Judgement Day: Special Edititon (You Decide!): Entertainment Weekly “Trespasses” in Sensitive Territory

In a bit of breaking news I find both interesting and conflicting, Entertainment Weekly posted a review of the new Adam Lambert album. “Trespassing” this afternoon that has fans in an outrage! On a historic day when U.S. President Barrack Obama officially stated his stance in support of marriage equality, igniting hope in millions of people, a few paragraphs by writer Melissa Maerz is under storm for what  many feel were homophobic comments used in describing her thoughts on Lambert’s latest offering, in stores on May 15th, 2012.

Read the article below. In case it gets pulled from their website I grabbed a screenshot.) 

Original Source Link: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20594232,00.html

While the tone of the article seems to be genuinely trying to make light of the ideas being presented, in the course of a few sentences, Maerz makes a lot of generalizations. (i.e. An artists sexual preference usually is indicative of their musical genre, Lambert’s first album “For Your Entertainment” pandered to a straight audience, Gay people aren’t into classic rock, etc.)

While I agree that the article is shallow in it’s belief of these ignorant generalizations, I find pause in the question of whether or not the content is homophobic. I certainly don’t get the impression from reading the article that it’s voice is anti-gay and wouldn’t classify any of the generalizations as “hate speech” but the tone is decidedly condescending. As an out and proud gay man I wouldn’t have been surprised if this article had been written by one “of us”. Believe me, these kinds of stereotypes exist all too often even within our own community but the fact is that the sexuality of the writer behind these words doesn’t justify nor negate the un-professionalism of this piece any more than Lambert’s sexuality determines the relevance or quality of his music. The bottom line is that a journalist for a national magazine should exercise more tact. I would expect that even if this got past some decision makers that at the very least EW’s editors would have the sense to feel the review treads into a few places it never should and drew the focus a little more onto the album than on Lambert’s sexuality and fashion sense.

So in this special edition of Judgement Day, the readers decide! It’s our first ever poll so you can weigh in below! Feel free to add your comments if you’re feeling passionate! I love discussion and feedback.

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22 thoughts on “Judgement Day: Special Edititon (You Decide!): Entertainment Weekly “Trespasses” in Sensitive Territory

  1. LisaW says:

    This is a music review. To the extent that for example Outlaws of Love is on there Adams’s sexuality can have a place in the discussion.

    So many people seem to think that homophobia has to represent hate of some kind but no, its the word to describe the prejudice and discrimination against gay people. Its a bad word in word in my opinion, it needs an “ist” like a racist.

    Racists often do no see themselves as such because they dont “hate” black people and similarly so many people say I dont hate gay people I “tolerate” “them”.

    But once a person is part of “them” and is seen only through the prism of this view that is prejudice and discrimination.

    This article starts right off by declaring this about a BIG GAY ALBUM.

    If EW write its next Rhianna review and the BIG BLACK ALBUM people would lose their shit.

    The entire review is then seen through the GAY prism, was straighter with FYE now out of the closet with OOL, its “fabulous” code word for gay, and lets not even get started on the S&M reference.

    Adam is gay ergo, his album is gay.

    Adams fans have seen this time and time and time again. Sorry, its bull shit, its homophobic and it needs to stop.

    • Love all of your comments, Lisa! Very good point, no publication in their right mind would EVER refer to a Rihanna release as “black club music” and EW really were careless in pulishing it. While obviously racism and homophobia are different problems with similar symptoms, it’s unfortunate that at large, society doesn’t seem to be as aware of the may ways that they cultivate it or active in abolishing it. Thanks again for commenting!

    • shaunna says:

      exactly.

    • LisaW You really nailed it. I want to say I definitely did not see in any way that Maerz was trying to make light of ideas, In fact I found it to be very mean spirited.I have never seen such a slap down of an artist and all because he is gay and it seemed personal to her. The whole article was her judgment of Adam and had nothing to do with the music. Her mindset precluded any legitimate review. To her the only thing that saved this album were others that she feels had control over the songs she approved of. No way would she give credit to Adam for anything. It is so laughable when she says that Adam played to the the straight crowd with FYE. His cover so confirms that, Right!. She had one erroneous fact after another. God she never even listened to FYE, but wrote as if she was an authority on it. “Fever” and the non neutral pronoun showed how really sloppy she was in writing this piece. The topper for me was that this person has no depth at all. She totally dismissed every ballad and the whole craziness of the word Chokehold as being some S&M safety code word said everything. She really is a lunatic! I totally blame EW. I have to assume they have editors that look at what goes into their mag. This just makes it even more egregious. This is not the first time they have taken a slap at Adam and thought it was so funny when it was not, but this time they have gone too far. I hope enough people cancel their subscription because I think that is the only thing that is way they will respond and take responsibility for this bias piece of trash! People think it is ok because she gave it a B- and liked 3 songs. I say she only liked these songs because of the people Adam worked with. She just wants to appear cool and that is how these people are regarded in the music world. She definitely did not want to diss them. Only Adam gets that. I have never been so repulsed by anyone writing a review as I was of this.

  2. The EW article was rude, just rude! It wasn’t a review about the music, and there were inaccuracies proving that the reviewer has spent little time doing homework.
    How could ANYONE feel no emotion for the second half of the album? Really? Clearly this person has NO understanding of the life of an LGBT person. Or has no heart.

    • I think “rude” is a perfect description! In one breath she’s applauding his making an album of “gay-club-music” (apparently all Gay artists are destined to…) and in the next she’s discrediting the pain and emotion many GLBT people feel as they struggle to find their place in the world. The fact is, being gay isn’t all flashy fun and circuit parties but this reviewer, like a good portion of the public, only want to be faced with an out, gay star who is happy to be the “comic relief” and bring the good times and the funny. They don’t want to see the personal, human side.. and to me, that’s what the reviewers disdain for the emotional songs sounds like.

    • adiisp says:

      AND, by the way, the second half of the album is something I listen to while lying in bed with my eyes closed, or while creating a new dance sequence on the floor of my living room (By The Rules) – all instances where my heart simply aches and the feelings take over…… and oh, I’m not gay. But would I be stereotyping if I said that for me, personally, whenever I want to be educated, and find sensitive and intelligent people, they usually are? I’ve learned so much over the past couple of years and even healed complexes I had.

  3. Peacevehicle says:

    Honestly if the review was written by an LGBT reviewer as opposed to a straight female, I at least might not be outraged per say by the characterization of Trespassing as a Big Gay Club album. Adam Lambert has said himself in interviews that he wrote some of the songs with the Gay clubbing community in mind. But the reviewer is not just saying this is a club album, she is saying something like “finally he wrote “teh gay” album he was supposed to.” Wow. Really? Presumptuous much? (Maybe I take being an ally too seriously, but I think a little bit of humility should be part of the package?).

    She makes her assumption clear when she goes on to say he was “flirting with the straight crowd” by including classic rock guitars in For Your Entertainment. (Somewhere Rob Halford is laughing…) She also calls Adam to task for using gender neutral pronouns. Whoops my bert may be showing, but I remember talk that “Fever” was kept off the radio in the states (despite being a Lady Gaga jam sung by a singer with world wide hit single) because of a masculine pronoun: “There he goes, my baby walks so slow…”

    The presumption, the depressingly segregated view of human musical tastes, & the… meanspiritedness? make all the little “purple eye liner,” freak flag, and closet references sting not zing IMO? The worst for me is the ending. I love Underneath — I think it’s one of the most beautiful vocals I’ve ever heard — the courage of its vulnerability and the power of its intimacy leave me breathless. But even if the reviewer found it ewwwwy and OTT, she might have at least noticed that the lyrics put it firmly in line with Trespassing, Outlaws of Love as one of the songs that address the loneliness of being dehumanized and marginalized. “Everyone wants to talk about a freak, no one wants to dig that deep…” She calls it “laughable.” Ok that’s her opinion. But “Cheer up, Glammy. It’s nothing a little makeup remover can’t fix.”?? Tell that to North Carolina.

    I agree with Adam Lambert’s tweet re the review: “eeeeew yeah she comes across as pretty ig’nant, huh? Haha.” At least thanks to the POTUS, EW picked a good day to look real bad 😀

    (Non homophobia related irritants: so many inaccuracies, argh. And her ears are all wrong. “Shady” =/= industrial, there is more Prince than Scissor Sisters in “Kickin in”, mutter, mutter, mutter :DDD /end overinvested fan blather but you did ask…)

    • Thanks so much for adding your thoughts! My favorite moment in your comment was:

      “Cheer up, Glammy. It’s nothing a little makeup remover can’t fix.”?? Tell that to North Carolina.

      Well said!!! *applause* 🙂

      I loved Adam’s response, because it showed that while he thinks it was pretty dumb, he’s not taking it overly seriously. (Why should he, when so many other reviewers are raving and this is just one unprofessional steaming pile?)

  4. Marie says:

    I don’t know why, but I was expecting a review of Trespassing. Instead I got the reviewers vapid attempts at humor and in truth a poorly organized mess! I believe her job is to review music and not attempt to comment on an artists’ personal life. The reviewer has a record of being fired from various other publications and if this mess is an example of her skills, then the firings are perfectly understandable and deserved! Promoting stereotypes with ill conceived attempts at humor is the worst kind of premeditated bias!

    • It’s interesting that she’s been fired from other publications. You’d think EW might have checked her references and realized she may be a liability 😉 Thanks for commenting, Marie!

    • adiisp says:

      Umm – guys – everyone on here. I want to tell you something I’ve experienced via Adam & subsequent reviews. It happened after the Queen concerts in London. After which I began noticing things re: the media. “Premeditated bias” is the correct word. I call it “Prefabricated crap”. I was at the event: got in the vibe, experienced something very close to a miracle. The people writing these reviews have not been to the same event apparently – but the purpose seems to be disconnecting people from what they themselves have experienced there. It’s mind-boggling how this can still happen in the days of Twitter etc; however, things are a-changing and the old Media is still hanging on to trying to make people afraid, aggressive, dependent.
      I am not a believer in conspiracy theories (as I feel they’re just as disempowering), however, after these events I experienced, I began to notice, as said, the mind-boggling difference between personal take, and “professional” reviews. The fans, attendees, wrote reviews that were incalculably more coherent and to the point, and actually TOUCHED upon issues. Not to mention those of us who are actually artists and can relate to the art stuff (and more). It’s like we never had a real voice. Up until then, I still relied heavily on what these articles said. I became angry, irritated, just like you. Until I decided to just ignore these Negativity Planters – they are really sad! They will never look at the human aspect or listen/see with their own eyes, but that doesn’t mean I should let them dictate anymore – are we human or what? We should decide for ourselves how we feel about something. For me, Adam’s voice is real magic and his consciousness work is invaluable. I made a decision to stop listening to those negative thinkers whose effect is, as said, drawing me down from the kind of realizations that are possible while in a higher state of mind.

  5. Cookie says:

    I think that SHE thinks she was clever and funny. Unfortunately for Ms. Maerz, the condescending use of stereotypes is neither. She’s not required to like the music, but it does seem like she ought to actually review it given that this is, you know, a music review. She may or may not be homophobic, but she has no one to blame but herself (and maybe her editors) if people are now convinced that she is. If this a sample of her work she clearly isn’t a very good music reviewer.

  6. Jenna says:

    The writer is a douchebag with no mojo. She needs to shut up. And learn to write something intelligent and helpful – if possible.

  7. Rhonda L. says:

    This homophobic screed is a disgrace. Just one condescending, stereotypical gay joke (read: insult) after another. First he is too gay, then he’s not gay enough (since he was supposedly disengenuous for using gender neutral pronouns and “flirting” with a straight audience). This “review” is also full of completely false statements used for the express purpose of mocking Adam’s sexuality. Apparently she thinks blatant bigotry is ok as long as it’s delivered with a flippant eyeroll and a wink. The tiny minority of commenters at EW.com who think that it’s just a bunch of fanatic Glamberts whining about a low rating are totally missing the point. Even if the rating were a D-, although disappointing, would have been fine if it were supported by a substantive, relevant critique of the MUSIC. As for the supposed ‘hordes’ of bitter Glamberts: isn’t it interesting that over on Adam’s website the thread of angry fans has 60 comments – yet at EW, where the overwhelming majority of commenters are disgusted by this review, there are currently 891 posts. This homophobic, offensive excuse for journalism is unprofessional and NOT ok.

  8. outonpluto says:

    Reading that swill about a great album and a beautiful man made my heart hurt. So much wrong in that review wouldn’t know where to start. Damn – why do people write stuff like this and think it’s funny and not hurtful? EW and Maerz owe Adam Lambert an apology – big time.

  9. Seems like a completely reasonable, funny review.

Preach!

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