Tuesday, 18 December 2012

470: Gay Santa Claus

Ken Pyne,
“Punch” 2 December 1981

From the early days of what we would now call multiculturalism, this cartoon offers all the possible bleeding-heart heart liberal alternatives to a traditional Father Christmas. The joke is marrying all these different instances of positive discrimination to harmless Father Christmas, rather than attempting to show what a gay Santa or a CND Santa might look like.

From “Santas for All”
Illustrated by Gerry Gersten
“Playboy”, December 1966

Whereas this is nothing but festive offerings to satisfy various contemporary steretoypes. Amidst the surfers and black power protestors, here's Swish Kringle.

Similarly, you can look at Richard Ingrams camping it up as Santa in “Private Eye”, December 1963

“Playboy”, December 1967

Just asking each other for their Christmas presents, or something more?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

469: AIDS 5 - Moralising 2, James Anderton nil

James Anderton was the chief constable of the Greater Manchester. His campaigns to combat crime were complemented by his public opinions on social, sexual and moral matters informed by his strong religious beliefs. Hence he was nicknamed “God’s Copper”. On December 11 1986, officers from police forces across the country attended a seminar organised by the Greater Manchester police to discuss police handling and interaction with AIDS victims. Anderton, until recently a Methodist lay preacher, had converted to Catholicism. (The Catholic Church of the time was strongly resistant to AIDS campaigns which emphasised sex education and the use of condoms.) There he spoke about how AIDS was primarily a risk just for prostitutes, drug-users and homosexual men:

“Everywhere I go I see increasing evidence of people swirling around in the cesspool of their own making. Why do homosexuals freely engage in sodomy and other obnoxious sexual practices knowing the dangers involved? Why is this question not asked of these people.”

Which pretty much speaks for itself. In particular, Anderton’s phrase “swirling around in the cesspool of their own making” has gone down in history as the epitome of 1980’s Establishment homophobia.

Noel Ford in The Daily Star, 13 December 1986

JAK in The Evening Standard, 16 December 1986

Private Eye, 6 February 1987

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

468: AIDS 4 - Moralising 1

AIDS made for easy moralising and condemnation of those who practised deviant lifestyles. The recurrent phrase was “God Punishing….” The trio of high-risk types were homosexuals, drug-users, and Haitians. Not nice, all-American, white-bread suburban types.

Starts at 2.25

Andrew Dice Clay
From “Dirty Dirty Jokes” 1984
(This was the video equivalent of “party records”, blue and offensive material – it’s even hosted by Redd Foxx. Released in 1984, this was probably recorded only a little time after Eddie Murphy’s AIDS routine was released in cinemas.)

“It’s enough pressure I live up here in Hollywood, right? Great place. You know they got a lot of gay people here, you notice that? They’re all over the place. It’s like a fungus. You know what I’m talking about, I’m not kidding. You get herpes, AIDS and fag-itis. You know what I’m saying. They come from Fagtroid. They’re not from this planet, alright. They march up and down Santa Monica Boulevard with T-shirts on: “I want money for AIDS”. Well I want money for a new fucking car, I ain’t going up and down the street. Get a job, butt-fucker, okay? Find something else you like. I mean, personally, I couldn’t see having some guy rip my rectum to shred and turn around and say “I love you”. Why don’t you just put a bullet in my head while you’re at it, I ain’t going to be able to shit for three months as it is. They don't know if they want to be called gays, homosexuals, fairies. I call them cocksuckers. I think it spells it out. What’s the big debate about?

“And then I read recently (this really excited me), David Bowie comes out with a statement saying he’s not gay anymore. He gave it up. What ‘d he do? Go to the Shick Centre for three weeks. I mean I know this guy sees a boy scout troop he buckles to his knees, you know what I’m saying. I quit cigarettes too, okay pal. You need a dick in your mouth that’s your problem. But it’s not really the faggots that piss me off. I even respect them a little. ‘Cause they’ve made a decision with their life. Not like these bisexuals. What do these guys wake up in the morning, flip a coin, right? Heads – I’ll take hair pie; Tails – I’ll take balls across the nose. This ain’t a menu, you know what I’m saying.

“And you know what really cracks me up. The punchline. When they finally do get this AIDS disease, they can’t figure out where it comes from. They have no idea. If you’re walking around with shit on your dick everyday, you’re bound to pick something up, you know what I’m saying? This ain’t a 24 hour virus here, know what I mean? You ain’t fucking normal, you can’t figure it out. You need the Hershey highway, that’s your problem. Specially when they can’t come up with a cure the next day, know what I’m saying? Think this is maybe god’s way of saying “Hey fella’s, this ain’t right. This ain’t the combination I picked out, you fucking blind.” I guess if I had to bang somebody in the ass, I’d go with Reagan.”


David Haldane in Private Eye, 23 August 1985

Pat Oliphant, October 1985


I haven’t found a copy of it online, but there’s another editorial cartoon by Tom Toles contemporaneous with the Oliphant one. Again, it highlights the complacent, bigoted attitudes some people held about those most affected by AIDS:

A man-on-the-street interview, asking "What do you think about AIDS?"

1st Woman: "It affects homosexual men, drug users, Haitians and haemophiliacs…Thank goodness it hasn't spread to human beings yet."

1st Man: "If it spreads to the general public, it would be a grave medical crisis, demanding an immediate government response…"

Interviewer: "And if it doesn't?" 1st Man: "It's God punishing homos."

2nd Woman: “'Good Christian people have nothing to fear as long as we stay a million miles away from the slimy creatures who may have it.”

2nd Man: "I only hope that scientists are able to discover a cure soon. But not too soon."

3rd Woman :”I think it’s having a good effect on homosexual behaviour, causing them to be . . .um . . .”

Interviewer: “Less promiscuous?”

3rd Woman “No. Dead”

467: AIDS 3: Avoid Like the Plague

All the casual disgust and revulsion occasioned in certain people by the mere existence of homosexuality, let alone any sexual practices, were given a full arena for open expression in the public health consequences of the apparent death sentence of AIDS. Homosexuals - not just innately detestably, and morally sick, but actual plague-carriers. So, thanks to the tabloid press, here’s the funny side of the leper’s bell:

Stanley Franklin in The Sun, 26 February 1985

Bill Caldwell in The Daily Star, 19 February 1985
Stanley Franklin in The Sun, 5 December 1986

Stanley Franklin in The Sun, 10 July 1987

Two months before “The Sun”’s “Pulpit Poofs must stay” headline.

from the "The Appallingly Disprespectful Spitting Image Book", 1985

Saturday, 1 December 2012

466: AIDS 2 - A Talking Point

By the end of 1984, AIDS has become a fixture of conversation, an imminent concern, an object of speculation and ill-informed speculation, but now part of the casual cultural landscape – something that we don’t know much about but which something must be done if civilisation isn’t to reach some catastrophic tipping point.


Auberon Waugh’s Diary
Private Eye 28 December 1984

Poor Ken Livingstone made a fairly average joke about AIDS to some students, and now everyone is complaining his jokes are not good enough. He was asked how he planned to save the GLC and replied: "We're going to bring over some poor unfortunates who suffer from AIDS and get them to work through the House of Commons…"

Immediately the local Lesbian and Gay Society was up in arms: "AIDS is not a laughing matter," claimed a spokesman. "Mr Livingstone was well out of order and those comments were in very poor taste". Well, perhaps it was not one of Ken's best jokes. We all have our better and our less good efforts. But ratepayers are getting above themselves if they expect and absolute sizzler every time.


Great Bores of Today
Private Eye, 22 February 1985

Proof for my thesis.


By David Haldane
Private Eye, 14 June 1985

Well, precisely. Making them backwoodsmen only adds an additional layer of incongruity, rather than the expected “what’s the news of the world?”


Auberon Waugh’s Diary
Private Eye 6 September 1985

Sitting in the warm sunshine on the garden bench in southern France while lizards play at my feet and larks sing merrily in the air above, I'm idly turning over the pages of the Daily Telegraph airmail edition when my eyes fall upon this headline:

"Anger at 'monstrous' claim that Earl of Avon died of AIDS"

Political colleagues and friends expressed shock yesterday at a report – described as 'monstrous' by the Government Chief Whip – that the Earl of Avon, son of the late Conservative Prime Minster, formerly Anthony Eden, died of AIDS.

It all seems most unlikely. Hereditary peers normally have an in-built resistance to such infections which explains, in part. the survival of the House of Lords. But poor Lord Avon was not, perhaps, a member of one of our noblest families, being the younger son of a political first generation. Now the earldom has died with him. If AIDS is really going to start wiping out the peerage, it is plainly time I rushed home to fight the good fight.

An odd aspect of the disease is how the medical profession seems unconcerned by it. Only an occasional doctor, like John Seale in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine breaks ranks to give us sensation-seekers what we want to hear.

"Such a virus could produce a self-sustaining epidemic. It could lead to la lethal pandemic throughout the crowded cities and villages of the Third World of a magnitude unparalleled in human history. This is what the AIDS virus is now doing."

Even he does not dare mention the threat to our beloved House of Lords for fear of mass hysteria and panic. Now the Government's Chief Medical officer, Dr Donald Acheson, claims the illness is so unimportant that there is no need to tell your wife about it, let alone leave your job.

But the oddest thing is the silence of the BMA fanatics and Moral Re-Armers. Every week they shriek and groan about the dangers of smoking ro drinking. They have insisted that every cigarette packet carries a health warning and are now campaigning for a ban on all cigarette advertising. but not a whisper from them about the dangers of homosexuality, or an suggestion that homosexual advertising should be discouraged. What on earth is happening?

When I come to power every bottle of Eau Savage Cologne, every pair of leather jodphurs or "chaps" sold will carry a notice:

DANGER Government Health WARNING


The above is doubly noteworthy, since the next issue featured the following letter:

Private Eye 20 September 1985

Waugh on AIDS


Auberon Waugh is quite right in observing that most doctors are strangely silent on the seriousness 0f the AIDS epidemic, but the reason is not that they do not recognise it, nor that they are indifferent, but that it is very difficult to know what effective action can be taken. Tow things are clear, however. First, and most important, homosexuals must come to terms with the scale and urgency of the problem as quickly as possible, and any campaign must therefore be mounted with their active assent and collaboration. They are understandably obsessed with the anti-gay backlash that AIDS is already generating, and this red herring is a major obstacle to their acceptance of wide-spread confidential blood-testing. Such testing must be the backbone of any effective control measures, as the number of individuals infected is probably at least 50 times the number with AIDS. Secondly, the general public should be made aware that the risk from non-sexual contact, and even to children of women with AIDS who were born before their mothers became infected, is very low. The main effect of the prevalent paranoia about lavatory seats and coffee cups is to make a reasoned approach to the homosexual community even more difficult. I suppose it is too much to ask the EYE for a moratorium on gay-bashing, but AIDS is a uniquely serious issue, and you could at least tone it down a bit.

Yours sincerely,

Julian Peto