FLASHBACKS: Remembering Sarah Pettit, Orientation at the Church of Scientology, and A.I. Gore

5 years ago
January 31, 2003 | Michael Bronski remembered the tough-as-nails, gay journalist Sarah Pettit.

“I DON’T KNOW that I’d say I enjoyed working with Sarah Pettit. One of my first dealings with her was in 1993, when she was the arts editor for Out magazine. She called me on a Monday to ask for revisions on a piece I’d written. She needed the rewrite by Wednesday. I told her that I’d do my best but that my lover, Walta, was having brain surgery on Tuesday. A shunt was being placed in his cranium to drain fluid that was building up because of an AIDS-related infection...When I was finished, she paused and said, ‘Well, that excuse might work in Boston, but it won’t fly here in New York.’

“I love telling this story — which always shocks people — because it epitomizes Sarah’s complexity. While some might have found her remark insensitive, I took it as she intended: a form of humor that people — mostly gay men — use in an attempt to make the horror of AIDS emotionally manageable.” read full article

10 years ago
January 30, 1998 | Lucky duck Mark Bazer scored a free ticket to the movie, Orientation, playing at the Church of Scientology.

“After a complete tour and a brief conversation with an L. Ron expert..., the Guy [film’s narrator] laid it on the line. ‘You stand at the threshold of your next trillion years. You can either live them in shivering darkness or in the light. The choice is up to you.’ Then we met some happy Scientologists. A plumber, a lawyer, an accountant and . . . an actor. It was Vinnie Barbarino himself. ‘What has Scientology helped me with?’ Travolta asked, grinning. ‘A better question is what it hasn't helped me with.’ Next up: Kirstie Alley. ‘Without Scientology, I can honestly say I would be dead.’ In other words, we have Scientology to thank for Veronica's Closet.” read full article

20 years ago
January 29, 1988 | In the weekly column “Spurious,” the Phoenix concluded that then-inconsequential presidential candidate Al Gore might be part cyborg.
“Beginning to end, the performance of Al Gore, who is acting more and more like the Manchurian candidate. Take it from me, when an extemporaneous speaker says that he has ‘10 reasons’ for supporting or opposing anything, and then ticks off all 10, he has either been uploaded with data or else he is just making everything up, a good bullshitter, and could keep on adding to the list all day long. In Gore’s case, however, there remains another disturbing possibility — that his wife, Tripper, or whatever her name is, is actually controlling him with the same high technology she uses to decipher rock lyrics. My vote is that he’s programmed. When Gephardt joked that Gore was acting ‘more like Al Haig than Al Gore,’ it took a full five seconds — a full ‘five Mississippis’ — for Gore to smile. The only explanation is that there was some system malfunction, or that he was on tape delay.”

25 years ago
February 1, 1983 | Alfons Heck described what it was like growing up a member of the Hitler Youth.

“My days in the Hitler Youth were happy ones...: I was young, and I was becoming a fanatic. My grandparents, who raised me, were apolitical people whose farm was better off under the Nazis. My father...and my mother had moved away from the farm to run a family business...Once...when he visited and saw me preening in my uniform, he told me I looked like a little clown. Certainly he never had my blind faith in the Fuhrer. For my part, I thought his point of view was simplistic, out of touch with the truth about the Reich: after all, he had never been to high school...He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944...but was released...He lived to tell me what a fool I had been.” read full article


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