Wednesday, 19 December 2007
31 - Gay Lib: Private Eye
in “Private Eye”, 7 November 1969
cartoon by Michael Heath
The joke of "Poove Power" is the idea of what a militant gay would be. The fey whoopsiness of the stereotypical homosexual does not go hand-in-hand with the stridency of a Black Panther. Supposedly “Private Eye” writing sessions from this period are mostly people putting on silly voices, and someone else transcribing. So I should imagine it’s a case of Richard Ingrams, Barry Fantoni and co egging each other on to more ridiculous claims for “equality”. The idea of what “equal rights” for homosexuals would be, is what makes up a lot of the jokes about Gay lib through the years. I’m just surprised they didn’t mange to include a joke about Tariq Ali, who was “Private Eye”’s all-purpose revolutionary buffoon of the time.
Of the three items listed in the banner, while “The Boys in the Band” and “Staircase” are films and remembered still, “Jeremy” was a gay lifestyle magazine which was published in 1969 and is now almost totally forgotten.
“Roger Basement” is a pun on Roger Casement, the Irish nationalist who was executed in 1916. A “Black Diary”, purported by the British authorities to be Casement’s, revealed that he had been an active homosexual, and so was used to discredit him in the eyes of nationalist (and therefore Catholic) political sympathisers. Debate still rages as to whether the Diary is genuine. Partly, because it’s quite possible that the British Government were trying to lie and blacken Casement’s character, but also because there are people who still think that being gay is imputation upon Casement’s character from which he needs defending.