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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Email to Michael Lennox RE article on All-American Boy video


To:  Michael Lennox

RE:  your article about Steve Grand and the All-American Boy video


I know that you are excited about the number of views that Steve’s music video is getting.  In part, because of the publicity he is receiving.


I feel like it would have been difficult for you to have known all of these details that I have discovered, when you wrote the initial article from your interview with Steve.  Yet, because I noticed from your tweets, that you and pleased with how the video has been received, I wanted to share this email with you. 


You (Michael) said:

"All-American Boy" portrays a young gay man who misreads signals from an apparently straight "all-American" male friend


I agree with you that the video is about only the portrayal of a young gay man and about how he misreads the signals from apparently, you say, a straight male friend.  However, Steve is saying this story is about his own life.  The video is only apparently showing that this friend is straight.  This is correct.  Yet, Steve, in his interviews, is telling his story of being 13 years old and being drawn to an older youth counselor at a camp, where there isn’t any questioning about whether the man is straight or gay.  Steve says there wasn’t any sexual suggestions coming from this older youth counselor.  And then, in the interviews, he says the video isn’t about people being gay, but only about unrequited love.  I understand what he is trying to communicate by saying this.  Yet, is he not being misleading by having Neil, his friend who is also ‘Taylor’ with Fratmen.TV, portraying this apparently straight all-American male, (which is the purpose of a site such as Fratmen.TV) be apparently a straight guy in real life?  Assuming Steve is trying to artistically communicate the essence of his real life story.  And I appreciate the range of ideas about what the concept of straight means in the context of straight men who have gay sex – even as actors on web sites such as this. 


However, is there any suggestion in the video that this apparently straight all-American boy (adult male) is actually comfortable enough with a gay kiss because he has been, for perspective here, engaging in oral sex at a gay porn site?  He would have been quite comfortable with a male/male kiss. 


At the minimum, the video is misleading to the vast majority of the general viewing audience, where he is hoping to receive revenue from his song through the marketing of this video.  And  in reference to the numerous friends and other supportive people who are helping him make the video…. (when they easily could be people from Pavlov’s Dog LLC – that is the production company for Fratmen.TV).  I just think this deserves more reporter investigation. 


In regards to the statements by Steve that this is done at his own cost by charging $7,000 to his credit card(s).  If in reality, this was produced by or with or through the production company working for Fratmen.TV, then wouldn’t this at least be viewed as an attempt at deception of the general viewing audience in regards to what he is communicating about his financial situation? 


Sure the reality of the story could be that your basically straight friend that you have a crush on is dating his girlfriend, but he is also doing gay porn, and just doesn’t want to be making out with you, even though he knows that you have a crush on him.  Yes, that situation is a reality.  But would the general viewer get this impression from watching this video and reading articles like yours?  I think determining this would be easily done by reviewing the various articles written on him and the comments connected with those articles.  Or, comments made in relation to his GMA coverage. 


And since Steve is trying to say that he is finally being honest, and holding nothing back, as he says, then wouldn’t the average viewer think that he wouldn’t have a friend portray the part of his friend who he has a crush on, who in reality is also in straight acting gay porn?  Yes, I understand that this is just artistic liberty, however, he seems to be going beyond the traditional MTV type of video conceptual framework.  And if he wasn’t accepting financial donations or payments for the song by using this approach of telling in the media that this is about his own story, I would be less concerned. 


So, a question for you, Michael:  “Did you think Steve was suggesting that this was his actual friend and that this friend was apparently, to Steve’s knowledge, a straight guy (if straight meant that he didn’t do gay for pay porn)?”  “Did you get the feeling that the point of the story in the video was that Steve was sad that his straight male friend didn’t want to make out with him, even though his friend was comfortable doing gay for pay porn?”


Michael, you write:  “Ultimately  for the straight guy, it was just all in good fun.”  Did you mean by that, that the good fun was from interacting with a straight friend who you knew was doing gay for pay gay porn and who didn’t want to make out with you, but still was your good friend?


Michael, yes you write that “the story was inspired by one of Grand’s own.”  Correct, but what did you mean by inspired?  Since you were doing the phone interview with Steve, what did you understand the connection to be of this story of Steve when he was 13 at camp and Steve in this music video?  Did you get the idea that Steve was suggesting that this older youth counselor at camp who took an interest in him, did this even though he was comfortable doing gay porn and that was the connection between this camp experience and what Steve was portraying in the music video?  I felt like the two stories were quite separate, but were being used to market his song.


Did you get the feeling that the “lines of sexuality” that Steve said he knew the video’s tale of unrequited love would resonate across, was referring to Steve as a gay man, being rebuffed at making out with his friend who did gay porn, who potentially was generally straight?


Is this the type of rejection and heartache that these “hundreds of postings on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook from viewers, both straight and gay” would say they understood as well?  Maybe, but I think you might have thought that Steve was referring to his crush on his straight friend who might have been okay with the kiss, but not because he was also okay with it because he was doing gay porn as an apparently straight guy.  I feel like the reality distorts the positive message that could have been communicated about respect and appreciation of guys who are straight who really appreciate their gay or bisexual friends and feel comfortable even with showing that non sexual affection through a kiss. 


Michael, you quoted Steve as saying, “"But since this all began, since people have been reaching out, I've been beyond moved, because so many people have felt what I felt, been through what I've been through."  Did you get an indication that Steve might be referring to being rebuffed by a straight friend who was comfortable being in gay porn?


And how did you think Steve’s desire for honesty that you wrote that he talked with you about fits into all of this?  And how does that fit into his experiences with his clinical psychologist counselor?  It just seems like some clarification would be valuable to your readers and to people who are viewing his video. 


Michael, when you wrote, “For now, Grand appears happy just being the moment, immersed in all those postings. "Just the hundreds of people who have said, `Your story is my story. Thank you for this,' is enough for me,” did you mean, as to convey that his real story of who people are in the video is also your story, as he is trying to say we are all similar in experiencing unrequited love at some time in our lives? 


Michael, I noticed that you Tweeted the following today:

Congrats @stevegrandmusic for surpassing 1,000,000 YouTube views of "All-American Boy" this morning. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.


And I noticed that there are sections at the bottom of your Huff Post article where people are invited to:

But I didn’t want to do that in a way that took away from your public excitement for Steve’s YouTube views success, or from the positive elements that Steve is trying to communicate.    


But when I didn’t find an email address or phone number for you, I decided to send the Tip that I sent today. 


I wanted to send this email to you, so that you would have a more complete understanding of what I was trying to communicate by my Tip today.


Thank you.


Mike Jones