Valentine's Day traditionally brings several pages in newspapers' classified sections featuring tiny black hearts followed by romantic messages. Perhaps it's a blessing that print editions are dying – there's something creepy about all those black hearts, as if they bear a curse.
With love's promises filling our inboxes and Lent already upon us, lots of people are waiting for something. I am waiting for my boyfriend to get an immigrant visa and a job in America; for my Monopoly app to be updated with the new cat token; and for Netflix to release the second season of House of Cards, since I watched the entire first season last Saturday. While we're waiting for our ships to come in, we can busy ourselves with LGBT activism, home-improvement projects, or trading gossip and invective. It's a matter of taste, talent and available assets.
My model for gossip is Michael Musto of the Village Voice. La Dolce Musto and I are now buddies, a claim I base on his having favorited several of my smartass replies to his tweets. For example, he wrote on Feb. 5, "I just did red carpet and it was intoxicating!" To which I replied, "Cheap drunk. I say that with love! And nurturing!" He also devised a book title so perfect that I doubt I'll ever equal it: Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back. As Eve Harrington might say, an ambitious writer would do anything for a title that good – maybe even write the damn book.
As Mikey likes to say, here's my latest batch of blind gossip items: Which closeted actor shows no sense of irony playing a man with a secret gay past? Which corrupt pol's storied vindictiveness keeps many critics silent? Which legislator brings to mind a comment by my Twentieth Century American Novel teacher, "We will plumb the depths of Hemingway and find them shallow"? Which movement honchos have called for a large gay presence outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the gay-marriage arguments in March – since no one would otherwise think to show up, and dueling placards with bigoted twits from National Organization for Marriage are crucial to our litigation strategy? Who would like to thank Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo personally for his outspoken support for LGBT equality?
Okay, I don't quite have Musto's gossip style down. While I'm working on that, I'd like to comment on House of Cards, but I don't want to spoil it for other viewers. So here are some favorite lines from Kevin Spacey's Francis Underwood: "I just hate this small-ball crap." "Friends make the worst enemies." And "Never slap a man while he's chewing tobacco." Someone asked what that last line even means. I'm happy to explain. If you slap such a person, you'll get a face full of something not found in most porn videos.
Without spilling plot details, it is probably safe to make an observation on location shots. It appears that the best ribs joint in D.C. is actually in Baltimore.
While you're drooling in frustration, here are a few black-hearted valentines of my own: To the departing Pope Benedict XVI (aka Emperor Palpatine) and his bishops, who act like the world's leading victims while blaming priestly child rapes on gays. To "ex-gay" blogger Matt Moore, who was caught cruising on Grindr using his Christian Post photo. To Chris Brown, who fittingly lost a Grammy to Frank Ocean. To the person who sent me a message titled, "Emergency petition to stop radioactive silverware." To people who pad their activist résumés with other people's work.
Perhaps you suspect I have particular persons in mind with that last valentine. As Francis Underwood would say, you might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.