The conservative Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was openly gay to a degree that's unimaginable here: On national television he explained that he enjoyed the taste of semen, comparing it to a strong liqueur, and he cited his hook-ups with North African and Arab men as "proof" that he wasn't racist. Dutch voters, for and against him, were more interested in his ideas. He wanted to cut government's role in health services and education, he spoke against the "Islamisation of our culture," sounded a warning cry about the dangers of shari'a law superseding the Dutch legal code, and pledged to cut immigration drastically. Yet he was also for euthanasia, for legalized soft drugs, for same-sex marriage, and for reducing the military by combining the army and air force to save money. Although Fortuyn was riding a crest of widespread popularity with fully fifty percent of voters aged 18-30 supporting him (huge in a multi-party system), the Netherlands did not get to have their first ever openly gay Prime Minister, because they had their first assassination in 330 years, since 1672. A white Dutch man shot Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting "the weaker parts of society to gain political power." The motive was unrelated to Fortuyn's being gay. The killer, thirty-two, was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. Fortuyn was fifty-four. Contrarian even in death, Fortuyn was buried twice, first in the Netherlands, then dug up and re-interred in Pordenone, Italy, where he owned a second home.
Grace Kelly, Marilyn, Marlene, and Charlize rock to Beth Ditto in this famous Dior tv spot shot at Versailles [after the jump]. That song, Heavy Cross, from her post-punk band Gossip (formerly The Gossip, formed fifteen years ago in Olympia), was an international smash: With 97 weeks on the singles charts it was the second longest-staying song ever on the German charts (now it ranks sixth). If it somehow makes sense that the Arkansas native who claimed to have eaten squirrel meat growing up would become the indie darling of the alt music world -- playing every festival from Coachella to Glastonbury to SxSW, with NME naming Gossip "the greatest punk rock’n’roll disco soul band on the planet" -- it is perhaps still a surprise, given the extreme body fascism of the billion-dollar beauty industry, that Beth could become a face of fashion. Yet she was Glamour's International Artist of the Year in 2008, appeared nude on the debut issue of London's LOVE magazine in 2009, and in 2010 walked the catwalk herself, opening Jean Paul Gaultier's spring collection during Paris fashion week. In 2012 the band released their fifth studio album and Beth published her memoir Coal to Diamonds [Kindle] co-written with Michelle Tea. Last summer, barefoot in Maui, in a gown Gaultier designed for her, she married her girlfriend Kritsin Ogata, who wore tailored shorts and sneakers. Today she's 33.