Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Apparently we are at war with, well ... something

Jonathon van Maren
Jonathon van Maren is an anti-abortion zealot and conspiracy theorist. He is the spokesperson for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform which gleefully distributes photographs of aborted fetuses. Van Maren is also an occasional polemicist for the orthodox Catholic LifeSiteNews.com. Tuesday he writes: “The LGBT war on whimsy: now Tintin is gay?” Tintin is a fictional young male created in 1929 by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name HergĂ©. I did not know what Tintin is or that he is gay. Nor do I care but that's not the point.

As for the “now,” van Maren refers us to a 2009 article in Business Insider that cites a reporter writing for the Times of London making a case for why Tintin is gay. The original eight year old Times piece is unavailable. Who the hell even cares? Van Maren cares if he can characterize it as a conspiracy to indoctrinate innocent children. That makes van Maren a bigot a you will see.

The speculation of one English polemicist does not a conspiracy make. The fact that he found this obscure article suggests that van Maren has far too much time on his hands. Furthermore, I don't even know if the theory that Tintin is gay (and I cannot believe I just typed that) has advanced any further over the last eight years (seemingly not). Exactly how Mr. van Maren divined that reporter's intent shall remain a mystery as Mr. van Maren is not exactly a critical thinker. He writes:
It is not enough that revisionist hack historians are transposing today’s hypersexualized climate onto male friendships of the past, insisting that Abraham Lincoln must have been gay or “bi-sexual” … the post-modernists in the field of literature have decided that the fictional characters of the literary canon are also in need of a rewrite. … Shakespeare is also full of homoeroticism, apparently—especially if you are the type of academic who has never relinquished the adolescent ability to see everything as sexual.
The fact that Lincoln is such an important president makes it impossible for him to have been gay? I am unaware of anyone “insisting” that Lincoln was gay or bi but there is some evidence and it is an interesting question. Questioning is not historical revisionism. It is called intellectual curiosity and that is a good thing; something that is sadly lacking in van Maren.  I do not know what fictional characters van Maren is referring to that “required rewrite” nor do I think it is important. The sexuality of William Shakespeare has been the subject of scholarly speculation for a very long time. So what? One of those “adolescents” that van Maren refers to (not by name) is Stephen Greenblatt, a 73-year-old professor at Harvard and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize who sports a PhD from Yale. Let's just be dismissive because van Maren disapproves of gay people and Greenblatt has questioned Shakespeare's sexual orientation. Perfectly logical.
And now, I’ve discovered, it’s been “revealed” that the beloved European adventurer Tintin is gay, as well. … No fictional character, it seems, is safe from the sexual iconoclasm and literary vandalism of those who wish to project their sexual motivations on everything and everyone.
No fictional character? None? Really? Someone who is not the author speculating that a fictional character is gay is an iconoclast and a literary vandal. And Mr. van Maren is some sort of mind reader who can assign sexual motivation as cause for the speculation. Apparently this is all profoundly disruptive to van Maren because he does not approve of gay people for some idiotic reason or due to superstition or religious belief. I cannot begin to imagine what this guy would do if he has a gay child. Would his kid be an iconoclast? Iconoclasm has a far more negative context for religious people (the destruction of religious icons). For the rest of us, challenging the status quo is often seen as a very good thing.
But then, unfortunately, I clicked on the Business Insider column that explained - “revealed,” per the headline - that Tintin was gay. Now, I realize that there is a whiff of the absurd about all of this. Tintin is a fictional character who was created in the imagination of Georges Remi. The idea that a fictional character has any life at all outside of the pages of the work of their creator is the stuff of childhood imagination. But perhaps because the sexualisation of everything is beginning to become so tiresome, let me take a few moments to explain why this literary “theory” is as stupid as it is absurd.
Don't bother to explain. Who the hell, other than him, really cares? The reporter, by the way, was Michael Paris, a former member of parliament and openly gay. It appears that Paris was just having some satirical fun with this. People like van Maren just don't get satire.

What is bothersome about all of this is the idea that if the character is gay that amounts to sexualization which doesn't seem to occur if the character is straight. Mr. van Maren seems wed to the notion that gay people are defined by their sexual orientation. That amounts to an appeal to stereotype and is a form of bigotry. This gives us a better understanding of why van Maren is so repulsed by the idea that Abraham Lincoln might have been gay or bi. None of his accomplishments would matter anymore because he would have been a sex-obsessed pervert.

This theme is repeated later on. Gay characters sexualize literature and corrupt children:
The only reason I’ve bothered to write a response to such a nonsensical issue is because the constant attempts to retroactively sexualize literature - especially children’s literature - is becoming wearisome. This is an attempt by the sexual revolutionaries to colonize childhood. That is why the LGBTQ lobby has been pushing Disney for so long to portray a gay character in one of their children’s films.
And just in case you didn't get it, van Maren in closing:
Tintin wasn’t gay, as Georges Remi would assure you. Pre-schoolers don’t need to be introduced to homosexual puppets. These activists need to leave sex out of childhood, and stop trying to force their lifestyles into the whimsy and innocence of children’s stories.
Van Maren lacks the maturity and critical thinking capability to understand that a sexual orientation is not a lifestyle and that gay people really do exist. The presence of gay people, in real life or fiction, does not pose a threat to the innocence of children. It is the Church that poses a threat to children through homophobia and a failure to contain its molesters. Cheap shot? Call it return of serve.

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