It's hard to tell if Jeffrey Wilson had sophomoric roommates, or if he was merely the kind of nancy boy who begged to be tortured.
A year ago, some of the Case Western student's roommates and their friends put up fliers around campus bearing Wilson's photo and the announcement: "Gay White Male, seeking GWM for kissing, crying at movies, and picking flowers." The flier conveniently listed Wilson's phone number and e-mail address.
Wilson, who'd been studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCATs), claimed the posters were part of ongoing harassment that disrupted his studies -- and included such nefarious acts as roommates staying up late listening to music and talking.
Consider these the hazards of dorm life. Most kids would either move out, complain to the R.A., or engage in wholesome American fisticuffs. But Wilson instead called his dad, lawyer Robert Wilson, who promptly sued -- suggesting that we may be dealing with gene-pool issues here.
At this point, Case had already disciplined Wilson's tormentors, making them perform community service and write the obligatory five-page report on tolerance.
Robert Wilson wasn't satisfied. "Jeff was studying for his MCATs, and they were trying to mess him up by disturbing him," the elder Wilson says. "People were calling him and e-mailing him. How would you stop this? Now, Jeff was a boxer in high school, but we can't have violence in the streets."
All of which left meathead pranksters Alexander Harvey, Yixing Chen, and Michael Marcello embroiled in a yearlong lawsuit. But after lengthy depositions and a three-day jury trial, the judge tossed it out. "The judge saw it as trivial, but she was wrong," says Wilson Sr. "There needed to be some kind of remedy for what these knuckleheads did."
Wilson Sr. says it wasn't about the money -- anywhere between $10 and $10,000 (the original settlement demand) would have been fine. But now he's appealing the verdict.
As for Wilson Jr.'s MCAT performance? "He did extremely well," says Wilson Sr.
Homo in the White House
Cleveland reporter Eric Resnick didn't know he was blazing new territory when he asked George Bush's campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, whether he's gay. For years, rumors have swirled that Mehlman is queerer than a professional figure skater.
Normally, no one would care if Mehlman is really into show tunes. But since he orchestrated a campaign that vilified homo marriage -- We must put a stop to loving, long-term relationships! -- his homocity would seem a tad hypocritical, if not downright weird.
Of course, it wasn't the candy-assed Washington press corps who asked the tough questions. These were left to Resnick, ace reporter for the Gay People's Chronicle of Cleveland.
Resnick crashed a Summit County Republican fund-raiser to get close to Mehlman -- "as much as it pained me to fork over $40 for the ticket," he says. After the speechifying, he popped the question, thinking little of it. "I assumed that someone else had already asked him," Resnick says.
Mehlman's response only dug him deeper into the hole. "[You] have asked a question people shouldn't have to answer," he blurted.
The exchange left Beltway pointy-heads atwitter.
Mehlman's tried to deny being a homo-baiter, but with scant luck. Ohio Secretary of State Uncle Tom Blackwell told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Mehlman was an architect of the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage.
With friends like Blackwell, he'd best stay deep in the closet.
Hate mail of the week
"I was compelled to pass along the rage and disdain I now have for your previously OK publication after the goddamn AOL CD fell out of the recent issue. AOL is a bunch of scam artists . . . You slide right into that category by subjecting your readers to their crap. Get a life and different readers who will put up with your fucked-up bullshit. Oh, and by the way . . . Go to hell!
"P.S. Did I mention I will not read your pile-of-shit publication anymore unless you promise to have a brain and never do the AOL promotion again?"
-- Anonymous, but badly in need of sedation
Hitting the long ball
Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-Lorain) is using the debut of the Washington Nationals -- D.C.'s first major league baseball team since 1971 -- to take a swing at Republicans.
In a speech on the House floor last week, Brown suggested the team choose a name to "better reflect the true character of the city." His suggestion: "The Washington Lobbyists."
He also proposed adding the Beltway's pay-to-play ethic to the national pastime. "You cannot step on the field unless you ante up . . . For a modest added contribution, a batter can shrink the strike zone, replace the traditional hardball with a more responsive tennis ball, or move the pitcher back 10 feet."
Republicans weren't particularly impressed by his humor, says Brown. But, he adds, "Occasionally around here you just want to do some funny stuff."
Got flying chairs?
South High School was one of 50 winners in the national Healthy Schools Challenge, an essay contest sponsored by the "got milk?" campaign and the NBA. "South High is a fantastic place to show why you should drink milk," writes winning essayist Jovan Samuels.
Strangely, many teachers at the school think it's a fantastic place to show why you should drink alcohol. On the day the award was announced, Assistant Principal Ruth Billingsley was knocked unconscious by a flying chair. Thanks to milk, nothing was broken.
"Hip-hop is so much about pride in where you're from," says Kate Lupson, a publicist for BlingTones, a music company that lets you (for a small fee) download original songs to replace the ring on your cell phone.
Because hip-hop lovers feel so much identity with their communities, and because BlingTones considers itself to be "the wireless source for hip-hop," BlingTones created downloadable songs that "really rep the hood you come from," says Lupson.
Naturally, the Cleveland song is a Faulknerian ode to the City by the Really Polluted Lake. Lupson assures us that BlingTones did its best to mimic the lingo and voice of our fair burg in the 18-second song. The lyrics:
"Where you been?/Where you been?/ Where you been?/Where you from?/ Where you from?/Where, where you from? /I'm from Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland/Cleveland/Cleveland."