Pedro X. Molina (Counterpoint) politely and kindly uses a Simpsons trope to attribute homophobic and transphobic outbursts to ignorance and, perhaps, senility.
It reminds me of December 28, 1969, when my father and I were huddled around the TV in the family room, watching David Hilliard, Chief of Staff of the Black Panther Party, being interviewed on “Face the Nation,” keeping the sound down and hoping my visiting great-aunt, who was in the next room, would not come in.
She was a lovely lady in all other respects but had the prejudices of an older generation and a strong tendency to speak her mind, and, since we already knew how she felt about Black people, we weren’t eager to hear it again.
But since she had no way to influence public opinion or governmental policy, her toxic opinions on that measure were of no significance.
Like Grandpa Simpson, her occasional outbursts could be shrugged off.
It’s not so easy when such things are coming from those who genuinely are in positions to influence public opinion, election outcomes and legislation, and so when Gary Varvel (Creators) asserts that gay and transgender people are deliberately attempting to recruit children, it’s not enough to ignore his statements.
The question is how to respond without, yourself, being unfair, and in an effective way that is, to reference the famous Monty Python routine, an actual argument and not simply contradiction.
Simply telling my aunt she was wrong about African-Americans would have been pointless, and simply telling trans- and homophobes that you can’t turn straight people gay is equally ineffective.
And to assume that you know their motivation is as small-minded and judgmental as the assumptions they promote.
I was just starting middle school when I ran into the expression “to say the thing that is not” in Gulliver’s Travels. It served me well later in reading The Three Musketeers, in which calling someone a liar might make you the offending party in a duel.
To accuse someone of “saying the thing that is not” could mean they were innocently in error, though, if you say it with your hand on the hilt of your rapier, we all know what you really mean.
Still, it gives them the chance to offer an explanation in place of tossing down a glove.
But it doesn’t give them the chance to continue to “say the thing that is not” without knowledge that you will again dispute their statement. To remain silent is to be a coward, to refuse to respond is the same.
And to clear up an innocent misunderstanding is the best of outcomes all ’round.
After all, Aaron Burr was one of the greatest scoundrels in American history, but Alexander Hamilton had a penchant for hurling personal insults. Trial by combat yields satisfactory results only sometimes, and then mostly by happenstance.
Still, the fury over public acceptance of LBGTQ+ people is both puzzling and dangerous, which Pat Bagley unites in this cartoon.
You don’t have to like it, but why do you have to make such a big deal out of it?
It’s not just a matter of the well-known cases in which those who preach loudest against homosexuality and pedophilia are revealed to have same-sex under-age sexual partners in their closets.
It’s more often the feeling gained through experience that people secure in their own sexuality don’t fret too much over what other people are up to.
Most young men realize by the time they are 14 or 15 that lockerroom braggarts are inventing their stories.
But my goodness, those who have to emphasize their point by shooting up cases of beer are surely making Dr. Freud snicker in his grave.
The assault of “transsexual beer” with gunfire is a dangerous thing to be suggesting to unbalanced, insecure ammosexuals. As Lalo Alcaraz (AMS) notes, the GOP seems eager to criticize and encourage hatred over sexual matters and unwilling to pass laws to protect children against gun-wielding lunatics.
To quote Wanda Sykes, “Until a drag queen walks into a school and beats eight kids to death with a copy of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ I think you’re focusing on the wrong shit.”
But some cartoonists and commentators are more focused on sexuality than others, and legislators are happy to follow the lead, if stirring up distrust and fear brings out the voters. Mike Lester (AMS) celebrates a law in Montana that, as he says, bans people in other-gender clothing from reading books to children.
A similar law in Tennessee has already been struck down as a violation of the First Amendment, and it at least had the benefit of specifying “adult” entertainment. The Montana law is simply about men dressed up as ladies and ladies dressed up as men and legislators dressed up as paranoid silly people.
I mean, really.
I am not the only young boy who grew up seeing Milton Berle in women’s clothes without losing my sexual identity, and who watched “Some Like It Hot” and yet continued to find Marilyn Monroe more attractive than either Tony Curtis or Jack Lemmon.
For that matter, I saw the clowns at Ringling Brothers several times and regularly watched Clarabelle on Howdy Doody and have never expected to have an orgasm while squirting someone with a seltzer bottle.
From what I’ve seen of drag performances for children, they’re just another type of clown.
Do clowns turn you on? I’m just asking questions!
By contrast, in this cartoon, Lester is not misinterpreting anything: He is simply drawing the thing that is not. Nobody is performing surgery or irreversible procedures on underage children.
He may simply be mistaken, of course. I cannot read his mind or look into his soul, and I make no accusation, except to point out that he has drawn the thing that is not.
In any case, whether it is spawned by ignorance, by fear, by foolishness or by deliberate lying, the war on woke is, as Clay Bennett (CTFP) says, destructive of unity, equality, justice, freedom and liberty.
It is also stupid, shallow and false. Those who promote it are saying the thing that is not, and I’d like to see them forced by honor to defend their statements.
But dueling is illegal, men no longer carry gloves and honor seems an anachronism. Worst of all, video of the full Gene Kelly/Three Musketeers duel appears to be gone.
This earlier clip will do. It covers both types of honor: Self-image and loyalty.