You need a little (Boy) Culture! (Image © BoyCulture.com)
It's time, once again, for my annual state-of-the-site essay, adapted to suit the occasion of my blogiversary. This time, I must say it is unfathomable to me that Boy Culture is now 15 years old.
That means I have spent well over a third of my life making time for this hobby. My dog Sash, who died last month, was born, lived, changed my existence and left me during the time this blog has been happening.
The first blog I remember seeing was Page666 by Perez Hilton. I did not get it, meaning I had no idea how to even read it — top to bottom? — and I was repulsed by the mistakes and illiteracy. But still, I found it exciting. I think Pink Is the New Blog, Towleroad, Joe.My.God. and Kenneth in the (212) followed, and years later, I enjoyed (and was lapped by) Wicked Gay Blog, OMG. Blog! and many others, all influential.
I can still remember the joy I felt when I first figured out how to post, how to upload an image, and how to embed a video. I remember every time an early post blew up, bringing in hits and new viewers, and sometimes longtime readers. I remember the names of many of my most reliable commenters (there was a time when commenting was easier, and people actually took the time to chime in), the trolls, the stalkers, the haters looking to take me down a peg from the safety of their anonymity, the spam and the never-ending (and validating!) pitches and free tickets and photographers' snaps of half- or all-naked male models.
I also remember being an influencer, and seeing my posts get linked by various gay sites, including corporate, funded ones, which was exciting — until they stopped crediting me. Hm.
Two of a kind! (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
Over time, I've used Boy Culture to express myself, to help others express themselves, to endorse messaging, to denounce terrible human beings and trends, to connect with likeminded people internationally, and to promote my photography OnlyFans, my side project Gr8erDays, my oral history of Playgirl for Esquire.com, my interview with late gay director James Sheldon, and my books Encyclopedia Madonnica 20, MLVC60, Boy Culture and Blind Items: A Love Story.
Do we want people to kiss our ass? Yeah, we do. (GIF via GIPHY)
I've also used it to show off my humor (both high and low), to flaunt my obsessions, to reality-test my sexual diversions and perversions, to laud the art I love, to broadcast my admiration for Madonna, and — probably — to procrastinate.
For many years, I have been grumbling about ending Boy Culture. I have resisted just focusing on social media, resenting the fact that my own entity was being shut out by Google and Facebook for being too gay, too risqué. I wanted, since I had started it, to maintain some independence. But then friends routinely send me images and stories asking if I've seen them, only to have them turn out to be items I already posted or even posted first, a sure sign they never check my site.
And it is an incredible amount of work to craft original posts, or even just to put together worthwhile aggregated ones, usurping time I could be spending writing novels and screenplays; I have finished a first draft of a screenplay, largely due to COVID-19 down time, and no thanks to this blog.
“Blog” — the word itself is so dated, I wonder if deciding to stop blogging is even a consideration anymore. Hasn't blogging already stopped, even if I have persisted?
There is also the problem of the title. I used to get away with interviewing women at events by saying, “I'm with Boy Culture — but we love girls, too!” The original purpose of the title was to denote a universe where it is okay to prioritize “gay,” which was radical 30 years ago (when I first wrote the short story, and eventually the novel, of the same title), but which I think sounds a bit antiquated in an increasingly nonbinary, inclusion-conscious world. It also doesn't much represent the content of my blog, which is not exclusively gay or male.
What would I have made of this had I seen it in a crystal ball 15 years ago? (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
I want to thank you all for having read Boy Culture over the years. I'm still here (one fantasizes about a blogging-centric version of the Sondheim song, working in names like Ted Haggard and Kim Davis), and each time I get some positive or merely substantive feedback, each time my posts are shared on social media, each time something I've written elicits a response, it keeps me going a li'l longer, and it cancels out an attack or exasperating attention-grab by a gay right-winger. (If you know any, dump them. To have become a Republican under Trump, you have to start out as a truly terrible human being.)
Thanks for having my back. This, for the record, is not my back. (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
Please enjoy my 100 or so favorite posts, please let me know if you're reading any old ones for the first time and are liking them, please let me know if any of the posts' photos or other components are out of whack and they're not very easy to enjoy anymore, and, most of all, please share this entire post far and wide to help get my work out there.
My first “Guydar” post (remember those???) from 2008. (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)
As always, you can find me on Facebook (personal and blog), Twitter, Instagram (plus Encyclopedia Madonnica and Gr8erDays), and YouTube (here are my YouTube greatest hits).
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