If you think there's a stereotypical "look" all Catholic priests have, think again. In keeping up with what seems to be this year's overdone, hit-me-over-the-head-with-a-hammer theme revolving around nude men and calendars, a cheesy Venice based photographer has created yet another splendid gem of "art" objectifying some of the best looking Catholic priests you'll ever see. My comments on this, below.
The images were taken during Holy Week. The photographer said this:
“I meet most of them on the streets in Rome and ask to take their photos," Pazzi told The Local. Though the priests did not provide the photographer with their names, "most are happy to be photographed after I tell them the reason for the calendar... Yes, the men are good-looking, but it is just a product, a way for people to be better informed about the Vatican."
The photographer also seems to have found a niche doing calendars like this. It's. His. Thing. I think he did one with Romanian Orthodox priests.
Unlike other calendars objectifying men this holiday season, I didn't read anywhere in the article that the proceeds of this one are going to charity. From what I gather, according to this article (and I'm not searching any deeper on this topic, thank you), the goal is to help people become informed about the Vatican, which frankly sounds like a lame excuse to me to exploit and objectify priests by a cheesy little photographer/creep with an agenda. It mentions nothing about whether or not the priests who posed for the photos were given full disclosure, or anything about whether or not the photographer asked them to sign a waver...or if this is even required. All I know is I wouldn't have done it.
As I said, I don't think the proceeds are going to charity, I'm not sure the priests who posed understood how they were being exploited, and I personally haven't used a paper calendar in over five years. So I won't be sending away for one. But the one thing that stupid things like this do is break some of the stereotypical images we have of priests. I just wish it had been done with a more subtle theme and less stupid commentary by Huff Po. I don't usually rant on Friday, but someone should say these things once in a while. The photographer's an asshat. The calendar is asshatery. He should be informed of this by someone.
You can read more here. I'll admit the calendars are tasteful, but the concept leaves a great deal to be desired.
Trevor Donovan Film
I try to post things on Friday I think readers will like, and this is something I've set my own DVR to on Saturday night. I'm talking about a made for TV film, A Snow Globe Christmas, with Trevor Donovan. There are other actors you're familiar with, but I think my readers are more interested in Donovan than anyone else. Here's the blurb:
While clasping her favorite Christmas snow globe, a cynical, overworked TV executive rants about how the movies she produces lie, making you think dreams come can come true. Upset, she tries to smash the globe, but instead it bonks her on the head, knocking her out. She wakes up in a perfect snow-covered town like the one in her globe. Here she is married to a handsome woodworker, and is the mother to two young kids. Everyone believes she's suffered memory loss from the concussion when she claims to not know where she is. But with the help of her snow globe family and her charming, yet enigmatic guardian angel, she begins to accept that this dream life may actually be real. But as her cynical, big city instincts begin to influence the town in a bad way, she has to decide if she really belongs this perfect snow globe life.
You can read more here, and I think there's a clip. The film airs this Saturday at 10, 9 central on the liftetime channel.
FREE Gay Excerpt: The Littlest Christmas Tree
Right now, and for the rest of the weekend, I'm working on copy edits I just got back from the copy editor for an indie bonus novella I'm releasing early next week in the "Second Chance" series. This is a Christmas story titled, The Littlest Christmas Tree, and I'll be putting it up for FREE next week until January 2. It's a Christmas gift to readers for all the wonderful things they do all year. I never take that for granted.
Here's an excerpt, in raw (not edited completely) form, and I'll post more when it's released next week. I'm still waiting for the cover art, which I'll probably post over the weekend sometime. And again, this one is FREE until January 2.
"I was thinking it might be nice to put up a small Christmas tree this year," Jeremy said. "Nothing too big; just something little with those old fashioned multi-colored lights that seem to be popular again. I've been seeing them all over and I kind of like them." He was standing at the sink loading the new stainless steel high-end dishwasher in their recently renovated kitchen with imported soap stone countertops and eight burner stovetop with a name that began with an M he couldn't pronounce. He didn't look up once at his partner of fifteen years while he said this, and he made sure he chose his words with care and spoke in a soft, carefree tone.
Jeremy's partner, Will Randal, stood at the opposite end of the stark modern kitchen preparing his second pitcher of martinis since he'd come home from work. He spoke with deeper tone and a sarcastic slur. "You know how I feel about that. I don't even like the word Christmas. It contains too many religious associations. Besides, where would we put it? You know how I feel about campy, kitschy things messing up the look." He preferred "unambiguous minimalism," to the point where Jeremy wasn't even allowed to keep a toaster on the kitchen counter because Will thought it would look low-rent.
Jeremy set the last square white dinner plate from Williams Sonoma in the dishwasher and rolled his eyes. He knew this wouldn't be easy. As he closed the dishwasher door and reached for the instruction booklet to figure out how to turn it on, he said, "I'm only talking about a small tree. I can put it in the front hall and I'll keep it tasteful and monochromatic." He knew how much Will loved a monochromatic look. Their entire multi-level contemporary Connecticut home had been painfully designed in several shades of beige, a monochromatic exaggeration to the point where a ripe tomato resembled a big red pimple on their kitchen table.
"I don't think so," Will said, as he filled his Baccarat martini glass for the fourth time. "I don't want people getting the wrong impression about us next week at the party. You know how important these things are to my career." He was talking about their annual "holiday" cocktail party where they served foods like imported caviar and smoked salmon on handmade potato chips that had been deep fried in imported oil prepared by a French gourmet caterer whose name Jeremy couldn't pronounce either. The guest list included people from Will's law firm, Will's most important clients, and a few neighbors they rarely saw more than once or twice a year. Will didn't invite all the neighbors, only the people who drove the most expensive cars.
"I can wait until after the party to put the Christmas tree up," Jeremy said. "That's not a problem." He'd not only learned to compromise, but to concede.
Will brought a martini to Jeremy and set it on one of the new flour sack dish towels he'd found in the city. He never put a glass of anything down on the counter or furniture without a coaster or something to guard against rings. "I'd rather pass on the tree. It's just not my thing. Once you start doing things like that you cross a line and everything you've worked so hard to achieve starts to crumble. You wind up with a slipping down life. Besides, I'm an atheist and I don't even believe in Christmas. It would be both politically incorrect and hypocritical for me to even think about having a Christmas tree in my home. Let's just stick with the new crystal wreath on the front door this year. It's far more tasteful anyway."
In the past fifteen years, Jeremy had always backed down and agreed with Will during these discussions. He'd always bowed his head and Will always walked away with a winning smile. This was partly because Jeremy was a second grade school teacher and only made a fraction of what Will made yearly as an attorney, and partly because Will had always been stronger and more forceful in a way that made Jeremy feel it wasn't even worth arguing a point to the finish. Jeremy never added a vase or a candle stick holder to their home without getting Will's approval first. He'd once ordered sheets for the master bedroom with small sage green vines so small he could hardly see them and Will made him return them before he'd even taken them out of the package. Will wouldn't sleep on anything but white Egyptian cotton sheets. He claimed Jeremy's new sheets reminded him of something his mother would have used. This wasn't the first time something like this had happened, and Jeremy knew it wouldn't be the last. So instead of arguing with Will he returned the sheets and let it go because that was the easiest thing to do.
But lately Jeremy had been losing sleep thinking about his life and where it was going. He would listen to Will snore softly, flat on his back on his white sheets, without a care in the world, and wonder why he couldn't fall asleep the same way. Jeremy knew he would lay awake that night thinking about this Christmas tree discussion for hours, and then he would think about the twenty-three year old male legal assistant he knew Will had been sleeping with behind his back. Jeremy would grind his teeth and work himself into a state of frustration to the point where he wouldn't sleep at all. So he reached for the martini, swallowed the entire contents in a few quick gulps, and took a deep breath as the alcohol burned his throat.
A moment later, Jeremy said, "I don't agree." He sent Will a glance at the other side of the room and squared his back. The entire first floor of the four thousand square foot house was a vast open concept affair with one full wall of glass in back overlooking Will's six figure swimming pool. Will was lowering electrically controlled shades and his back was facing Jeremy.
Without taking his eyes off the remote for the shades, Will said, "What don't you agree with?" He'd clearly already moved on from the Christmas tree discussion.
"I don't agree the crystal wreath is tasteful," Jeremy said. "I think it's stupid and awkward." He didn't shout or show any emotion. He'd learned that trick from Will years ago. It was one of the tactics Will had learned as an attorney, which he often used in everyday life to manipulate people to get what he wanted.
For a moment, Will hesitated without saying a word. He kept his strong back to Jeremy and didn't move a muscle. At forty years old, Will still had the body of a twenty-five year old and it was easy to see how the young legal assistant in Will's office would be physically attracted to him. Will trained at the best gym in town five times a week and rarely ever ate carbohydrates anymore. His only source of carbohydrate seemed to come from imported Russian vodka. On the other hand, it was just as easy to see how a twenty-five year old legal assistant would be attracted to a forty year old with money, too.
When Will finally did turn to face Jeremy, he glared at him for a second, and then smiled with the same precocious expression he used in a courtroom. "That wreath was a gift and it's very rare. The person who bought it for us took a lot of time and trouble to find it, not to mention the cost. You should be more appreciative of the things you have."
Photo attribution: ME