Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Clay Aiken, Running for Congress, Bashed as Representing San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 11:15 AM

click to enlarge Not a San Franciscan. Sorry. 
  • Not a San Franciscan. Sorry. 

Forgotten, if not repressed, memories of water-cooler sessions of yore occasionally break free and float to the surface. These are bizarre, ethereal recollections of colleagues discussing Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard performing "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" on national television and in front of a live audience; pandemonium and a hurried evacuation of the theater did not occur. It was 2003. It was a different time. 

These are the things you think about when Aiken's voice is warbling over the soundsystem at the Walgreen's. And, then, they're just as quickly forgotten once more. 

This time, however, they've been exhumed more violently as Aiken, the onetime American Idol runner-up, has announced he'll try to finish one place higher in a North Carolina Congressional run. And, in a move that insults just about everyone there is to insult, Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers assailed the openly gay singer's San Francisco values. 

Neanderthal-level political messaging, like most Neanderthal-level endeavors, is unattractive. When Ellmers' spokeswoman wrote -- yes, in writing -- that Aiken's "political views more closely resemble those of San Francisco than Sanford," it's a safe bet she's not talking about his views on pedestrian safety

Translated from the native Neanderthal: He's gay, gay, gay. 

But, with all due respect to Aiken -- please don't make him our problem. San Francisco is still reeling from its unwanted association with Train.

There are more than a few gay musicians out there, regardless of whether a traveling production of South Pacific is heading through town. Any town. This kind of gay-baiting is as unimaginative and lazy as it is reactionary. 

San Francisco is a city in flux. It's hard to say what San Francisco is anymore, and the term "San Francisco values" has long been wielded as a cudgel by those who'd profess to speak for everyone. 

This is a difficult place to encapsulate. But, this much is true: This ain't a Clay Aiken kind of town. 

That said, best of luck to the man. He's always welcome to visit. And fund-raise.  

  • Pin It

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"