According to stereotype, gay people are the ultimate tastemakers and creative trendsetters. Our keen eyes for detail and ability to think outside the box provide us with an aptitude for identifying trends, uncovering talent, and coming up with creative ideas and designs, particularly when it comes to art, culture, and fashion.
While it’s true that in generate we dominate the creative world, we can be just as tacky as everyone else. In fact, our fails tend to be even more spectacular. Usually, we know the difference between good taste and intentionally bad taste, known in sociology as “camp.” For instance, the cult classic Pink Flamingos is so bad it’s good, which the great John Waters totally got. Unfortunately, we’re not always that lucky.
Scroll down for 12 of our worst contributions to American culture and style. Please add your own examples in the comments section below…
Whatever queen is responsible for this shockingly awful trend should have his gay card revoked immediately. ‘Nuff said.
Carson Kressley’s “Perfect” QVC clothing line
The year was 2006. Carson Kressley was at the top of his game as fashionista on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. So he did what every successful D-list celebrity does and launched a QVC fashion line. The line was called “Perfect” and featured “basics with a twist” geared, apparently, towards Midwestern suburban housewives. Items included pleaded khaki capri pants with a side buckle, T-shirts bedazzled with rhinestones, white denim jackets with polkadots, and stretch jeans to name just a few examples of the horror. We love you, Carson, but, please, you’re hurting our eyes!
David Bromstad’s “fine art” collection
Looking for a glossy mixed animal print canvas to hang over your sofa? Search no further! David Bromstad, host of HGTV’s Color Splash, has no shortage of affordable “fine art” for sale, in addition to a line of bathroom accessories sold exclusively at Bed Bath & Beyond, and a limited-edition collection of Coffee-Mate® creamer bottles (yes, we said Coffee-Mate® creamer bottles) that he designed for Target.
Darren Star’s Cashmere Mafia television series
Sex and the City producer Darren Star hoped to recycle the HBO phenomenon on network TV in 2008 when he signed on as executive producer of ABC’s Cashmere Mafia. The show followed four fashion-obsessed career women as they navigated through life in New York City. It was a familiar formula, and one not many viewers seemed interested in. The show, packed with outdated fashions, ugly sets, and bad one-liners, bombed both in the ratings and the reviews, surviving barely seven episodes before ABC pulled the plug.
The music of Colton Ford
The adult film star released his first album Tug of War in 2008, which featured 12 original electronic dance songs. A year later, Ford released his sophomore effort, Under the Covers, a collection of 18 cover songs, including Aailyah’s “Rock the Boat,” Britney Spears’ “Trouble,” and Mariah Carey’s “It’s Like That.” A third assault came in 2013, when Ford released yet another album of original dance tunes called The Way I Am.
The gay-themed supernatural/gothic soap opera aired on the network here! for three seasons between 2005 and 2007 and centered around a young gay couple, Kevin and Toby, whose love was constantly being challenged by dark mystical forces conspiring to tear them apart. After the third season ended, here! announced plans to produce a fourth, but something happened (we’re not sure what exactly) and the new season mercifully never came to light, though the show’s official website still says it’s “coming soon.” Perhaps it’s being held captive in the evil House of Shadows.
Liberace’s mirrored piano
It’s not surprising that someone with an ego the size of Liberace’s would want a grand piano covered entirely with mirrors so he could admire himself, and be admired by others, from every angle at all times. The problem isn’t so much the piano itself, but what it led to, and we’re not just talking about the elevator music that’s about as pleasant as fingernails on a chalkboard. Thanks to the bejeweled one, some people now furnish their entire homes with mirrored decor. Mirrored tables. Mirrored dressers. Mirrored headboards. Mirrored armoires. Department stores now carry entire lines of mirrored furnishings.
Cher’s gay anthem “Pride”
We love Cher. But her gay anthem “Pride” from the deluxe edition of her most recent album Closer to the Truth was bad even by EDM standards. “We got pride,” the diva belted over a synthetic dance beat, “We own the night! We are the light!” Had it been released in, say, 1996 it might have resonated more deeply with gay audiences. But by 2013, we didn’t need another shrieking club track telling us to be proud.
Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP
While we’re on the subject of bad music, to call Lady Gaga’s 2013 album ARTPOP a “misstep” would be an understatement. The album, along with its promotional campaign, was an utter disaster, plagued by poor single choices, infighting with her management, and disappointing sales figures, not to mention bizarre media appearances where Gaga claimed she was addicted to marijuana and made jabs at Madonna’s age. But the root of ARTPOP‘s problem was probably the songs themselves, many of which sounded like throwaway tracks from her previous effort Born This Way. Oh, and don’t even get us started on that whole collaboration with R. Kelly and the rapey music video. We still cringe every time we think about it.
The interior designs of Bobby Trendy
Self-proclaimed “top interior designer of Los Angeles” Bobby Trendy first gained notoriety after appearing on The Anna Nicole Show in the mid-2000s. Trendy designed a tufted Pepto-Bismol pink bed for Smith with matching feathered pillows and satan bedding. He later went on to call himself “the most famous designer in the world” before appearing on the short-lived Gimme My Reality Show!, in which D-listers compete for their own reality show. (He didn’t win, unfortunately.)
Madonna’s film The Next Best Thing
This 2000 calamity starring Madonna and Rupert Everett revolves around Abbie (played by Madge) and her gay best friend Robert (played by Everett) who decide to make a baby together. Things don’t work out and a nasty custody battle ensues. Critics called the film “astonishingly bad,” a “tone-deaf disaster,” and a “depressing, lugubrious film experience.” Roger Ebert described it as “a garage sale of gay issues, harnessed to a plot as exhausted as a junkman’s horse.” Perhaps the only good thing to come from the entire debacle was its soundtrack, which featured two new songs from Madge, “Time Stood Still,” and a cover of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” which became an international hit.
Rainbow flag & swag
We know Gilbert Baker had the best intentions when he designed the Gay Pride flag in 1978. And to be clear: We totally understand and appreciate what the flag represents. But we still hate it. The colors are, in a word, garish. They are too bright. Not to mention, there are too many of them. (Believe it or not, the original design had even more colors, but two of them had to be removed for production purposes.) On top of that, the whole rainbow thing has gotten way out of control. There are now entire online stores dedicated exclusively to selling personalized rainbow gear — T-shirts, jewelry, keychains, belt buckles, water bottles, bumper stickers. It’s become a real problem.