Gay men used to be known for their powers of artistic discernment, granting a priceless cultural imprimatur on the only trends, films, and iconic women who deserved it. No longer! Now, when even a reality show fourth banana like Audrina Patridge can have gays flinging themselves onto the pavement of Santa Monica Blvd. in a desperate attempt to be her new BFF, the standards for gay adoration have reached a watermark so low that it wouldn't even reach the hem of $220 capri pants. Thus it is that Tori Spelling has seen fit to anoint herself as a modern-day gay icon, an honor that E! talk show host Chelsea Handler tells The Advocate is simply canny marketing:

The Advocate: When did you first feel love from gays?
Chelsea Handler: When I had sex with my first gay man. It was pretty quick and painless, but I definitely felt it. [Laughs] I was never some fruit fly hanging around with a bunch of gay guys. I always just loved gay people. Now I definitely have friends and people on staff who are gay, but I don’t only hang around gay people. It’s not like I’m trying to be Tori Spelling — on many levels.. [...]

Did you attend any Prop. 8 protests or rallies?
I only go where the gay people invite me to go. It’s not nice to do things for the community only when people are looking. People who speak out for gay people just so that they can create a fan base annoy the shit out of me. People like Tori Spelling. She doesn’t have compassion for them. She’s not going out doing things for them. She’s like, “Oh, I have such a huge gay following.” It’s because no one else is following her!

Not true: why, Spelling is practically hounded by women who got knocked up too late for her Bumps deadline, or 90210 producers who are simply begging her to tape a guest spot (on a Canada-only bumper meant to promote the show in between Shamwow informercials). Her gays aren't a necessity but a bonus! They make her feel special, beautiful, and employable in small, straight-to-Logo romantic comedies.

[Photo Credit: AP]