for this month's
tasteless crip humor, don't miss the very bottom of the page . .
When I look at the contents of
this issue and then look back over the last two years of BENT I
am pleased and surprised at how much we have achieved together.
In addition to first-person
accounts that treat cripgay lives with wit and candor, your writing
in BENT has addressed broader issues of cripgay culture, from fetishism
to the metaphysics of disability.
Direct Discourse, your place for
personals, is growing slowly but steadily.
Bent's subscription list has increased
by 25% in the last month, with subscribers checking in from all
over the world.
Bent's association with Disgaytalk
has resulted in a give-and-take between list and webzine that, according
to your e-mails, is meaningful and supportive in ways you don't
We hear inflated and largely empty
claims of how the Web creates community, but maybe in this case
it really has made a small contribution in that direction. We gimpy
queers are, after all, "a body of persons having a common history
or common social and political interests." Even more to the point,
we are "a body of persons of common interests scattered through
a larger society."
"Scattered" is the operative
word. We represent a minority of a minority so small that it's often
hard to find one another in that larger society. But here we can
find one another any time of day or night, whenever we need our
own Small World Reality Check.
So let's sit back and enjoy this
comfy niche of fellow-feeling we've cleverly crafted, right? Not
"Think big but build small" appeals
to me as an adage to live by. Yet in this case the proponents of
growth may have a point. In order to attract contributors who will
continue to provide the kind of content that characterizes BENT,
the kind you log on to read, we need to increase our visibility.
If it's true that BENT readers
become BENT writers, then it's true we need lots more of both. For
a tiny webzine that offers its contributors no pay, there's no other
way to go. For once, growth may not only be good, it may be essential.
I've taken a step in the direction
of greater visibility by initiating plans for an anthology of writing
from BENT. Getting the word out in hard copy can be an effective
adjunct to the mission of any webzine. Talks are underway with a
publisher, but this is a project that won't happen overnight. In
the meantime, here's what I'm asking you to do:
1. Get someone you know to subscribe.
And remember, you don't need to be a queer or a crip to read BENT.
2. Tell a friend to place a personals
ad in Direct Discourse. Submit one yourself.
3. Convince your local newspaper,
fagrag, community newsletter, or disability organization to run
a story about BENT. Write to me for a press release.
4. Stop procrastinating: Write
something for BENT yourself.
5. I know there are lots of good
ideas for a higher BENT profile that I've been too dull-witted to
think of. Let me know what they are: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoy hanging out with you and
I'm grateful for what you've taught me, so I hope that BENT grows
bigger and better. I hope that BENT lasts for a good long time.
But there's no guarantee that those good things will happen.
So pitch in, spread the word,
enlarge our niche.
has been a bilateral amputee since the age of six as the result
of multiple birth defects. His writing has appeared in The New York
Times, Stagebill, and other publications. He lives in San Francisco.
© 2001 BENT
It's CALLAHAN time . . .