Sunday, 8 February 2009

224: Jack Chick - The Gay Blade

panels from “The Gay Blade” by Jack T. Chick, 1972

For more of the nearly ineffable and inexhaustible bigoted religious oddness of Jack Chick, why not start here, and then stare with befuddlement into the gawping horse’s mouth itself.

I think we can all tell that Mr Chick doesn’t want to deal in this sordid matter. No one should be confronted by this sort of especially sordid sin, let alone when it is wilfully flaunted by those who have rejected God’s law and grace. Mr Chick is driven to write about this distasteful matter by the depth of his concern for your soul. Isn’t that good of him? (Don’t forget to say ‘Thank you’.)

Are these caricatures or are they how Mr Chick really sees homosexuals. Mockery or verisimilitude? Rather than the variable comic effects of most of the things I’ve posted, in this instance the aesthetics of Mr Chick’s cartoon have a moral impetus. If you don’t already comprehend how wrong homosexuality is then this should put you off. Note how surprisingly old and raddled Mr Chick’s homosexuals are: balding, sagging and, at best, ridiculous. There’s not a hint of style or camp triviality about these homosexuals, because that might accidentally grant even a dab of attractiveness to this sinful and properly unspeakable behaviour. Copious and incessant Mr Creosote-like vomiting is surely the only reasonable disgusted response. And if you were unsure, well, he’s drawn a picture of that too, just so you’ll be convinced.

On one small point I will defend him however. Because Mr Chick likes to revise his efforts given new information, people have been accidentally led to misjudge this work on one point. The version to be found online gives this work a copyright of either 1984 or 2000. This has led to easy criticism that judging from the homosexuals he has drawn Chick’s cluelessness about modern homosexuality is frankly awesome and all-encompassing, and he can therefore be readily dismissed as a crank.

The original version of this dates from 1972. Mr Chick is prompted to knock up this airy confection in response to the newly burgeoning gay lib movement. It’s silly to castigate him for drawing his Gay Libbers as hippy types. Gay Lib at that type was a largely hippy/post-hippy movement (see here and here, oh and here). That they’re fat, greasy slobs is a judgement call by Mr Chick on hippies (cf Ronald Reagan’s crack: “A hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane, and smells like Cheetah”.)

As homosexuality has proven a social problem that hasn’t gone away so this has stayed in print and been updated to take into account AIDS; it’s just that Mr Chick hasn’t taken the effort to update his representation of homosexuals as well. As the version you can read in full online as “The Gay Blade” is a bit of a hodge-podge of facts, social trends, and art from over almost 30 years, so it’s little wonder it doesn’t entirely all cohere sensibly

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