"Jersey Shore" Men: Accidental Gay Icons

by BILLY GRAY · June 23, 2010

You'd think that getting the general in charge of the Afghanistan war effort canned was the biggest reassertion of print media relevance this week. But Rolling Stone might want to move over, as the Village Voice duped Seaside Heights' boys of summer into posing for the vaunted free alternative weekly's Queer Issue.

The Old Media situation, as it were, is improving. You've no doubt heard that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal got the boot today after he minced few words about top Obama administration officials in a staggeringly unfiltered interview with Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings. Like the Icelandic volcano that possibly inspired McChrystal's frankness and the desert battleground he's no longer overseeing, the dust from this one won't settle anytime soon.

Not to be outdone (and to join Rolling Stone in not collecting dust on newsstands) the Voice put Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Vinny Guadagnino on the cover of its Queer Issue, which is conveniently timed with Sunday's Gay Pride Parade in NYC. Fourth gorilla DJ Pauly D was presumably busy dropping trou for the cover of Details and studying the revised parade route.

In the article, Tony Phillips writes about the furtive gay scene out on the Guido Riviera, a milieu that Jersey Shore subtly perpetuates even as its male cast members bash it on the well-toned too-tan surface:

"Central to the show’s success is The Situation & Co.’s blend of the homophobic and homoerotic, mixed together like a potent Long Island Iced Tea. Ronnie’s “fucking faggot” boardwalk rants, The Situation’s gay-for-pay media plays, and Pauly D’s shirtless photos (showcased on dicks-out website GuysWithiPhones.com) have all shaken the cocktail."

The Situation and company might not be aware of their hidden commentary on the Shore's down-low gay scene, but the trio was just as clueless about how the Voice planned to invert their patented macho stances into a fuschia-fonted celebration of the sort of Macho Man the Village People mythologized. The Post reveals that the fellas revealed their torsos knowing nothing about the Voice's contextual intentions. Reality stars foolishly rushing into potential booby (or steroidal pectoral) traps? I'm shocked.

Thankfully the guidos seem to have better heads on their shoulders than Anna Nicole Smith (left), another tabloid star conned into a (far more unflattering) cover story she hadn't anticipated. But who could expect anything but a tasteful, restrained lesson in Rembrandt-esque portraitature when asked to sit spread eagle with a bag of Cheez Doodles betwixt your thighs?

These days media outlets old and new need to sink low to stay afloat.

At least the Voice shots didn't end up in the paper's infamous back page classifieds.

Photos via Carrie Schechter/Voice and NYMag