Tuesday, 26 August 2008

174: Gay Sports - Football 5

Bernard Cookson in “The Sun” 25 October 1986

Well yes, as far as “The Sun” will ever care, if gay men play football, then of course they’re going to be skinny effeminate twinks in stockings, who when they’re not wearing skirts are wearing just the shortest shorts, with their hands on their hips and carrying handbags, more concerned with gossiping and bitching. Except for the howitzer smoking a pipe on the far right who, I assume, is supposed to be a lesbian.

173: Gay Sports - Football 4

John Jensen in “Punch” 26 September 1984

An illustration to an article about football scouts. There was nothing about footballers kissing in the article so this is Jensen’s own choice. Except for “gay”, all the little thought bubbles coming from the spying scouts are various football commentary clich├ęs or acronyms. While all the other pieces I’ve posted so far are obviously about homosexual attraction, this is the first cartoon that I’ve seen to actually feature the dreaded word.

172: Gay Sports - Football 3

“The Goodies” – “Football Crazy”, 16 January 1982
Start at 8.10

From an episode mainly concerned about football hooliganism. Tim Brooke-Taylor starts off adopting an elder generation denunciation of modern players’ unmanliness and concern for their own appearance. But as Tim lists off how the players’ appeal on the field is more sexual than sporting, he finds himself succumbing to the “sporno” enticements of the game to the point of almost uncontrolled ecstasy.
Where the Pythons just slightly goosed-up contemporary football celebrations, “The Goodies” examine all the other homoerotic appeals of the game and its players, as Football becomes more and more as one with the entertainment/celebrity business.

171: Gay Sports - Football 2

On February 14, 1976 the newspapers all got rather excited over a report from the Football Association match and ground committee. A proposal was made to the F.A. executive and disciplinary committee that footballers who “kiss and cuddle” could be charged with bringing the game into disrepute. Most of the actual news reporters adopted a rather stiff up-lip - “I say, come on now, chaps” sort of a tone, attributing this kind of unmanly behaviour to having been picked up from foreign players. It’s always those continentals who induce our good innocent lads into all sorts of beastly un-British practices and spoil things for everyone. Cartoonists have the license to point out that it wasn’t exuberant exhibitionism making the crowds antsy, it was the full-throttle man-on-man lip action and what that could really mean. The no kissing and cuddling rule was ultimately rejected by the F.A as “not practicable”.

Stan MacMurtry (“Mac”) in the “Daily Mail”, 15 January 1976

“Giles” in the “Daily Express”, 15 January 1976
This one definitely revels in the taint of mano-a-mano attraction, with every player absolutely avid for a kiss.

Keith Waite in “The Daily Mirror”,15 January 1976
And here, it’s the suggestion that this is all too “adult” to be seen by children.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

170: Gay Sports - Football 1

Well, since I’m sort of English, we might as well start the ball rolling with football. Not that I like football. Ball goes one way, then it goes another, and at the end of it all you’ve lost some ninety minutes of your life. Big fun, I’m sure.

There was, in the 60s and 70s, a tendency for on-pitch celebrations by footballers to become a little over-intense. Rolling around, hugging and kissing each other borne aloft on the ecstatic wash of victory. Which of course aroused some discomfort among the supporters and fans. Since these are the heroes of the working man and young boys everywhere they couldn’t quite come out and plainly call their country’s top players a load of old poofters. But they almost wished they could - so now there’s that little germ of irritation from which result all the following comedic pearls. Or something.

from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” 23 November 1972
(play from 4.07 – 4.40)

A little light music, some slo-mo, and the whole farrago becomes an awful lot more romantic, dontchathink.

Bernard Hollowood, in “Punch” 20 November 1968.

169: Leo Abse

in “Private Eye” 6 January 1967

Leo Abse, who died on Tuesday 19 August 2008, was the Member of Parliament who introduced the Sexual Offences (homosexual reform) Bill. It was passed as an Act in 1967, decriminalising sex between consenting men over the age of 21.

I've never seen "Francis" before or since as a cartoonist. It's a relatively sweet and inncouous cartoon.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

168: Gay Sports - Anxiety and Embarrassment

Almost all the cartoons I shall be dredging up over the next couple of days, when they’re not about inappropriate sexual attraction, are instead demonstrating how gay men are unfit to play sports and therefore silly and ridiculous. Here are a couple of cartoons where heterosexual discomfort is the engine of the joke.

in “Mad Magazine” January 1973

A little gay panic. Vast tracts have been written and rewritten about homophobia and homosociality in sports, about how you can only have the intense heterosexual affection demonstrated in team sports through the explicit disavowal of any homosexual feeling – blah blah blah, blah bla-bla-blah. I’m not even going to attempt to add to any of that.
Here, given “Mad Magazine”’s target teenage audience, it just comes down to anxiety about how, when you’re least expecting it, normal manly behaviour suddenly turns into an unexpected sexual encounter. On several levels this is a refusal to play by the acknowledged rules.
I didn’t notice it immediately, and then only after I’d looked at this several times, but the gay player not only has a limp wrist but there also appear to be some lacy frills poking out of the bottom of his shorts. It is a fairly good thunderstruck expression on the first chap though.

by Richard Guindon, “Minneapolis Tribune”, 1977

In this one it’s about feeling the shame of being beaten by gay players, when in the natural scheme of things one might expect to be superior to a gay team.
And has there ever been an article with a gay team that hasn’t included the question, “How do the other teams feel being beaten by a gay team?” Well done, Mr Guindon for being decades ahead of the curve there. And I do often admire Richard Guindon’s cartoons – particularly one from the late 70s/early 80s which is spot on in its prediction of the horror of a world where everyone has a mobile phone.

167: Gay Sports - The Games

by Larry, in “Punch” 6 October 1982

Outside of killing and/or fucking (or maybe even both at the same time, gggrrrr), what can be more traditionally masculine than participating in competitive sports. The commonplace straightness of organised sports almost inevitably invites comically contrasting visions of homosexuality.

Here Larry offers assorted femmy images: bouffy hair, high-heeled boots, purses, lipstick, earrings, etc. In competition his homosexuals are not merely unmanly, but almost infantile – hide and seek, bell horses?

Larry’s cartoons are inspired by the first “Gay Games” in 1982.

Monday, 18 August 2008

166 - Gay Summer Camp

Summer camp is a traditionally outdoorsy and active, rough and tumble boysy American rite of passage. And in contrast we all know that young gay boys are such delicate and sensitive hothouse flowers, to be forever constitutionally disqualified from participating in the free and easy lifestyle that is normal male bonding. So basically here we have three different variations on the same joke – what would a gay summer camp be like?

From “Mad Magazine” June 1971

Here it’s not just that little gays boys are effeminate, but they actually want to be women. Drag, hair styling, interior decoration – well fair enough. They even give us flowers around the border. But Mah-jongg? Really! Who knew gay boys wanted to be Jewish widows? Although I did enjoy “Golden Girls”.

from “National Lampoon” May 1977

Probably the best, and most thorough of the three. This isn’t a camp like the other two, where artistic youngsters have their sissy proclivities indulged and developed. No, the joke here is that this summer camp programme is intended to enable its young campers to participate fully in the experience of being that slightly bullied, awkward, excluded and un-athletic proto-homo.

from “National Lampoon” June 1979

Here’s it’s all about late ‘70s sensitivity development. Hell, I wouldn’t mind having gone to one like this. Although I did do one summer at Johns Hopkins nerd camp, which is about as near an approximation as one could wish.

Note also the first and last make reference to Fire Island. To which we did once go on holiday for one day when I was about thirteen, and where we all utterly failed to notice anything.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

165: Gay Ad - Schmitt's Gay Beer

from Saturday Night Live, 28 September 1991
Housesitter #1.....Chris Farley
Housesitter #2.....Adam Sandler

This is pretty much a detail perfect parody of American beer ads in the late 80’s/early 90s. The policy of blatant displays of jiggly female flesh-appeal used to flog beer to young heterosexual men, is here turned on its head with equally and ludicrously explicit displays of male flesh to entice the homosexuals. These beer ads always started with a couple of all-American young men in some situation that was just no fun at all. And every Americans consumer is entitled to constant fun - anything else would be an infringement of their Constitutional rights. So, the solution is to just open a beer cooler (you need a whole cooler of the stuff because American beer has all the flavour and potency of something strained through a sickly donkey’s last kidney). Instantly, the sun comes out making everything magically brighter and more appealing, a raucous rock n’roll track starts blaring in the background, and hordes of nubile, barely clad lovelies with mammaries that’d inspire the Graf von Zeppelin are leaping about all over the scenery. The young men turn to the camera and thank the beer for making everything better. Oh yes, and everyone has been holding a beer in every bloody shot. Fun = tits= beer. God, I wish I had the ingenious insight into the human mind that would allow me to be an advertising executive.
The SNL crew follow exactly the same commercial formula, only all homosexual-like. The joke is about beer ads, not homosexuals per se. The point of these sort of ads is always to instil a fairly base Pavlovian sexual association with the particular brand being advertised. For the parody to work, it therefore has to show the same level of open unabashed homosexual desire – Farley and Sandler staring at the models, taking photographs and other assorted horseplay. In showing that, without sneering at it, this is a fairly positive parody. The tagline about “If you’ve got a big thirst and you’re gay” incidentally shows up how ridiculous much of the pink economy was before it even existed.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

164: Gay Ad - Retirement Home

from "National Lampoon" May 1977

Instead of the usual glowing paradisiacal enticements of the typical senior citizen rest home, the comic discrepancy in this parody arises from its plain balls-out contempt for its prospective gay clientele. That even in an ad, disgust from society is all that is rightly deserved, with no right to ever expect any better. I suspect that the authors of this would claim that this is all ironical, merely a pretence of vicious bigotry. Maybe that’s even the case.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

163: Gay Ad - Clorox parody

“A Mad Look at the Clorox Commercial”
from “Mad Magazine” December 1978

Again, a pastiche of a popular ad strategy. Again, the momsers at “Mad Magazine” think a homosexual is a transvestite. Note the wrist is so limp as to be almost atrophied. “Divine. . . silly . . .yummy”? . . .ho-hum. The face looks awfully familiar, from some camp American supporting actor, but I know it’s not Edward Everett Horton. Or it may be the guy from the “Don’t squeeze the Charmin” ads.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

162: Gay Ad - Anita Bryant's Homo No-Mo

from "National Lampoon" May 1977

and a TV adaptation of the same from National lampoon's 1978 HBO Special 'Disco Beaver From Outer Space'

Some Messages From Our Sponsors

Don’t touch that dial! Here a few other gay-themed ads I posted in the past:

Bollard – “Beyond the Fringe” 1961

Ralph Steadman – male models

America’s Going Drag - "Mad Magazine", January 1969

National Lampoon’, May 1972 – Rockwell Home Orifice Protection System

Jamitol - Saturday Night Live, October 11th, 1975

Gay Action Figures - “Mad Magazine” September 1993

And one which I haven’t got is “America’s Turning Gay” from Saturday Night Live, 27 March 1982. Spoofing Dr. Pepper's "Be A Pepper" and "America's Turning 7-Up" jingles, Americans dance in the streets to celebrate their sudden openness in being gay. However, I would imagine that it’s very much like this scene from The Kid in the Hall’s film “Brain Candy”.

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.

160: Gay Ad - Tumex Watches

in “National Lampoon” May 1977

This rather gruesome image is a parody of Timex watches and their slogan – “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”. Of course, there’s nothing necessarily homosexual about brachioproctic eroticism. Hell, fisting’s recommended in the Bible. Why not raise this in conversation with your parents at the next available opportunity.

Monday, 4 August 2008

159: Gay Ad - Fairy Puff

from “The Goodies”, BBC 2, 8 November 1970
(transcript from http://www.goodiesruleok.com/newsletter.php?issue=10)

A girl (Maria O’Brien) is standing at a washing machine.

GIRL: Oh, wash days! Look at this pile of washing. I don't know what I'm going to do!

Tim Brooke-Taylor enters, wearing a shiny white suit and holding a box of Fairy Puff washing powder.

TIM: (with brash American accent) Hi there, kitten! I'm the Fairy Puff man. (Sings) Gets right to the dirt of the wash! That's me! Hey kitten, that dress you're wearing is grey, grey, grey, grey, grey!

GIRL: I know, but what can I do?

TIM: Here, kitten. Take that dress off and put it in this washing machine with Fairy Puff. (Sings) Gets right to the dirt of the wash!

The girl removes the dress and hands it to Tim.

TIM: Uh-uh, kitten, that underslip you're wearing is grey, grey, grey, grey, grey! Best take it off and we'll put it in as well.

The girl removes her slip and gives it to Tim.

TIM: (sings) Gets right to the dirt of the wash!

TIM: Oh-oh, kitten, those undies you're wearing are grey, grey, grey, grey, grey!

GIRL: I know, take them off and put them in the machine.

We see a head and shoulders shot of the girl as she removes her undies and gives them to Tim, who is leering at her.

GIRL: Now what are you going to do, hmmm?

TIM's leering changes to a look of uncertainty.

TIM (girly voice): I'm going to wash these clothes. I'm the Fairy Puff Man! (Sings): Gets right to the dirt of the wash! I'm a little Fairy Puff man, puff puff!


A bit of a damp squib this one. The overly macho pitchman suddenly becomes camp and effeminate when confronted by real female sexuality. While 70s humour is full of unclothed women, the trick is always to find some comic means of conceptual disavowal, so that it’s not merely smut. The sketch has been building to further and further female disrobing and nudity, maybe even the possibility of actual sex, but then at the very moment of climax the male recuses himself in what is a relatively new and shocking mode.
“Fairy Puff” is not an inappropriate name for an old-fashioned detergent, and it’s presented in such a way that the viewer shouldn’t automatically think “Fairy” + “Puff” = homosexual, but still accept the sketches rather suddenly and weedily presented conclusion.
This is a televised version of a sketch which first appeared on the radio series “I’m Sorry I Read That Again” (22 February 1970). The writers thought well enough of it that they included it in the premiere episode of their new TV series.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

158: Gay Ad - Long Distance

on “Saturday Night Live”, 8 November 1975


It starts with the typical advertising trick of establishing generic associations of warm nostalgia about home life to slop all over the product at hand. There is some syrupy sentimental music which becomes more overpowering as the advert continues.
However rather than a standard Norman Rockwell scenario, we see a young boy standing on a stool, dressed in a green dress, while his mother kneels before him with pins in her mouth making adjustments to the dress.

Voice over: “Remember when you were a little boy and mother would dress you up in her prettiest things. The hours of fun together, sharing secrets and planning elegant little tea parties.”

The camera focuses on the boy’s face (which doesn’t show much to be honest) which then fades to a close-up of a nicely presented young man sat at a sofa. He has a look of pleased remembrance.

Voice-over: “Well, mother is only seconds away when you dial long distance.”

He then picks up a phone and starts dialling. While dialling he is joined by another nicely presented young man, carrying a cup and saucer who sits on the arm of the sofa, crosses his legs and turn his attention to the first, who mouths silently “mother”. Cuts to old woman sewing who picks up a ringing phone by her side. Screen splits so son and boyfiend are on left, and mother on right hand side of screen. Young man sat on the arm of the sofa drinks his tea rather prissily while mother and son talk happily.

Voice over and on-screen slogan – “Long Distance … It’s the next best thing to being her.”


This is from the school that believes as far as homosexuals are concerned “boys will be girls”.

I see that this was one was censored in much more modern and liberal considerate times. Most of the things posted here are one time only. Published in a magazine, broadcast on TV, then never to be thought of again. The intention of these creators is to be paid for the laughs that they raise there and then. At best, the creators pay lip service only to the social standards of their time, or else refute various hypocrisies. Certainly, as working comedians they probably have little sense of responsibility to future generations. That’s why comedy is so powerfully representative of the attitudes of a given time. The idea of being re-printed or re-broadcast is but a vague hope for continuing residual royalties, not an artistic legacy. However Saturday Night Live has now been so long-running that its repeats have become canonical.

This ad parody angered The Gay Activists Alliance during its initial broadcast, and so it was edited out of a late-night classic rebroadcast on NBC in 2005. Suggesting that gay men want to be their mothers is apparently now so offensive as to be unbroadcastable. Of course this does draw upon the longstanding belief that an overly intimate relationship as a child with one’s mother will make one gay. Which is of course a total lie, with not a scrap of verifiable evidence from any homosexuals’ life, either now or at any time in the past. No sirree, I hope that’s clear and no mistake.

But still, you probably know the piece of graffiti: “My mother made me a homosexual” – "If I give her the wool, will she make me one too?"