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A quick rant on manufactured gay bloggers controversy

A quick rant on manufactured gay bloggers controversy

Revision: I wrote this piece last night on two hours of sleep, so I was tired and cranky.  Was the vernacular a stunning choice on my part? Absolutely not, and now that I’ve had some caffeine I’ve gone backward and cleaned up the language, as well as updated it a bit.

I still stand behind every word I wrote – dm.

John Aravosis, visible blogger and ranter has come up with a new controversy.  The DoD is purposely and willfully blocking servicmen’s access to LGBT sites. You know, to oppress us. He’s been breathlessly scribbling away for days now that somewhere, some poor information-deprived service personnel can’t read his blog and a few others:

I wonder if the Pentagon has a censorship category titled “Jewish,” “African-American,” or “Latino.”

The LGBT filter existed before the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but still has not been fixed.  And the Pentagon was notified of the problem as early as last summer, 2012.  Yet no one’s gotten around to doing anything about it. I’m also told that the censorship varies depending on service and geographical region – it’s not entirely clear why the Pentagon doesn’t use the same bans/filters nationwide and agency-wide, if it’s going to censor the Internet at all. This problem has to be fixed Pentagon-wide.

Our site, AMERICAblog, was previously banned for being “LGBT,” but now we’re only banned at least by the Air Force, for being “political” and “activist.”  The Air Force is banning my Web site for being “political” while permitting other Republican “political” Web sites.  Daily Kos is banned as well.  Anyone else smelling a Big Brother constitutional problem with that?

I had a few different contacts try accessing a variety of sites on DOD computers, in order to confirm this, including Zeke Stokes, communications director for OutServe-SLDN, who confirmed via one of their military members.  Note what they found.

Someone is sending him screenshots of the blog reason’s that are denied and he’s flipped his hairplugs.  Aravosis, who by many accounts on his own site has the computer-operational skills  of a 4 year old, is missing a few things.  Unfortunately though, he’s busy banging his spoon on his high chair because it’s a great c-o-n-spiracy.

Except it’s not.

I use site filtering software at work to keep my employees actually working instead of surfing the net.  Fired one guy just last week for 111 banned site accesses (all of which were soft core porn.  Wanna know what tripped the trigger at my job? This is taken from Aravosis’s own site, and would flag on my own work systems:

NewImageToo much fleshtone. The software doesn’t read the ad, it’s counting flesh toned pixels.  There’s far more flesh toned pixels in a picture of a half naked man than just a face pic, and it doesn’t care that the pic is absolutely benign. So, it’s possible pornography and therefore flagged.

Here’s another one from John’s site.  Feel free to mosey over, he runs an amazing 8 ads per page, so any one of these is bound to pop up.


NewImageJava based ad, this one.  Potential network risk, and the software can be tweaked to block the ad or stop the site entirely.  At my job, we block the ads, because Java is notoriously helpful in launching computer attacks.













The other ads fed into that spot, all java, included: selling mixers on Amazon, cut rate car insurance, and (my personal favourite) a dating site where single Russian women are waiting for me right now. Off to the rite, an Amazon smart ad fed me listings for new nipple rings and PA jewelry that I was looking at earlier today. On his homepage the same cut rate car insurance ad feed appears in all 5 spots he’s got set aside for some revenue generating. Multiple jump links to the same spot would stop it at my job.


The cherries on the cake? Let’s see how it baked up:

  • “Gay” is the first word appearing in his website link.  As in gay porn
  • Fleshtone pictures in the ads he’s OH SO FOND of throwing all over his site. Most sites run three or four, he’s got twice that. On each page.
  • Let’s not forget the one where I can snag me a Russian single woman who’s waiting for me right now.
  • He’s NOT a journalist, or even an accredited new agency despite his blustering he’s oh-so-important, and never hesitates to tell you as much.
  • Oh yeah, his whole site is built on WordPress, a blogging platform
Gay. Flesh-toned pics over the limits. Java ad heavy. Multiple links to the same spot. WordPress. Insert a big red flag here.
Just for kicks I looked at the others as well. Towleroad hit me with two disqualifiers right off the bat: the java ad on top telling me I can meet older single gay men right now, and a story on some crazy-as-fuck gay porn star.  Again, the software isn’t smart enough to read the content, it’s just looking for buzzwords (Insert sad trombone sound here…)
Good as You: guy in a speedo in the ad pushing some resort.
Pam: the same ad for substance abuse counselors in 4 different positions, just as sloppy as John’s.  Overused jump links would stop it at my job.
Jesus you two – sit down and actually go thru the ad filters.  You CAN do that you know. Lazy, lazy, lazy.
My take? His “source” is reading the response wrong and didn’t bother to hit the details button – if he had access to it.  On the admin level, I get a nice and beefy printout telling me exactly why a site was stopped.  So, he screams discrimination, some DoD press lackey conjures up a response without really digging into it and you have a …….wait for it….
LGBT controversy!!!!! (insert dramatic music here…)
The amount of risk items on any one of the sites he claims are willfully being allowed in? Zero.
Worse is that other drama queens are picking up on this bit and running with it, therefore creating a controversy where none fucking existed.
Any wonder we’re not taking seriously? If you listen to clowns like Aravosis, every one is out to get us.
Update: Aravosis did manage to get a response from Pentagon Press Sec. George Little saying that things will be looked into, and I’m sure they will.  Is Aravosis right, and the DoD is willfully blocking sites because of their LGBT content? Probably not. The Commander in Chief has laid down the law that gays are equal in the eyes of the military, and to defy that is to essentially thumb their nose at him.  Aravosis (as well as alot of othes) needs to stop being so cavalier in tossing around the word discrimination because sometimes there is a logical explanation that has nothing to do with any particular group, site or person being slighted.  Baseless claims of discrimination take away the thunder of when it actually DOES happen and needs to be 86’d.
This never-ending cult of paranoia does absolutely nothing but provide distraction from real issues and things that need attention.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. The sooner we stop screaming it’s a torpedo, the quicker the movement actually moves forward.


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