Monday, 23 July 2012

441: Gay Boy Scouts

Punch, 18 May 1983
Mike Dickinson

From nearly thirty years ago, some cartoons about what a gay scout might be.

“Scouting for Boys” is the real title of one of the scouts guide books (raise you eyebrows if you will at this), and so Dickinson employs expecting his audience to bring the rather more base assumption.

So working down, then from left to right:

1. , First cliché: fussy gays like cocktail bars with torch singers (their gay scoutmaster limp as asparagus and with a rather contemporary bushy gay moustache) and a Noel Coward-type piano player.

2. Where would we be without a pun on “Queens”? And the first of the cartoons based on a fear of paedophilia.

3. Greenham Common was the American weapons base in England which was the site of a longrunning peace protest, mostly peopled by women, who were commonly thought to be a bunch of radical feminists – or “dykes” if you want to be less kindly about it.

4 and 5. The last two explicitly make jokes about little boys having sex – which is of course always the fear about letting gay men near the scouts: what exhausting depredations have the pair in #5 been subject to, being the joke.

Vide the line from Marty Feldman’s “Funny He Never Married” sketch from 1968:

1, He was very keen on scouting, wasn't he.
2. Even in his later years, he'd only have to see a troop of scouts go by and his eyes would light up.

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