Friday, June 29, 2018

Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows -- and Vladimir Putin's Little Pony

It's interesting that the usual suspects among LGBT advocacy groups have not condemned the New York Times depicting Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as lovers.  I mean, GLAAD, our own anti-defamation league?

Under Greenwald's challenge I find the predictable absurd defenses of the Times cartoon.  This one , for instance:
i dont really have an issue with it. it clearly gets under his skin and im 100% more for making fun of trump by calling putin his boyfriend than...not doing that (i am a queer male and i speak for the trees)
I'm not sure I fully understand the bit about being "more for making trump by calling putin his boyfriend than ... not doing that."  So "not doing that" would be a bad thing?  The only way to mock, let alone criticize Trump is to fag-bait him?  The Resistance is more intellectually, morally and comedically bankrupt than even I thought.

This one was somewhat original, though:
I don’t think they’re going to condemn a depiction of 2 people in love. It mocks Trump bc Trump does seem to be in love w Putin sometimes. But trying to claim making out, nipple twisties & unicorns riding thru 🌈 as gay stereotypes is a stretch. All lovers so [sic] those.
So the Times was just trying to depict Trump and Putin in a positive way, as a loving couple?  Ooookayyyy.  I'll admit that I'm not sure I agree with Greenwald's rhetoric about "disgusting gay stereotype[s]"; I'm always wary when gay people denounce stereotypes.  Just as straight bigots who denounce Teh Gay often turn out to be gay themselves, gay people who denounce the stereotypes generally aren't as non-stereotypical as they like to think they are.

As always, the best way to evaluate the Times animation is to plug some different values into the equation.  Imagine that the Times produced an animation which depicted Trump and Putin according to the grand American tradition of the minstrel show.  The comedic possibilities are considerable: Trump and Putin as a pair of shuffling, watermelon-eating, handkerchief-headed darkies, robbing the sacred henhouse of Democracy to fill their bellies -- until a haint played by Robert Mueller comes along, Don and Vlad's eyes bug out, their hair stands on end, and they cry "Feets do yore stuff!" as they light out.  Pretty cool, don't you think?  I bet a lot of white Resistance liberals would eat it up. But there'd certainly be an outcry, condemnation, righteous denunciation of the Times for using these disgusting stereotypes.

There'd be defenses too: of course every woke liberal knows that being black or eating watermelon or raiding the henhouse aren't bad things in themselves, but Trump (and probably Putin as well) would surely see the depiction as degrading, so degrade away!  I believe, though, that the condemnation would win out, because white liberals are better trained in rejecting racist humor than straight liberals are in rejecting antigay humor.  Fag jokes, as I've pointed out before, are common and acceptable among straight liberals who piously support gay marriage and gays in the military, just good clean fun, and this was true years before Trump ran for the Presidency.

I just remembered Barry Blitt's infamous New Yorker cover depicting the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad reacting with consternation as another man taps his foot under a restroom stall.  This was supposed to be sophisticated satire, but I thought it was clumsy and tone-deaf.  I still think so, and I think it revealed a lot about the artist, the magazine, and its audience that a mere linking of an official US enemy to homosexuality is worth a sly chuckle.  That cartoon, along with the even more controversial Obama cover, featuring Barry and Michelle as black militants sharing a terrorist fist bump as a US flag burns in the White House fireplace, are for me further evidence that, contrary to Jon Schwarz's claim, liberals don't necessarily do analogies or humor any better than conservatives do.  "I'm just trying to make myself laugh," Blitt told NPR.  I thought he gets paid to make other people laugh as well?