Axing Jacquelynn

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"We wanted to make people laugh," Rose continued, "and talk a little."

Rose claimed the ad drew a "unanimous, positive, amused reaction," although this fake falcon must admit to receiving calls from a not-so-amused lobbyist.

"What was he thinking?" the lobbyist squawked. "Running an ad like that with this legislature?"

But The Bird is less worried about our oh-so-conservative state pols (who probably did, indeed, gasp at the sight of naked flesh) and more worried about Rose & Allyn's seeming fixation with naked male torsos, both black and white.

One ad, after all, might be funny. But two ads? Did somebody tweet "obsession"?

Since Rose's firm has flacked for both paleoconservative County Attorney Andrew Thomas and nut-job Sheriff Joe Arpaio, this feathered fiend can only wonder: Will the next Rose & Allyn ad feature something even more jarring than a naked marathon runner? Something like, say, a naked Terry Goddard?

Now that would be overexposure.

Speaking of Homos

Local fag-bashers can take heart in knowing that small, unexceptional corners of the publishing industry are behind you.

The Bird's discovered that a sales rep for local job-search paper, the Employment Guide, spotted an ad for the Gay Pages, a sort of yellow pages directory for the gay and lesbian community, in this very newspaper. The EG rep called the homo directory and pitched Gay Pages owner Marci Alt on a display ad package. Turns out that Alt needed to hire some part-time telemarketers, so she said, "Sure!" and bought an ad.

But when she delivered her camera-ready copy, the squeamish turds at Employment Guide got purty scared.

Because Alt's ad dared to include the word "gay" in its copy.

"What the hell did they think it was going to say?" Alt bellowed to The Bird. "The name of my company is Gay Pages!"

Alt got a call from EG's regional manager, Tom Kenney, who tried to explain to Alt why "gay" is still a dirty word 'round these here parts, ma'am.

It seems Kenney was afraid his readers would freak out if they opened his paper and saw an ad with such an offensive word in it.

"This moron kept telling me that they don't run sexually explicit ads," Alt said, laughing. "We're a business directory, not a bathhouse! Our ad didn't exactly have a picture of two naked guys going at it. There was nothing sexual or explicit about it. I don't run that kind of ad in my publication, either!"

Gay Pages employee Cindi Hensley told The Bird, "This is so screwed up! The guy actually said, 'We can run your ad as long as you take the name of your company out of it.' And he was serious!"

Alt's less amused: "So we can advertise in his precious newspaper as long as we don't say who we are. Because the word 'gay' would be upsetting and offensive to his readership. And the kicker is, they called us! Come on, what part of the name Gay Pages didn't they get when they called to sell us an ad?"

Kenney's clearly exasperated by all these huffy homos. "We asked them to make two changes to their ad," he sighed, when The Bird phoned him. "We asked them to use their corporate name, which doesn't have the word 'gay' in it, and we asked them to change the line that reads, 'This is a great job for students' to 'This is a great job for college students.' We even offered to let them use their full name in the ad in our online edition!"

Mighty big of you, Lester.

All this concern over use of the word "student," Kenney says, is because Employment Guide is available on several local high school campuses. Which is why he doesn't want naughty words like "gay" in his paper.

"I promised the high schools that there would be nothing in our paper that would cause any parents to pick up the phone to complain about our content," he explains. "We're here to help people find jobs."

Heterosexual jobs, that is.

Hensley likes to imagine what would have happened if the ad had run without the word "gay" in it, per Kenney's request.

"People would come in here for a job interview, and they'd see rainbow flags and the big pink triangle on the wall and guys wearing tee shirts that say 'Miss Thing' or whatever," she laughs. "And then we'd hand them a script to read, because it's part of our interview for the telemarketer job. And they'd have to read this script that goes, 'Hi, I'm calling from the Gay Pages . . .' Hilarious!"

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela