This post isn't what you think it's about. I got the latest issue of Velonews the other day, and during the cover-to-cover perusal I saw something I didn't expect.
I've been getting Velonews for over 15 years by subscription. My wife started it after we got married, and renews it every year. I enjoy the magazine, though it wouldn't break my heart if I stopped getting it. She buys it for me because she knows I enjoy it...She's good that way.
I've written in a few times, and been published twice. Once was around 1999 when usa cycling was going through all of its reorgs and I was commenting that they (usac) didn't really seem to be paying much attention to grass roots maintenance. Another time was when I called out lennard zinn for his comparison of a 29r vs a 26" wheeled mtb. He rode two different bikes from two different manufacturers with different gear ratios and different crank lengths and then sung praises of the 29r. I told him it wasn't a fair test since he had the 29r set up for him complete with 180mm cranks, the other bike was stock, and he didn't ensure the gearing was equivalent to account for the wheel diameter difference. He replied that I was full of shit, but didn't challenge any of my criticisms.
I wrote in again last week over this:
That's a scan of page 79 of the April 2010 issue. That's an ad for a gay chat line/dating service in the upper right. (Clickie makie biggie). Some bike shops carry the magazine, drop into your LBS and see for yourself.
Now, I'm as sufferably liberal as you'll ever see. I've never made a secret about my opinion that this country should adopt a much more open - european, if you will - attitude about sex and sexuality. I believe a persons sexual preference is as mundane as their anchovy preference. Hey, those little hairy stinky abominations make me want to puke, and any food that's been prepared with them in the near vicinity should be ground up and used as fertilizer. I can _not_ understand how anyone could tolerate them, let alone prefer them. Gays, I don't mind. Gay marriage, sure, go nuts, doesn't affect me in the least bit. But you _know_ what sort of maelstrom this ad is going to generate. I can't imagine Velonews didn't know it as well. The only criticism I could offer over the ad was that it wasn't cycling related, and even that, I didn't mind. Velonews often has ads that aren't cycling related.
This is what I wrote:
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm surprised it took this long. I've been a subscriber to velonews since 1994 (and I have the library to prove it) and it seems to me I've seen a dating service advertisement 'geared' towards cyclists in the past. Something along the lines of a 'singles cycling weekend' analogous to a singles cruise strikes a tone , but I may have that wrong. The April issue of Velonews, however took it a step further. Just a generic dating ad sans the cycling component.....but wait. It wasn't _quite_ generic.....was it.... A dating service ad would have done little more to me than raise an eyebrow. This one made me raise _both_ eyebrows. No, 'eyebrow' is not a euphemism, they are the hair-covered ridges over my eyes (I do in fact have two). I have no problem with Velonews accepting and placing ads for relationship services, it just caught me a bit by surprise. I'm confident enough in my manhood and my marriage not to be threatened by such advertisements or openly gay men and women. It's not me you're going to have to worry about, it's the element in our society that finds such activities an anathema to nuclear families, the sanctity of marriage, and the will of whatever intolerant version of god they choose to worship. I can hear the complaints now: 'what's next? ads for NAMBLA?'. Be careful, some of these people carry guns.
In the early 90's I was the president of my bike club, and as such was afforded the opportunity to attend the USCF annual convention in Long Beach, CA. One of the proposals up for ratification was the modification of the anti-discriminatory bylaw to include sexual orientation language (this is currently intact under USAC bylaw D section 4). When I saw the proposal on the agenda, I didn't think twice about it. It really seemed like a no-brainer. Well, others in attendance thought differently, culminating in a 'gentleman' railing against the board of directors for "Promoting sexual deviance" (yes, that's a quote, I remember him red-faced and frothing to this day). Fortunately, Tolerance ruled the day and the change was overwhelmingly approved. Make no mistake about it, intolerance base on fear, ignorance and inbred prejudice are rife, not only in the general public, but even in the cycling world. You will undoubtedly suffer a few cancellations over this. I hope you don't, but you will, and I think you already knew that. Rest assured, I've been a subscriber for over 15 years, and what will be argued by the irrational fear-mongers as implicit support of alternative lifestyles on the part of Velonews will do nothing to change that.
I received a reply from Velonews editor-in-chief Ben Delaney saying that ad was permanently banned.
I'm just hoping it was done for the right reasons, and not for irrational prejudice. The ad didn't belong in Velonews because of the _type_ of service it offered - a chat line - not because of the target audience. They should perhaps put a policy in place prohibiting non-cycling related social networking ads, or social networking ads in general, or just say "yeah, how about this ad? 1-800-BLOW-ME you homophobic assholes".
_that's_ an ad I'd like to see.
(this one's just for judi)