Tuesday, 5 August 2008
161: Gay Ad - Butch Tobacco
from “The Goodies” April 9, 1972
starts at 4:46
Like the last “Goodies” gay ad, this offers much the same idea again. A generic commercial ideas of heterosexuality is deflated at the last moment. It’s the same idea as Beyond the Fringe’s “Bollard” sketch, only in reverse. There the models were presented as camp from the start, and so the twist was to see them pretending to be butch. Such an overly performed version of straightness easily topples into campness. It is homosexuals who fetishise and obsess over every detail of displayed manliness, motivated either out of paranoia so to hide their unmanly homosexuality, or to ape and accentuate a macho appeal. The stereotypical idea of the gay male model was exploited in Ralph Steadman’s cartoon. In the end it all becomes an idea of male attractiveness performed to other men which as in this instance literally excludes women. In these two “Goodies” sketches there’s also the possible idea that gays are silly, not just for their effeminate dress and manner, but also because it’s laughable that anyone would want to turn away such enticing, attractive willing nubile young ladies.
“Butch” is not an improbable name, since most ‘70s products aimed at straight men relied on blatantly, indeed even ludicrously, blockheaded appeals to machismo.