Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Secret Identity

Not everyone will agree with me, of course, but I think it's good news that Archie comics will be introducing an openly gay character in the September 2010 issue of Veronica. I used to read several different comics in the the Archie series as a young fagling, but this is the first time in 40-some years there's been reason to revisit them. I like the way that the gay character, Kevin, casually mentions that he's gay to Jughead (hint, hint?); odd as it may be to say of this kind of comic book, it reminds me of the real world. I suppose I should have the local comics store order me a copy so I won't miss it.

The comments under that Comics Beat story got my attention. Most were positive, but there were the predictable rants from bigots, like the one who complained that "this only promotes sex and I would not let my kids read these… I believe these COMICS are for kids and I dnt want my kids to be havn sex b4 marriage (no, that is not impossible) and kids should b able to b a kid without relating to everyone in the world… not just an opinion, read the Bible!" As other commenters quickly pointed out, the whole Archie world is built on (hetero)sex: Betty's crush on Archie, Archie's lust for Veronica, for example. How a gay Archie character would lead kids to have sex before marriage any more than the straight ones do is not obvious except to the hysterical.

And I loved this guy, who touched base with every cliche in the book, crammed into one paragraph:
Why is it when anyone disgrees with something that is pro Gay, they are critisized as being hatefull and ignorant. We have become a nation that has no morals or convictions! I believe being homosexual is wrong based on God’s Word (the Bible) I also beleive that only God can judge. As Christians we need to stand up and stop being intimidate becasue we dont want be be labeled as horrible people. I know swveral Gay, people, I even have gay family members, I love them all I just do not approve of the lifestle. Just as you have the right to say you like the comic change, I and anyone else have the right to say we dont like it and dont want our children to read it. What happened to freedom of speech! Why am I ignorant or hateful because I have differnt beliefs than you? So many of your comments are so hypocrital! Introducing diffenent nationalities is not the same as introducing a Gay character. A perso is concisded gay because of sexual oreintation. Our society is so sexualized, no wonder Rape, Aids, Abortion and teen pregnancy is so high! I can not letmy son watch videos or certain commericals without him seeing a woman being objectified or shaking her body! I pray for all of you as well as our Country. I pray that God will send someone in your life to show you the light. May Jesus be with all of you even the ones that will write hateful comments. As for me and my house, We will serve the Lord!
(Serving the Lord: dip Lord in egg batter and roll in seasoned flour. Fry in 400-degree oil until crispy; serve while hot, with the beer of your choice. But I digress.)

I especially like the "What happened to freedom of speech!" since freedom of speech not only guarantees one's right to say what one thinks right, but guarantees others' right to disagree vehemently. (This person answered well for the most part, except for assuming that we are "born gay" and a few other blunders.) But then this guy threw in his two cents' worth, with more pruriency about "gay bowel system" which "is so disgusting its symptoms can only be alluded to" and our high numbers of sexual partners (jealous much?), which prompted this whiny and ill-informed response:
I’m sorry, there are so many lies in this quote it’s maddening. I’m gay, I’ve been out for eight years, and I think I’ve dated a total of MAYBE fourteen people during that time. Fourteen. In eight years.
I've pointed out before how stupid people are about statistics. If gay men in Atlanta (the previous bigot's example) had "an average of 60 partners a year" in 1994, that average is built not only on people as pathetic as this commenter, but on those who have many more than 60 partners a year. But he lost any sympathy I might have felt for him when he added that he "goes to a Baptist Church! ... we are a very forward thinking church, in every sense of the word. Towards women, gays, African Americans, etc. (as it should be!) So everyone, please just keep in mind not all Christians are so close-minded." Evidently he doesn't go to a Southern Baptist Church, but anyhow this is just the flip side of his mistake about averages. Not all Christians "are so close-minded," but many are. It's as misleading to stereotype Christians as gay-positive, feminist, and anti-racist as it is to stereotype them in the reverse directions. And it gets worse as he goes along.

Another commenter sensibly pointed out, "How many times will deflecting the attention of girls who want him because he’s a hunk work in stories? And if he’s the only gay in Riverdale, he has no one to date." Still, the caveat is premature, I think. All we've seen so far is the first page of the story. Maybe Kevin will ask Jughead to the prom. And maybe Jughead will say Yes.