most popular tracks off of his first post-Idol album was “Fever”. This very radio-friendly and catchy sure hit was not seriously considered for single release precisely because Mr. Lambert insisted on using the phrase “there HE goes, my baby” in the opening lines of the song, instead of using the safer, gender neutral “there YOU go”. She further demonstrates her ignorance of her subject by stating that Mr. Lambert came out in 2009. Anyone that does even a modicum of research on Mr. Lambert’s career knows that he has been out with his sexual orientation since high school. Clearly, accuracy is not a characteristic prized by Ms. Maerz in her music reviews.
Other factual errors in the piece include stating that “Outlaws of Love” is an anthem defending gay marriage. While it certainly can be interpreted that way, it is clearly an anthem describing the heartache of forbidden love in any form. To narrow its focus only to gay marriage is again an interpretation upon which Mr. Lambert has never insisted. In order to know this however, Ms. Maerz would have had to listen to one of the many 2-3 minute interviews where Mr. Lambert discusses his inspiration for the track. Clearly, this is too much of an investment of research time for Ms. Maerz. She continues by assuming that “Chokehold” refers to a BDSM relationship, presumably because that feeds the stereotypical and homophobic view that these type of relationships are a characteristic of the GLBT community. Again, a few minutes of research into the many interviews where Mr. Lambert has described his inspiration for his music would reveal that this song portrays the agony of being in unhealthy co-dependent relationships and the “chokehold” they can have on one’s emotional life. It would seem that Ms. Maerz is attempting to repeatedly interpret the album in the most stereotypical and devisive way. While very typical of homophobic behavior, in my opinion it should not be tolerated in journalism if the organization prides itself on integrity and accuracy.
The close of the piece is the straw that broke the camel’s back. “Too bad the ballad-heavy second half is so laughably over-the-top. By the end, our hero is wailing about fallen Towers of Babel and ripping away his flesh and bone to a ‘red river of screams.’ Cheer up, Glammy. It’s nothing a little makeup remover can’t fix,” Ms. Maerz spews. While she is certainly entitled to her opinion regarding Mr. Lambert’s music, to in any way belittle or minimize the real pain, suffering, and struggles of the GLBT community is intolerable. I have no argument with Ms. Maerz’s opinions of Mr. Lambert’s music. I take great objection to her using homophobic, unenlightened, and poorly researched generalizations and pass it off as journalism.
I am a 54 year old physician with three children, two of whom happen to be members of the GLBT community. As their father and a staunch advocate of human rights, dignity, and respect, I cannot continue to subscribe to a publication that allows such an insulting and poorly written piece to be published without any repercussion by the editorial board. Please let me know how you will proceed in this circumstance. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.