Arts & Entertainment
Viewpoint: Eulogizing the CGO
A personal look at the legacy of Travis Parman
Originally printed 10/15/2009 (Issue 1742 - Between The Lines News)
Tear the lapel of your best pink blazer and say Kaddish, bitches.
Travis Parman - General Motors' East Coast Publicity Director and self-anointed CGO (Chief Gay Officer) - has taken a buyout, and the world of automotive journalism will never be the same.
I first met Travis through Ray Wert of Jalopnik, who suggested I contact him about what Ray delicately called the "alternative automotive media scene," shortly after my big, gay car blog Stick Shift went live on Vanity Fair. Travis got back to me immediately, letting me know I was already "on the General's gaydar" and suggesting we meet for cocktails. "How's tomorrow?"
Thus began a connection between me and our ailing No. 1 domestic manufacturer that was based equally in Travis' monomaniacal drive to do his job, Travis' monomaniacal drive to see his own name in print and some truly excellent American automobiles. GM products appeared often enough in my column to prompt a sexy, automotive PR girl to once ask me, "Who is Travis Parman blowing to get so much coverage in Vanity Fair?"
Straight people are preternaturally obsessed with the amount of oral gay guys get, but Travis was just doing whatever he needed to get his cars in print.
(For the record, he never blew me.)
"With Travis," Joe LaMuraglia, editor in chief of http://www.gaywheels.com, likewise wrote me, "one could always count on the beer to be low carb, the car to be hot and the 'help' at his events to be hotter."
Parman even managed to work his fairy dust magic at Jalopnik. Though he was once observed by Wert committing a cardinal El Jalop sin - "pulling up to the Gawker office in a Camaro SS, trailing the smell of clutch smoke in his wake" - he still managed to eek out what Ray called a "closed-mouth man-kiss" at a New Year's party in the Alpena, Mich. lodge he shares with his partner. (Travis, not Wert. Wert's house up north is in Saugatuck, natch.)
Travis spent his last year with the General in New York, fulfilling a lifelong dream for a boy from the Southern sticks. Here, he was finally free to pursue his core - and interrelated - obsessions: the gym, his personal trainer, his hair and CNN silver weasel Andersen Cooper.
The city and its car fanatics will be one queen short of a full house now that he's gone.
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