The Bats in the Band

A Red HaringI can hardly believe how many seemingly intelligent writers on the Web are hopping up and down with excitement at the opening of yet another Batman movie. Maybe it evokes for them happy childhood memories of reading superhero comic books; memories I don’t share, preferring, as I did, Scrooge McDuck to [Fill in the Blank]man. Funny Animals for me, not loving exploration of men in tights.

One of the great disappointments of the whole Gay Pride movement is the failure of pop culture to respond by moving the Q subtext of so many comics and TV shows (Starsky and Hutch, anyone?) from out of the shadows and placing it — pardon me — front and center. All the gay references and humor tucked away in the Conan permutations, in gladiator and cowboy movies, in countless sitcoms like Frasier and Friends, and the endless posters of male disciplinary figures (cops, spies) wagging their guns like deputized Village People — all that would be so much less tacky if it were out in the open instead of sniggering in the closet. But the Heath Ledger and Christian Bale pas de deux suggests there are still vast underground reservoirs of suppressed homoeroticism ready to be tapped.

Wives, if your husband is champing at the bit to see this new Bat thing, there’s no need to worry. But you might want to invest in a cute little sailor suit.

Dr Wertham was right!

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