Tuesday, November 13, 2007

groovy, baby...

you mean to tell me that terry mc millian didn't know that the guy on the left in both of these photos is gay? seriously? because everybody else did.

(by the way -- these are from derrick l. briggs book club that had a book release party last weekend for jonathan plummer, aka mr. terry mc millian, at chocolate bar in downtown brooklyn, new york -- not to be confused with the chocolate bar on 8th avenue in new york city, a candy shop for grown-ups.)

for real, though: my southern 85 year-old, piggly wiggly-shopping, late model caddie-driving church lady grandma could have picked him off a country mile away. in his bio, sylvester said his grandma was the one who told him that he was gay. hm. maybe that's it. black mommas always know. terry mc millan had a very nearly grown kid when she hooked up with this guy -- plus, she's a woman of the world (with all the pomp and circumstance that goes with that title) -- and she still couldn't figure it out? sometimes it's astonishing just how far some people will go to decieve themselves.
is anyone going to be surprised if this happens to star jones?

i watched the stella lose her groove episode on oprah like everybody else. confronting your gay soon-to-be ex-husband on national television, all the while admitting that you were intimate the night before and you still love each other? now that's some high drama -- and an implosion heard 'round the black (gay) world, like none other in recent memory. as oprah took terry's side, he seemed very much the victim on the show -- and then later, he and his lawyer threaten to release messages from his answering machine to the media of terry calling him a "little fag" (amongst other unsavory things) unless she ponies up some big bucks. tsk, tsk.
as the three of them attempted to dissect What Happened on the oprah show (with no real answers of course), i wondered how many other black women were going through this "i married a guy that isn't gay, he just likes to have sex with other guys" scenario. after all, mr. plummer has never stated flat-out that he's gay -- a fact that other black gay men have pointed out to me repeatedly. it seems that nowadays, lots of black men straddle that fence. actually, it's not just black men. it's everybody -- but evidently, it's much more salacious and alluring when we do it.

after the oprah debacle, mr. plummer signed a fictionalized tell-all book deal with simon and schuster. (i could go on about truly talented writers out there not being able to get book deals, but why?) it's called balancing act, appropriately enough -- probably piggybacking on terry's book disappearing acts -- and it just hit the bookshelves. i know that in posting any of this, i'm promoting this garbage and all the hot mess that goes with it (is she over it or not? her latest essay says "not really"...) but mr. plummer's book is so badly written, so trashy, so out that i had to post an exerpt. (and two reader reviews!) enjoy.


here's an exerpt:

Copyright © 2007 by Jonathan Plummer and Book Bloc Publishing, Inc.

Chapter One

"You bitch-ass motherfucker!"

Tasha Reynolds hauled back as if she was pitching a fastball for the New York Yankees and slapped Justin across the face with all of her might. His head whipped around as a smattering of blood formed where his full lips had crushed into his top teeth.

"Who the fuck do you think you are?! You can't leave me! You ain't going no fucking where!"

If any of Tasha's clients or competitors had seen her, they wouldn't have recognized her. In public, Tasha was one of the most controlled and controlling women there ever was. Tasha was, in every sense of the word, "regal," in her walk, in her talk. She possessed the trained grace of someone with upbringing and character. She rarely smiled or joked. She was all business and very good at what she did. She was a perfectionist without a conscience. There was no place in her business for someone who was sensitive, for someone who had second thoughts, for someone with emotions.

Tasha Reynolds was at the top of her game because she did what she had to do to be the best. She worked harder than anyone else and she made tough decisions without batting a fake eyelash. She was never out of control. She was smooth as ice, cold as ice, hard as ice. Tasha Reynolds always got what she wanted.

And what she wanted right now was Justin Blakeman.

He stood in front of her, wiping the blood from his mouth, trying not to react, holding himself back. The last time a woman had smacked him, he'd been ten years old and it was his mother. He'd lied to her about where he went after school, and she smacked him in the mouth for lying. He also got a beating with a cane when his father got home later that evening. The smack on the mouth by his mother was worse. It was humiliating, even for a ten-year-old. But he'd learned how to take it like a man. And he held himself like a man now.

Justin had been raised in an old-fashioned Jamaican family, where roles were very distinct. Women had their place, and men were king. A man never subjugated himself or bowed to a woman. Justin had allowed himself to be Tasha's subject for far too long, as far as he was concerned. She had been the queen and he had been part of her royal world. He had allowed himself to be paraded around like one of those Westminster Kennel Club show dogs for three years, at her beck and call, doing whatever she asked. He'd loved her in the beginning, and there was a part of him that would love her always. But now he was reclaiming his manhood.

"It's over, Tasha," he said as calmly as he could, trying not to respond at all to her emotional outrage. His nonreaction stoked her anger.

"It will never be over until I say it's over!" she growled.

Justin turned and began to leave. He had packed one bag, taking only the few clothes he'd bought for himself and some personal items that he'd brought with him from Jamaica. He knew how she was and he didn't want to give her any cause to come after him.

As Justin reached for the door, a Baccarat ashtray narrowly missed his head, crashing into the cedar door. It didn't shatter, the crystal was too heavy. But had it connected with his head, Justin would have had at least a concussion, if not worse.

"Where the fuck do you think you're going?! Are you hard of hearing? It's not over, Justin!"

Tasha rushed him, slapping at his face and shredding the skin on his forearms with her nails as she tried to pry his bag out of his hand. He dropped the bag and grabbed her arms, stopping her from hitting and scratching him. She was struggling and he threw her to the floor. But Tasha was possessed. She kept coming at him, swinging. He blocked most of her blows and grabbed her around the waist, lifted her from the ground, and carried her to the couch in the living room, throwing her like a rag doll.

"Now, stop this!" he said, finally raising his voice. "Look at yourself, Tasha! This isn't you! It doesn't have to end like this! Just let me go!"

Tasha's chest was heaving. She was out of breath and going out of her mind. She rushed him one more time. This time Justin met her with a blow to her head, driving her backward with force. She fell to the ground hard, teetering on the verge of consciousness.

"You motherfucker!" she slurred. "You...you're going to pay for this."

Justin looked at her -- a woman the world saw as untouchable greatness. He looked at her with sadness. He walked calmly to the door, picked up his bag, and left. He didn't look back. He walked to the elevator and rode the twenty floors down, collecting his thoughts. His black Lexus convertible -- the car she'd bought him -- was parked in the front of the garage, as it always was. A nice, fast drive was just what the doctor ordered.

Justin started the engine and screeched out of the garage, headed for the FDR Drive and on to his new life.

He was excited. He was free. More free than his days chopping sugarcane in Jamaica. Freer than he had ever been in his life. He allowed himself to smile, dabbing away a bit of the ugliness he had just left behind, as he thought about where he was headed next. It would be the first official night as a single man. He was free to love. And he couldn't wait.

He selected "Love Songs" on his iPod's playlist and drank in the opening notes of Maxwell's "Till the Cops Come Knockin'."

Gonna take you in the room suga'
Lock you up and love for days...

Justin was caught up in the music. And caught up in his fantasies. He didn't notice the flashing lights bearing down on him and he raced past the Twenty-first Street exit. He was a couple of miles from Tasha in distance and a million miles from her in his mind. But it was all catching up with him.

"Pull over!" The gruff voice came over the loudspeaker, shaking Justin out of his mist. He'd never noticed the sirens because Maxwell's song has sirens throughout, which he had grown used to over the years.

"Pull over, now!"

Justin eased over.

"What the...?" But he knew. "Tasha."

The police were angry for having to chase him for nearly a mile. They got out, hands on their guns, one at the passenger-side window, the other at the driver's side.

"Step out of the car," the officer barked.

"What? Why did you pull me over, Officer?" Justin asked.

"Shut up and step out of the car!"

Justin kept his hands in full sight. He was new to America, but he'd heard about Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell and knew he was black enough to give a New York police officer cause to pause. He didn't want to be that kind of victim. So he kept his hands raised above his head and, because he didn't want any trouble, asked the officer to open the door.

The officer opened the door with one hand and yanked Justin out of the car with the other hand, threw him to the ground, and handcuffed him.

"You have the right to remain silent..."

Copyright © 2007 by Jonathan Plummer and Book Bloc Publishing, Inc.

and here's two, um, interesting reviews:

By Stanley Bennett Clay "author of LOOKER" (Los Angeles CA USA) -

With the rampant accessability of print and electronic tabloid journalism, the old fashion roman a' clef, popularized by the likes of 60's pulp fictioners Jaqueline Susann, Harold Robbins, and Grace Matalious, the genre has been virtually neutured. Jonathan Plummer, aided and abetted by novelist/journalist Karen Hunter, tries his best to sew the balls back on the old geezer and damn near succeeds.

Balancing Act is an entertainingly naughty, quick, souffle'-of-a-read where the names are changed to protect the infamous. Oh, who cares that it throws plausibility and logic right out the window. I thought the book was an absolute hoot.

Okay, so now our protagonist, an almost Christ-like Jamaican body-by-Fischer-brains-by-Mattel boy toy, is selling sugar cane on the side of the road, even though his family is one of the richest on the island nation when Tasha, an African American Cruella DeVille fashion agency mogul decides to snatch this 'innocent and virtuous' chocolate little joy stick up out of the boonies and turns him into America's instant super model even quicker than she secures his U.S. citizenship.

The sex, of course, is off the hook, which still doesn't stop Miss Thing from knockin' boots with her white female stylist.

In the mean time, Jamaica's Mighty Joe Big accidently discovers the joy of gay sex while on a European fashion shoot with a hot Abicrombie and Fitch superstar even though he protests with legs in the air, 'I'm not a batty boy!'

Even though there's lots of talk about condoms and safe sex, there's enough orally-ingested seman in this tawdry tale to populate a small desert community, but I digress. Control Freak Super Mama uses her infamy (she is universally hated and feared) to control the three-legged wonder. But alas, his virtue wills out and he decides that he must be his own man, or at least some other man's man.

The cat fights between the keeper and the kept are as catty as they get and the knock down drag outs are cartoonishly festive. I suppose what I'm saying is that Balancing Act is a guilty pleasure; sort of like masturbation, a swift and sudden thrill, but rarely memorable. I laughed out loud at this dumb and delicious piece of entertainment. I couldn't put it down and couldn't figure out why. Miss Terry M. needs to go somewhere and sit down because if she's not careful, Brothaman Jonathan just might write a sequal and become black gay America's answer to Jackie Collins. Then she'd really have some competition.

WHAT THE???, September 9, 2007
By Missy Me "ONE DISGUSTED READER!" (Oakland, California)

I don't know what this world is coming to. This is the first time I read a book that was so bad it was good. When I wasn't laughing I was shaking my head.

When Justin is going on and on about how his parents were going to react about him going to New York to be a model, I was really looking forward to that. NOTHING! One minute he's discussing it with his granny then he's in New York. What was his parents and friends reaction to his succcess? We don't know! This story was unrealistic, weak, and straight-up ridiculous! Once I read the part about Tasha having a lesbian fling I knew I was too through! Just goes to show that Mr. Terry, uh, the EX Mr. Terry wants to keep milking her one way or the other.

The cover is nice I will say that much. Then I see the SAME exact cover on another book! And the ending was an absolute insult! I picked this mess up in the airport in Vegas, read it while I was waiting on my flight and was done with it by the time I got back to Oakland. I made a beeline to the nearest Borders and got a refund! This is fine if you are very YOUNG and realistic. Just like most fairy tales...

1 comment:

AJ Muhammad said...

Hi QE:
This post was loaded with so many nuggets you know I have to weigh in even if you never asked me too!!! Please tell me to get a life. Or tell me to get my own "life" - in its eternal state of mess - together.

"you mean to tell me that terry mc millian didn't know that the guy on the left in both of these photos is gay? seriously? because everybody else did."

Jonathan didn't always look the way he does now which makes "it" pretty obvious. Wendy Williams said the same thing as you when news first broke 2 years ago: "Oh Ms. Terry, how could you not know?" When Terry hooked up with Jonathan people weren't buzzing about whether or not they thought he was gay, but the fact that she found somebody who was 20 years younger than she was and the fact that she had to go all the way to Jamaica to find him, which created a trend where other black women tried to do the same thing. People also thought that she was bold/crazy for writing the semi autobiographical book "How Stella..." as well.

"as oprah took terry's side, he seemed very much the victim on the show"
Yes the Oprah show where Terry and Oprah (or as my coworker calls her, Harpie) ganged up on Jonathan was pretty ridiculous especially in light of the Oprah/Gayle rumors that have been circulating for years and the fact that people have talked about struggling with their sexuality--even on her show. Oprah picks and chooses who she wants to coddle and who she bully/badger/embarass/ridicule etc. Ask Toni Braxton. People don't always know better. As Caroline Clay said, look at Oprah circa the late 1980s!!! Everybody doesn't have their aha moment at the same time!

"sometimes it's astonishing just how far some people will go to decieve themselves...
is anyone going to be surprised if this happens to star jones?"
Star Jones has claimed that she and Al have spoken about his "past." Star Jones is a smart woman and if she willingly married a man who may be bisexual/gay, then she knows the risks that she is taking. In reality nobody knows what kind of an "arrangement" these women make with their husbands/boyfriends who are rumored to be gay. It could be that they would prefer having a companion with baggage rather than being "alone." And it isn't just black women. Ask Ariana Huffington.

"i could go on about truly talented writers out there not being able to get book deals, but why?"
You know that I know that we all know that Al had better enjoy his 15 minutes while they last because you know that I know that everybody knows his book is not going to be taught in academia 20 years from now a la Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, Gloria Naylor, Ann Petry, Alice Walker, Edward Jones, James Baldwin, Zora, bell hooks, Cornel West, Hansberry, etc. And I am not crying Argentina for nobody who is a truly talented writer because there are too many ways to get a book deal (from mainstream/indie/nonprofit houses or even by self publishing) that I am not going to even go there. I have a lot of stories that I have heard from the Harlem Book Fair and acquaitances who have done it successfully--even by taking the non traditional route. Look at Relentless Aaron or Zane who published themselves until St. Marks Press and Atria/S&S respectively came calling and mainstream publishing houses took note and tried to get on the urban lit bandwagon. What really annoys me is that some of the truly talented writers are waiting to blessed and caressed instead changing the darn paradigm and getting off their high and mighty behinds and pound the pavement like the street lit writers do because they feel that they are too elite, too fabulous, too brilliant to do it! Nobody wants to use elbow grease by doing research and planning a mode of attack but instead are gripping about people like Jonathan (not you per se). We know this is a pop culture/disposable culture but real talent is what stands the test of time especially in
academia/literary circles even if it doesn't come with at juicy advance.