The Animation Pimp: Is There a Faggot in the House?

This month the Animation Pimp gets a little queer about the gay hysteria circling around various cartoons.

Illustration by Andreas Hykade. Courtesy of Chris Robinson.

In 1997, Kelly and I were in Vegas (we got married there). During our stay we popped into the Liberace museum. It was kitsch paradise. For whatever reason, I remember these two old birds going on about what a loving son he was and all that. Liberace always had this big old lady following. Funny thing is that if you confronted most of these gals about homosexuality Im sure 88% of them would be against it. Yet for decades they loved and fed and supported Liberace (who they must have known liked penises). Same goes with Rosie ODonnell or Ellen DeGeneres. Ellens eponymous sitcom causes all this controversy after she comes out as a lesbian. What was her punishment? She gets herself an afternoon chat show. Daytime TV, Id think, would be ripe with anti-gay old ladies and pseudo-liberal trophy wives. Yet both Rosie and Ellens shows were/are getting solid ratings. Of course, their sexuality (not that I watched the shows) wasnt exactly trotted out. Then weve got shows like Will and Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Queer as Folk and The L Word (okay... come on now how much of their audience is comprised of straight guys like me looking to see some steamy lipstick lesbo action?)

Just when you thought the American right couldnt get any more absurd, weve now got news that cartoons including, get this, a sponge are gay.

Nipple

First, let me get a rant about the Super Bowl over with. I watched it last year (2004) on my uncles big ass HDTV set. I saw ads for alcohol, and assorted commercial shit but easily the most memorable spots were the many plugs for pills that give men hard-ons. And what about the exotic dancers? Oh yeah theyre technically called cheerleaders. But they sure as hell look like strippers to me. They cant dance. They slither, shake and gyrate to the delight of thousands of limp drunk men who drool, catcall and peepshow them until the football game gets in the way.

So all of this is acceptable family behavior but a (black) nipple (the lifeblood of babies) isnt?

And why is it that the ugly white guy got off while the black chick got all the blame?

I know its not all Americans but as much as we do share a similar language and TV sets, its moments like these that should serve to remind Canadians that we are in fact a very different country. Thats not to say that we dont have our share or right wing nuts, but our country is far too busy setting up gay marriages and finding alternatives to NHL hockey to get all bent up over a drawing of a fucking sponge.

Canadians wonder why Americans are so hung up on a sponge. SpongeBob SquarePants image © 2004 Paramount Pictures and Viacom International Inc. All rights reserved.

SpongeBob

Now I havent seen every episode of SpongeBob, but Ive seen quite a few. Im not the sharpest tack on the floor when it comes to codes, but I dont ever recall seeing anything that would remotely suggested to me that SpongeBob or any other character on that show was gay or even interested in sex. SpongeBob has always seemed like a slightly retarded teen who likes nothing more than to hang with his friends and do stupid things.

Buster and Patty

What struck me most about the reaction to the recent gay episodes of The Simpsons and Postcards from Buster were these two quotes:

Ultimately, our decision was based on the fact that we recognize this is a sensitive issue, and we wanted to make sure that parents had an opportunity to introduce this subject to their children in their own time. said Lea Sloan, vp of media relations at PBS.

Id rather them [The Simpsons] not do it at all, says L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Parents Television Council. Youve got a show watched by millions of children. Do children need to have gay marriage thrust in their faces as an issue? Why cant we just entertain them?

Why is every issue of parenting other than gay marriage allowed airtime on childrens TV? Postcards from Buster © CINAR Corp.

But I guess its okay for PBS and other networks to regularly interfere with every other issue of parenting. I often take a peek at shows my son Jarvis watches. They include (on and off): Atomic Betty, Totally Spies, My Dad the Rock Star, Arthur and a few others. From what I can see, all of these shows (not to mention the stream of toy commercials telling my son what will make him cool and uncool. He already disses girlie toys like those slut Bratz dolls) are ALL dealing with a variety of issues that kids confront at home, school and in a social setting. They deal with divorce, friendship, crushes, death, loyalty and a host of other ethical issues. Clearly TV doesnt feel that death is a sensitive enough issue to leave for parents to discuss. And man as for them just being about entertainment what about these doll commercials or shows like Totally Spies? So hey girls its okay to dress like tramps and have angel on the ass of your spandex pants, wear make-up and strive to be vacuous woman (beauty: yet another weighty issue that even Plato and a litany of philosophers couldnt fully define) for the boys (who are also influenced because their ideas of what girls are all about are being defined for them through these images of girls). So youre gonna tell me that that is just entertaining and not passing on values to kids?

And I guess that having shows with white kids (or animals!) with two different sex parents, a pet and a two-story house is not projecting values either, right?

I wont even get into that whole issue again of crap like the Justice League (Unlimited) and assorted other action shows that tell kids that violence only destroys buildings and big rocks, not people.

How many times have you read about gay kids who suffered through high school who were forced to stay quiet for fear that theyd be mocked, exposed or beaten up? Gay kids who hated themselves, thought they were freaks and suffered depression and alienation. Some probably even committed or considered suicide. Can you imagine the stress? This is a period of life that is already loaded with mountains, but can you even begin to imagine what a burden that must have been?

Now imagine the same kids today having access to episodes of The Simpsons or Postcards from Buster or even, For Better or For Worse (remember that comic strip that had a gay teen?) or other childhood shows of that nature. Can you imagine what a world of difference that would make on gay (and straight) kids? Homosexuality wouldnt be such a big issue for gays or straights. Teens would likely feel more comfortable, less stressed out and at the other end of the spectrum the straight kids would likely be a little more tolerable and less fearful.

Oddly enough, the Sugartime episode of Postcards from Buster which has Buster visiting (in live action) a lesbian couple with three kids doesnt really get into the same-sex issue. Buster asks a couple of initial questions about the kids having two moms and thats that. Its all very matter of fact and normal. The show actually leaves lots of room for parents to discuss the issue if it comes up.

Last night I was listening to this Lenny Bruce CD. The first sketch was called Are There Any Niggers Here Tonight? He just keeps asking that question to an audience. The purpose: if you say or talk about something enough it begins to lose its impact and stigma and just fades away unnoticed.

Jarvis watched the Theres Something About Marriage episode of The Simpsons with us. He asked: Why are two ladies getting married? Kelly said: Sometimes ladies want to marry other ladies and sometimes men want to marry other men. He seemed satisfied for now with the answer.

That wasnt difficult, was it?

I havent heard anyone discuss what I felt was quite smart about this The Simpsons gay episode. Why does Springfield allow same-sex marriages? They need tourist money. They figure that by promoting themselves as a gay friendly town, theyll attract the gay dollar. After Rev. Lovejoy refuses to perform same-sex services, Homer quickly applies online to become an ordained minister so that he can reap the profits of performing same-sex marriages. So are the writers saying that homosexuality has only become more tolerant in the last few decades because of the awareness that the gay community has spending power? You mean its got nothing to do with our society becoming more tolerant and aware that there are different ways of living life? Does that mean that black people have only become accepted because they have money? Have we tolerated women only because they have jobs and bank accounts now? Is that why Mexicans arent tolerated? Did the Soviet Union collapse because of revolt throughout their republics or simply because Moscow couldnt afford to keep the system in place anymore? Did the U.S. invade Iraq to save the world or gain control of their oil? Nah sorry that cant be the way the world works.

Hunter Thompson. Bye.

Chris Robinson is little more than a man. In his spare time he cares for the elderly. www.animationpimp.com.

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