Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lexington magazine bans any mention of gay people.

Nougat, a Lexington magazine bans any mention of gay people, because such talk is "obscene".

From BlueGrassRoots:

About a week and a half ago, I pitched an idea to one of my editors about writing a review about my little visit to the Crazy-Ass Creation Museum.

My editor wrote me back saying that Nougat will no longer make any reference to "controversial" subjects, so they could not do any story on the museum. In fact, she specifically said that Nougat will now refuse to run any article that talks about "religion, gays or abortion".

I replied, "so you're an alternative independent magazine, yet you refuse to even mention women's reproductive freedom, attacks on science and human reason, and the denial of civil rights for an entire class of citizens? ........ Interesting."

She responded by saying that they've tried that "edgy" stuff before, but they're now going to cover safe topics so they can get more advertising dollars. Additionally, she said that since they're starting to mail to one Lexington zip code, they could be sued by someone for "corrupting their children".


Leave your comments here and we will forward them to Nougat Magazine, or click here to email them yourself!

UPDATE: You can see the editor's comments below.

The editor stated "Because we have chosen to mail to 40502, we have to watch what we say, because one complaint to the postmaster general about profanity or X rated material, could get us put out of business, and I won't risk that."

The editor notes this about the contributor: "Nothing I do makes him happy. If I edit his writing, I am censoring him. So it was easier to cut him, and frankly, given the headache he has become, we may just leave it that way."

Our question to the editor: So long as the article does not include profanity, and you want to have an "edgy stuff" section, what is the problem? Especially if you print "Opinion" above the article.


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

fuck them!

adam said...

What is this magazine? I think we should all email the managing editor and say to hell with them.

Jason said...

I emailed the managing editor for official comment on the matter. i also contacted friends of mine who are artists, actors, band members, restaurant owners, and boutique owners to suspend advertising in their magazine until we hear for sure. I'm not sure the nature of a media buy for the magazine but if they maintain their stance, my friends have already said they will not renew advertising.

trent said...

I emailed them also. I have seen some stupid and shitty things in my life but this is just plain stupid. So do they think they can get away with this?

Jason said...

From the editor:

We absolutely do not have an anti-gay stance. What we do have is the desire to publish an arts and entertainment magazine (which we have been for two years now) and not delve into politics. I objected to two articles that used terminology such as blowjob, fuckwad, anal sex, and anal tearing. I also have asked our writers to refrain from including sexual content, as well as profanity and anything that smacks of bigotry in any form. I consider bashing anyone's religion, be it Buddhist, Wiccan, Methodist or Muslim, etc, to be bigotry. One is just as bad as the next and I don't want to go there. I am personally against all bigotry. That is what being a liberal is all about. If no one is using my tax dollars to promote their religion, or forcing it on anyone, I consider it their own private business, and hope mine is left to my own private conscience.

Because we have chosen to mail to 40502, we have to watch what we say, because one complaint to the postmaster general about profanity or X rated material, could get us put out of business, and I won't risk that. There are folks here who would like nothing better than to hurt us and rid them selves of some competition. Our mission is to provide affordable advertising to non-profit groups and small business, and to spread art throughout Lexington. If we offend or turn people off, we won't have the chance for them to read our magazine and learn about the arts, and possibly become arts supporters.

Nougat started out as an edgy and urban publication. My own focus has always been the Arts, but our first editor also want to include the edgy stuff. We found Lexington pretty much hated us. We were thrown out of numerous locations, and couldn't sell ads. No ads, no paper. We have to be able to pay our bills. And we can't create art lovers with no readers, or no paper. So we made the decision to become arts focused and cut the edgy stuff.

I walked next door and discussed this with my friend and neighbor, who happens to be gay, and he laughed, and said" but you are an arts magazine!" Really, that is very obvious to anyone who has been paying attention for the past couple of years. We gradually cut out the sexual content, homosexual and straight, and all the profanity, the overt political coverage, and have greatly increased our arts coverage.

We are considering developing a new column putting forth a respectful debate on issues of the day similar to Sheilds and Brooks on The Lerher news hour. We haven't got it locked down yet, but it won't include ranting or name calling. Just an informed and diplomatic discussion designed for each side to persuade those who disagree with them, without reducing ourselves to childish finger pointing. We are interested in ideas and solutions rather than ranting. And politically, we would like to mainly affect issues about which we can actually have influence such as mountaintop removal and downtown development. I really don't think the national politicals care much about what Nougat thinks. But we might include some national debate of local interest. It is up in the air right now.

The writer who is having a problem with us turned his article in at the last minute last month, despite my numerous asking as to whether he was sending an article. By the time I got it, we were down to the wire and I only had a 1/2 page left, which holds 800 words max. He was over a week late. I asked him to cut his over-1300-word article down to 800 words. He cut it to over 1100, and when I asked again, he cut it to over 900. It just wouldn't fit and I had to use an article that had come in on time, and that was the correct number of words to fit the available space. Nothing I do makes him happy. If I edit his writing, I am censoring him. So it was easier to cut him, and frankly, given the headache he has become, we may just leave it that way.

rita said...

Well i say the editor is lying. I do not believe the statement from the editor. If they are going to have a section for current issues they should not stop their writers from publishing their articles.

Also what is so special about area code 40502 that the editor is so worried about?

Anonymous said...

I thought The Press was about Diversity and Inclusion, it's "free" after all. Not exclusion and bigotry

james said...

"'Nougat' is a term used to describe a variety of similar confectioneries made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios or hazelnuts are common, but not peanuts) and sometimes chopped candied fruit. The consistency of nougat can range from chewy to hard depending on its composition."

That's the beginning of the Wikipedia article on the term "nougat." I notice that nougat can contain a lot of nuts, which might explain the mentality of the editor, but it sometimes includes fruits that have been chopped up --- which could explain why they are not accepting any articles from gay people.

Personally, I have always thought nougat was a kind of bland substance, which is what the magazine sounds like its aiming toward, so maybe it's aptly named.

Also, the confection's substance can be "chewy or hard," which goes along with the editor's way of thinking being hard to swallow.

What is the circulation of the magazine "Nougat?" Is it really worth the trouble of our energy? That's sort of the way I feel about the candy. No matter how much effort you put into making it or consuming it, it usually leaves you unsatisfied and wondering why you bothered with it at all.

james said...

I notice that Nougat's calendar listings are made up of people who have purchased advertising. (You buy an ad, you get a calendar listing "free"). So one would assume that the following venues, which are listed in the calendar, buy ads:

IN LOUISVILLE:
Brown Theatre
Executive Bowl
The Belvedere
Headliners
The Palace
Freedom Hall
KY Center for the Performing Arts (Whitley Hall)
Waterfront Park
The Jazz Factory

IN CINCINNATI AREA:
Blue Ash Sports Center
Top Cat's Club
Southgate House (Newport)
Mad Hatter (Covington)
Madison Theater (Covington)
Memorial Hall
Poison Room

IN LEXINGTON:
Icehouse
The Dame
Buster's
Mecca
Rupp Arena
KY Theater
UK Singletary Center
Tarr Distillery
Natasha's Cafe

IN INDIANAPOLIS
Verizon Wireless Music Center

INDIVIDUAL PERFORMERS
Gabe Swain, UK grad student/Lexington musician
Dave Condra, WRFL and The Belfry performer

Maybe these venues and individuals should be contacted and made aware that they are helping support a homophobic arts and culture magazine, Nougat.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

There is something 'off' about the editor going into the story about the gay neighbor not having a problem with these policies. If one gay person they know says it's okay, it's okay? So... is the original claim true? Does the magazine have a policy against mentioning gay people?

melody said...

ya the editor has a gay friend who was opposed to this. right. screw this little stupid magazine and the horse it rode in on.

Media Czech said...

Hey folks, the "obscene" writer here.

Just here to tell how full of shit the "editor" is (she is the 50% owner, she has never edited anything in her life). She says the only reason the column was cut was that there suddenly wasn't "room" for the column that I have had in there for the last 14 monthly issues.

Well, I asked her if she would publish the column in the next issue and she explicitly said no. So it is quite obviously a ban on the very mention of gay people. Her emails to me were quite explicit that such "sex talk" was obscene.

I'll have a post on this tomorrow detailing the whole story.

And some good news, W Weekly has agreed to run the column that they censored. In fact, I will now be writing a weekly political column for them, so go send kudos to W and Smiley Pete Publishers.

www.bluegrassroots.org is my blog.

Media Czech said...

additionally, this is an email I sent to the Nougat staff in response to the editor when she tried to imply false things about me in an email explaining to the staff why mentioning gays was now banned from Nougat.

Well, I wasn't going to include any of the other staff in this, but I feel I
have to respond since I have been included in this email and it seems to be
suggesting several things about me that aren't true.

This email seems to imply that I used profanity in my article, which I didn't.
It also implies that I was rude, which I wasn't. It also implies that I chose
to include all of you, which I most certainly didn't.

Additionally, the email she cites that was written to me was the one AFTER all
of this had happened, and was quite "selective" in the information she passed
on to me about what topics we are now banned from referencing, because we "have
no say in them and can't make a difference in them". Apparently, gay rights is
a "national" issue, which is not relevant to us in Lexington and KY. This is
despite the fact that a horde of bigots are trying to deny domestic partner
benefits to employees at UK and UL. This is despite the fact that Bush
nominated a lunatic anti-gay bigot from Lexington who thinks that homosexuality
is a disease that must be cured as America's new Surgeon General and the fact
that our "liberal" Herald Leader decided to ENDORSE him despite this fact,
giving in to the bigots who we must be careful to appease, otherwise, they
might not read Nougat or advertise with us.

Since I write a media column, I'd love to write a column pointing out the
cowardly caving in of the Herald Leader to the repugnant bigots who think that
the gays in Lexington and KY are second class citizens, diseased monsters who
must be denied rights. I'd love to fucking name the names of these people and
call them out.

Unfortunately, Nougat is not a publication that thinks this is important or
thinks that our community can do anything to fight against this. After all,
this is a "national" issue, not a "local" one. Such opinions are explicitly not
allowed in Nougat, as you can see in this email that Miki sent me.

"While I agree it is a farce, we are avoiding like the plague
religious issues. It alienates both readers and advertisers, and we
are working really hard to keep and enlarge our advertising pool. So
we aren't mentioning things like abortion or religion or the gay
issue etc... Even though it would be interesting to do those stories,
and we think they are important. We are basically sticking with the
arts and local issues like downtown and the environment and
preservation, etc... Those are areas where we really can have an
impact and make a difference. The national issues are well covered in
a large variety of media."

Additionally, Miki thinks that Amber didn't know what she was doing apparently,
publishing all that "edgy" stuff and driving Nougat into bankruptcy.

"Actually since our reorganization, we are an arts magazine. We tried
all that edgy stuff when Amber was here, and about went
bankrupt--with my money on the line. So we are continuing with the
arts and some local issues. Since we are mailing the magazine, we
have to watch carefully what we say, since we are going uninvited
into people's homes. It is different than the Herald Leader, which
they buy and have delivered. Or what we used to be when people picked
us up when they chose to. We are barging right in, and if we say or
do anything that they feel may offend them or corrupt, so to speak,
their kids, we could be sued. So we are sticking with arts and
entertainment, and local issues which are mostly non-partisan. We can
discuss street people, or green space, or traffic, or building codes,
or any of those issues. But we are avoiding anything that might land
us in court."

So, while I had no intention to spread the word on this to any of the staff,
since I have no been thrown into this I feel that I had to correct the record
so that everyone knows the whole story.

Media Czech said...

Here is the e-mail exchange that we had in response to that:

Her:

"We can't really affect national
issues
. We are too small. But we can have an effect on lots of local issues. I am not Anti-Gay as you are implying. I know that that is an issue we can't do anything about and one that offends a great many
people, based on the response we got when we approached it in
Nougat's early days."

Me:

"It is most certainly NOT a national issue. Are you SERIOUS?? Try telling that to Lexington's gay community. And we CAN do something
about it .... If you don't understand why I an making this an issue, you obviously didn't read the column that I sent you."

Her:

"Joe, we don't publish anything having to do with sexuality. ... All this discussion isn't going to change anything. We don't do sex. We don't do profanity, and we are sticking with local issues. All magazines have parameters that their writers work within."

Me:

"its not about SEX. It's about CIVIL RIGHTS"

Jason said...

well the reason I posted the email was not to exonerate Nougat but to give them an opportunity to articulate an official stance. I cannot blame the editor for wanting to produce a non-obscene, unbiased publication. I can however fault her for using her own judgment as to what is "offensive" and obscene. I asked her about covering art that is perhaps homoerotic, political in nature, deals with sex or sex abuse, or taboo subjects, which, lets face it most art does. She claimed that she had faith that her writers and artists would come up with creative ways to handle the issues, but did admit that some were going to be too divisive to cover. So, word to Lexington artists...if, and only if you have boring still life's or watercolors of kittens will your "art" be covered. Please do not try to affect the world or change things with your "art". Screw Nougat. I wholeheartedly support an advertisers boycot.

Anonymous said...

It's so wonderful to discover that the kind overseers of thought at Nougat have in mind the protection of the frail sensitivies of us folk living in the 40502 zip code. Pretty clear that they don't have much of a clue. It's just a crass and very petty attempt to hawk ads to businesses seeking the purchasing power of disposable incomes.

Jason said...

Nevertheless, I must chastise some of the posters for immediately coming out against Nougat before you had heard/read their official stance. Once we start believing everything we read that supports our view of the world without looking into the reasoning or explanation of the other side, we become no better than those who struggle to keep us down. Please take a little extra time to read, write, research and learn. Have a good weekend all.

Anonymous said...

Oh good grief, Jason. Save the lecture. Reading (or attempting to read) nougat is somewhat like the experience of eating cotton candy. Nothing much there.
As a resident of the 40502 zip code area, I'd have to say that these evident dilettantes have totally misread the neighborhood - Kenwick, in particular. It would seem more appropriate to be concerned about the reactions of Southsiders than those of the more progressive bunch living in the Ashland/Chevy Chase/Kenwick zone.
Anyway, it doesn't matter. None of this matters, really.

Media Czech said...

And just to clarify, Nougat's "editor" believes the following are "national" isuues, because there are none of those icky gay people in Lexington that are denied such rights:

- Accidental death benefit for the surviving spouse of a government employee;
- Appointment as guardian of a minor;
- Beneficial owner status of corporate securities;
- Bill of Rights benefits for victims and witnesses;
- Consent to post-mortem examination;
- Control, division, acquisition, and disposition of community property;
- Criminal injuries compensation;
- Death benefit for surviving spouse for government employee;
- Disclosure of vital statistics records;
- Eligibility for housing opportunity allowance program of the Housing, Finance and Development Corporation;
- Exemption from claims of Department of Human Services for social services payments, financial assistance, or burial payments;
- Exemption from conveyance tax;
- Funeral leave for government employees;
- Income tax deductions, credits, rates exemption, and estimates;
- Insurance licenses, coverage, eligibility, and benefits;
- Legal status with partner’s children;
- Making partner medical decisions;
- Payment of worker's compensation benefits after death;
- Permission to make arrangements for burial or cremation;
- Right to inherit property;
- Rights and proceedings for hospitalization and treatment (both voluntary and involuntary);
- Spousal privilege and confidential marriage communications;
- Tax relief for natural disaster losses;
- Right to marry someone out of the country, and bring them back here to the U.S.

Again, why in the world should I allow someone to publish this stuff in my magazine? I mean, its not like there are any gay artists or writers in Lexington that might contribute to or read an "Arts" Magazine. This is a "national" issue that doesn't concern people in Lexington. Therefore, its no problem if I prohibit any mention of this in my magazine.

ugh...

Anonymous said...

Well, M.C., as the man said, "I feel your pain." Again, as a 40502 res, it could be asked who on earth these poor misguided unfortunates feel they must protect? What they have revealed --and we see-- is a ready willingness to sell out editorial integrity in the interest of attempting to appeal to an upscale readership that is of interest to monied advertisers. The real knee-slapper here is the indication that these folks don't see the irony in this nonsense!

trent said...

Hey Media Czech, thank you for your comments. I have something to say to Nougat's "editor" and it is FUCK you! I will call everyone that places an ad in that magazine and tell them the kinda of people they are giving money to.

Anonymous said...

If you wish to contact Nougat advertisers A good list would be:
Lindsay Wilson College 859-967-9443
Sandy's Sewing Center 859-260-2003 Creation Gardens 859-519-7025
Music Go Round 859-495-2199
Kentucky Solar Living 859-200-5516
Mountian Springs Inn 606-965-2789
Farmers Bank & Trust 859-388-9360
ILO Boutique 859-233-9778
Berea Welcome Center 800-598-5263
The Black MArket 859-281-1421
South Hill Gallery 859-253-3885

Anonymous said...

Advertisers Cont.

Nutrition & You Health Center 859-254-4492, Level 3 Art 859-231-8197, The Kentucky School of Craft 606-487-3410, CD Central 859-233-3475, Pops Resale 859-254-7677, Liquor Barn 859-223-1400, Michlers Florists 859-254-0383, Premiere Hoome Video 859-269-0884, Daffodils 859-252-3436, grotto 859-266-8008, you&me photos 404-735-5381, Lexington Farmer's Market Acupuncture KY 859-273-1011, John's at Lexington Green 859-252-0464, Richmond Area Arts 859-624-4242, Geekz or Hire 859-271-5264

Gabe Swain said...

I write the gigbites article and I have to say for the record, in response to the supposition that all venues featured in the article buy advertising and are thus featured, that that is completely false. We write about shows that we think will be good shows - period! Its not like we are getting paid, so why would we play that game. Also, the whole world is not a conspiracy to piss you off. And congratulations on having enough spare time to sit around and pout about how shitty things are for you. Seems like with all that time you could already be doing something else productive.

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