The whole "Is Superman Gay?" thing has been all over the web and TV in the last few weeks. Some folks (never very clever folks) seem to think that Superman is, in fact, gay. Then, some of these folks think that the actor playing him in the new Superman Returns movie must, in turn, also be gay. This is one of those idiotic themes that keeps recurring in pop media. First, I think, it was said that Batman and Robin must be gay. This goes back to the Fifties, and was mentioned in Frederic Wertham's much loathed kid-psychology potboiler "Seduction of the Innocent". He was the Dr. Phil of his day, you could say. I'm sure the idea of a gay Batman and his boy wonder scared the shit out of many a mouth-breather parent. The scare made Dr. Fred famous.
Then, in no particular order, other Big Brains insisted that Tin Tin & Captain Haddock, Bugs Bunny, Pee Wee Herman (the character, not Paul Ruebens the creator/actor), Velma of Scooby Doo's entourage, Tinky Winky of Teletubbies fame and more recently Spongebob Squarepants, were all gay. These last two freakouts came from the Fundamentalist Christian camp.
So are they all gay? Yes and no.
Seriously. Yes and no. No, because they aren't real people and as such cannot have true sexual identities, of course. But as fictional characters, they are each imaginary friends to all of us. We don't learn a lot about their personal tastes, tendencies and idiosyncracies if it doesn't serve to make us laugh or thrill us, but if you want to, you can fill in these blanks in their profiles for yourselves. For example: is Popeye a liberal or a conservative? I think he's a bleeding heart Roosevelt liberal, and I love him for it. You might think he's a conservative- somehow. I don't know how you'd make your argument, but I know that you'd be right too.
Is Batman Lutheran? Does Donald Duck recycle? Can Fred Flintstone balance his checkbook? See, once you leave the narrow concern of guessing whether or not a cartoon character is gay, and you turn your attention to other aspects of their fictional personal lives, it gets pretty embarrassing. You are poking around in the personal affairs of a children's cartoon character. Seems nakedly stupid when you think of it that way, doesn't it?
But, if you want your Superman or your Bugs Bunny to be gay, then I guess you've got the right to think of them as gay. Who cares? . Doesn't matter to me, and it shouldn't matter to anyone else either. These characters belong to all of us as much as they belong to their corporate overlords.
Warner, Bugs' title holder, thought that this notion was troubling enough to clone another Bugs and dress it up like a woman. They assigned to it the task of being Bugs' ladyfriend in the Space Jam movie. This is the saddest kind of homophobia. We've seen Bugs chase his share of skirts and we've seen him wear his share of skirts. Making his identical twin act as his beard doesn't stop anyone from thinking whatever they want, and no act of corporate cowardice will change that.