Archive for the ‘Amazon Christian Bookstore’ Category

Malachy McCourt and I discuss aging . . . and fawking.

March 23, 2010


Malachy McCourt and Perry Brass at Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble

Malachy McCourt and Perry Brass at Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble

Last night, Monday, March 22, 2010, I took part in an event at the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble called—of all things—”Nifty After Fifty,” sponsored by the Greater New York Independent Publishers Association and produced by Francine Trevens. Fantastic evening. We got about 175 people there, mostly eager to hear Malachy McCourt, our guest of honor, talk in his sweet-and-salty Irish-tweed spun voice about the simple things of life that usually aren’t. He compared same-sex marriage to Adam and Eve—an idea that would make many Fundamentalists croak. Because . . . when Adam “lay” with Eve, she had all of his DNA in him (who else’s?) . . . so “he was just about fawking himself, right—now how different is that from same-sex love and marriage?” Malachy talked about “fawking” pretty often. “Fawking,” the Irish version of carnal knowledge, always sounds so much more picturesque than the American reference to it which sounds . . . OK, vulgar. There were also scenes from a few short plays that deal with getting older and hating it (let’s be honest: you don’t have a choice in this, but you can make the most of it) from Francine’s new collection of plays, Short Plays Long to Remember. “Short Plays” contains “Bar None,” my one-act about the Mattachine Society, an early gay rights group, opening the bars in New York to gay men in 1966: something most have long forgotten.

Prior to this, a bar owner in NYC could have his license revoked simply for serving booze to anyone who even appeared queer. Of course this law was rarely enforced because so many bar-keeps routinely paid off the cops, which in turn kept the Mafia happily in the bar business.

Other readers on the program were Norman Beim, Kat George, Francine L. Trevens, Andrea Troy, Marni K.Connellyand Kay Williams.

Norman is a playwright and Kay was an actress before becoming an author (not that you can’t do both) so they read from two of Norman’s plays wonderfully. And Malachy read from “The Rocking Horse” by Daniel P. Quinn—I think you could hear Malachy McCourt read the Yellow Pages and get a kick out of it.

There was also a song, or two, from singer/lyricist Michael Colby and pianist Annie Lebeaux on a sparkly new hybrid Yamaha piano (does this mean it’s also a car?). 

As my part of the evening, I gave a talk entitled “The Erotic Life After 50.” It was actually more about The Manly Art of Seduction, but, hey, shameless self-promotion is something that gets most authors either on the bestseller list or somewhere in author hell where the company is Shakespeare and Voltaire. Why complain?

So, if you didn’t make it to B & N on a really crummy, rainy but fun night, here’s what I said.

If 30 years ago someone had told me that at 62, I’d be publishing a book called The Manly Art of Seduction, How to Meet, Talk to, and Become Intimate with Anyone, I would have said . . . of course, what else would I be doing at 62?

I came from a generation where seduction—that is, real seduction, not the TV Jell-O version of it—was a way of life. And I grew up in the Deep South where we not only depended upon the kindness of strangers, we invited it whenever we could find it.

The truth is seduction has been a wonderful part of my life, but it took me a while to figure out how it works, and how I can explain it to others so it will work for you, too. We live in what I call the “culture of rejection,” and often older people feel the sting of this. We’re overlooked, we feel rejected, and sometimes it feels that even attempting to initiate any kind of action is futile. This leads many of us into erotic shutdown: we feel that we are either too old or too “smart” to be seductive or allow ourselves be seduced.

This is sad, because the loveliness of your own inner self, which has no actual age, is being denied. Much of the Manly Art of Seduction is about being open to this authentic self inside you, and letting it open you to the seductiveness of the world—and of yourself. In other words, the seductive you is waiting to come out, and it—or you—will be successful at seduction, once you connect with it.

First, some definitions: Seduction—that’s simple: an invitation to intimacy.

Intimacy: a real closeness energized with the deeper aspects of yourself, and of someone else.

The Manly Art of Seduction gets you in contact with this deeper self through mind exercises and actual experiences. You will use this contact to give you the confidence to achieve closeness and go as far with it as you want to, or circumstances allow you to.

The world is not perfect—and neither are you—so you may strike out sometimes. But—and this is very important, so stay awake—as you become better at the Manly Art, you will find more men attractive and also attracted to you. Therefore, as you become more open to the inner beauty of yourself, a lot of other men will become attractive as well, and many of them, as you follow the techniques of The Manly Art of Seduction, will start to approach you now.

The Manly Art, using scenarios and exercises, explains how to approach men, speak to them, what’s really happening in a seductive conversation, and how to touch men physically and emotionally, becoming more intimate with them, negotiating possibilities. It also shows you how to keep rejection fears away, and maneuver a relationship into warmer and more satisfying waters.

Realistically, I tell you don’t expect clear weather all the time—there are some horses in fact who don’t want to be led to any kind of water. And I’ll tell you how to dive out of a situation just as I’ll tell you how to enter it. But there is one lesson I want you to keep no matter what: as you get closer to the real you that our relentless commercialism works so hard to keep you isolated from, you’ll learn not to reject yourself. So you’ll never beat up on yourself, feel hurt inside, and walk away.

This is at the core of the Manly Art. Now how you go from your inner self to your outer one, and then from you to him, or her, or her to her, or . . . well — seduction is universal — is laid out clearly with questions after most chapters for you to answer. So that the book also becomes a journal for your progress in Seduction.

One of my main goals is to open seduction up to everyone, especially people who feel left out, who often end up spending the night alone and feel self conscious about themselves because they are either too shy or have some aspect of themselves that they feel ashamed of. So I have a chapter on disability and seduction, as well as on weight and how we deal with that in a society obsessed with youthful slimness. I also included chapters on seduction across race lines and class lines, which sometimes feel like an even tougher barrier. And also issues like erectile dysfunction, penis size, seduction and married men, straight men, threesomes, and seduction within a relationship where sex has either become stalemated or nonexistent.

Since one of the keys to successful seduction is making yourself available, I have a chapter on seduction over dinner at your place, even if you can’t cook and your home looks like a gang of Neanderthals just left it, or what do you do when you go to his place and he’s acting like romance is just not on the menu. Turning cold potatoes into a hotter dish is at the meat of the Manly Art, but the most important thing is knowing that you are at the center of it and can bring someone else into it and love every moment of it.

If you’re intrigued about the Manly Art of Seduction, I’m co-leading a workshop on it with Jerry Kajpust on April 29, and will be happy to talk with you more about the workshop, too

PS. I want to thank Bart Greenberg from the Lincoln Center B & N’s Community Relations staff for making this event possible. Bart is the friend of many communities, and a great pal to have in the book world.

African Hate Words and What They Really Mean

January 22, 2008

“The faggot lovers Steve Parelli and Jose Ortiz arrived in Kenya and were happily welcomed by homo activists in the Country. . . These two homos proved to be quite popular with Kenyan faggots and their supporters. The reception from these Kenyans was apparently so good, the two American faggots started contemplating plans of establishing the ‘Other Sheep’ East African chapter.” from Kenyans Against Homosexuality, a blog.

I grew up in an extreme environment of violence and hatred: the American Deep South in the 50s and early 60s, in Savannah, GA, where learning not to question was an important part of learning. I was lucky, though; because I grew up Southern, Jewish, impoverished (and incredibly queer), I was able, at an early age, to question much of what was going on. In fact, I soon realized there were two “realities” then: the “reality” of the way the world was, and the reality of the way people wanted the world to be.
This second reality is an “in our own image” world: in Savannah, it was all-white, totally straight, and very Anglo-Saxon-Protestant Christian. Most kids are brought up in an “our own image” situation, but it’s becoming harder with so many different images now. But I came of age in a seething furor over preserving that “in our own image” environment.
I now see a similar process going on in many places in the world, especially in black Africa: a strange, mirror-image of Savannah where white people were taught to fear and hate blacks and homosexuals were occasionally thrown into the mix as unseen bogeymen. Presently, we experience a condition of extreme hate actions and words directed against a target of ostensibly white or Western homosexuality being seen as something alien to and infecting the purity of black Africa. This is being done often under a Christian guise, which makes me question its real meaning.

First, I have no doubts that East African homophobia plays into an “in our own image” mindset, and that “image” is free from AIDS and “righteously” monogamous. Monogamy was a goal of Christian missionary work, though much of African tribalism bridled at it. Monogamy is still not considered manly for many African men: women are to be contested for, and the more you have, the more manly you are. In the old days, Christian missionaries could attack African male promiscuity with fire and brimstone; they can’t anymore. All they can do is scream at homosexuality and its “promiscuous” sex-outside-of-marriage sinfulness, while trying to ignore male heterosexual promiscuity, especially in urban Africa. There is also the specter of Islam, a very aggressively proselytizing religion, knocking loudly at the door. Islam for centuries was very “hush-hush” about homosexuality: in fact, it was often considered merely a private alternative to strictly controlled heterosexuality. But again, today with too many images in the air, Islam has become loud and harsh about a situation it used to tiptoe around. Therefore, the question in black Africa is: who is going to hate “queers” the most, Islam or Christianity, and of course guess who will suffer the most from this hatred?

A third specter comes up: AIDS, and the embarrassing fact that AIDS started out in Africa as a heterosexual disease, that came into the human population through eating bush meat, or the flesh of primates. This fact has been scientifically proven, but that does not soften the shame and embarrassment caused by AIDS, and how that shame will (hopefully) be obliterated if it is cast onto the bodies of African gay men and lesbians, who are coming out despite the oppression they are under.
All of this is a recipe for a living hell for many lgbt people in many areas of Africa, but the worst part is not being able to speak about it, being too “politically correct” (or “polite” as we used to say in the South) to see what is under the hate language, and exposing it. A lot of Africans will be frightened to death by homophobic extremism, and many will, literally, die from it, because it answers so many needs to cover up so much. I think we need to take the cover off this as soon as possible. LGBT people in Africa need to see that they are a real part of “in our own image,” and the world needs to show this with bravery, frankness, and sincerity.

More about how I feel about subjects like this at my website,

The Christians Want to Expunge David from the Bible

April 20, 2007

If I had not read it, I would never have believed it. Amazon, working with their constant sales philosophy of “Find a hole and fill it,” has opened up a Christian Bookstore. I found this out trawling at the site for my book, The Substance of God, A Spiritual Thriller, which had a link to the bookstore. There, along with sales for books aimed at the most family-obsessed of family-destroying people, I found a URL for a discussion on gay couples in the Bible. There was of course a lead discussion about David and his love for Jonathan, and Jonathan’s love for him. I have always contended that the story of Jonathan and David is the first instance of real human intimacy in the Bible; in no other place is there a detailing of real love, attraction, and all the risks and intensities of coupling. There are wonderful examples of arranged meetings, of generically heterosexual couples who agree to bond and have children, but nowhere is there the genuine romance and tenderness of the story of Jonathan and David.

Well, the Christians don’t believe this. They want David expunged from the Bible.

Here’s a few examples, dripping from the horse’s mouths:

PSI [whose nickname is “Amazonpatroll”] says:
Will you sign my petition to have david expunged from the bible? WE MUST THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

[a reasonable reply follows]

You guys are hilarious!
I’ve always heard that there were truly stupid people in the world, but never really met them. Of course, I haven’t met you either so I guess that hasn’t changed.
Too bad David isn’t around to defend himself. With the snap of a finger and a brief whisper, 30 of his most well trained warriors would hunt you down and relieve you of the head you refuse to use. I guess that is the security of denigrating someone who’s been dead for 3000 years.

PSI says:
You gay folks can just laugh at the bible and ten [sic] see where you end up for eternity.

James Cronfel says:

[Next bit of insanity—no wonder psychotic Moslem fundamentalists are going hand-to-hand with their Christian counterparts]

project light says:
(referencing to the Quest Study Bible)
Was this relationship homosexual?
No. The Hebrew verb indicating homosexual activity is never used to describe the relationship between Jonathan and David. Their love was expressed in the form of a covenant, much as God’s relationship to Israel was. The same Hebrew word used in 1 Samuel 18:1 also describes the relationship between two countries that sign a treaty together. Elsewhere, Scripture prohibits homosexual activity (Lev. 18:22; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).

PSI [back again—one cannot keep a good idiot down] says:
The bible was censored to hide the fact that he was light in the loafers. Everything about him screams out “I’m gay!”

B. Fraser says:
Homosocial might be a more adequate description. Most military cultures have a type of homosocial emotional bonding which may or may not include actual sexual contact.

Judith A. hillard [a practical woman] says:
Loafers weren’t even a part of the dress code until the 1940s and popularized by schoolgirls in the 50s with shiny pennies.

Susan Strong [whose nickname, I learned is “Ladybracknell2”, which would make an excellent drag name in the Worldwide Imperial Court] says:

Dude, seriously?
Honestly…this is being debated?
I’m not the smartest person on earth, and certainly don’t claim to have some kind of secret knowledge about this, but I did just finish a study on the life of David. While I cannot claim to be wise, and I do not read Hebrew (although I am sigining up for a class to learn how to do so) may we consider the possiblity that is NOT a verse (or two) about homosexuality?

I mean, I have a best friend who is a woman. I love her like a sister…no, deeper than that. Sometimes there are friendships on this earth in which a connection is shared, a deep understanding. In a sense, her love is “better than my husband’s,” because she just gets things that he can’t understand. It has nothing to do with being homosexual.

Understand, I do not shake my fist at the homosexual. It’s no worse than any sin I have committed. I believe that Christianity is an equal opportunity religion. We all suck, and God loves us all.

(By the way, a kiss was a very common form of Eastern greeting/parting. Judas Iscariot greeted Jesus with a kiss…does that mean Jesus was gay? That his disciples had orgies with him? I think that that might be a bit of a stretch…)

When you read the Bible looking for justification of something, or reading something into it, you will find what you are looking for. Caananites sacraficed their children to the god Molech. It’s in the Bible. Does that mean you can justify infanticide?

[end of quoted discussions]

You can find this enlightening discussion at:

And if you want more, there is an equally revivifying bit of verbal intercourse on:

“If you don’t literally believe in the Genesis account, you can’t be a Christian”

So take that, all you ungodly scrupture-suckers! I will, of course have more to say about this at my site,, which is currently being considered for serious discussion at Jerry Falwell’s aptly named Liberty College. default page of Perry Brass site