Betty Noe, Poetry and Translations Panel Editor
I feel like I should start this by saying that I’m not good at writing blogs. And yet, somehow, some way, they keep coming up again and again in my life. I think my real problem with blogs is the relatability factor. I don’t do relatable. I am not relatable. Just this morning my mother sent me an email with no context and no warning, a subject line that read “more family drama,” and a body that contained nothing more than a New York Post article about members of my family and an ongoing paternity drama (we’re not famous or anything, it’s just our drama is that salacious). This is not relatable. This does not happen to most people. On my father’s side, car crashes run in my family the way blue eyes might run in yours (it has to do with a family curse which I will not get into here). Who else here can relate to that information? It’s not like feeling personally victimized by Regina George; no one is going to raise their hand for that.
So when I had to sit down and write this blog post, I figured I should start by thinking of someone who can write on the fly and make it look good. And then I remembered my legend, my icon, my star, the light of my life: John Paul Brammer. For those readers who don’t know who JP Brammer is and would love to know what kind of a man could inspire such a devotional love in my cold, dead heart, look no further than the introduction that appears at the top of his “¡Hola Papi!” column in them. magazine: “John Paul Brammer, a Twitter-addled gay Mexican with chronic anxiety who thinks he can fix your life.”
“John Paul Brammer, a Twitter-addled gay Mexican with chronic anxiety who thinks he can fix your life.”
I’m going to take the rest of this blog to tell you exactly what JP Brammer does right, but you should also take some time to read ¡Hola Papi! yourself, starting with his chef d’œuvre, the ¡Hola Papi! bee interview, or this classic catfishing column, or, if you want something to get you where it hurts, this column on forgiveness. You might think that’s a lot of hyperlinks for one sentence, but honestly getting that list down to just three articles was pretty difficult. And if you read those and still need some convincing, take a look at this masterpiece of an answer from an obscure interview with Brammer in a Gaylord College alumni publication.
JP Brammer has the uncanny ability to take something as mundane as an advice column and turn it into a reflection on what it means to be queer in today’s society. While some of the letters he receives are a trip to read, others bring up situations that many of us in the LGBTQ+ community have grappled with at one time or another. And these aren’t just problems concerning interactions with the cishet people in our lives, but problems within the community, like how we should approach someone who’s bisexual and in a heterosexual relationship (Papi is not here for your bi-erasure). Brammer treats all of these subjects with care, no matter how wild the subject is, and always with a mix of wit, humor, and emotional intelligence that never fails to stun me. But in the end, what I love most about JP Brammer is
We at Long River Review regret to inform the readers that the author of this post was trampled to death by a herd of wild, rabid hogs and was unable to finish this post.