First the gays came for the county clerks…

Posted by Planet Waves

By Matt Bors

Cartoonist Matt Bors riffs on Martin Niemöller’s famous quotation about the holocaust, to pitch-perfect effect.

By Matt Bors.

By Matt Bors.

12 thoughts on “First the gays came for the county clerks…

  1. Geoff Marsh

    Oh-oh! Looks like homophobia, smells like queen spirit.

    Dear Matt, I suspect you are fortunate enough to be too young to have been around in the great Uranus conjunct Pluto period (1967). In those days there was a seminal underground artist (not dissimilar from yourself in style and content) called Robert Crumb. One of his creations, Wonder Warthog, protected mankind from the Pigs of Uranus, large-penised muscle studs whose like could only rarely be observed while on Sandoz or Owsley in the backrooms of gay leather bars in a fantasised ‘Frisco. (I’ve looked for frames on the net but although mentions are made, actual pictures are as rare as chickens’ teeth, or the studs themselves.)

    Many gay people are not in relations, and so the concept of gay marriage is politically meaningless. Perhaps, as Eric suggests, it would be better for their psychological well-being if they did plunge their todgers into those dark passages where the sun doth not shine. Nevertheless, their upbringing or perhaps personal decisions prevent them from doing so.

    I think it would be much more beneficial if young gay people were accorded understanding by their fellow planet inhabiters, and not subjected to hysterical homophobia, bullying and gross ignorance. To be totally cliche-ridden, would you really have the balls to publish this cartoon if it maligned blacks, women or Muslims? Please do not subject gay kids to prejudices that they do not deserve. Life as a queer is still hard, despite liberal “understanding.”

    Of course, I appreciate your humour, coming as it does from now. I hope that, in the future, you will be able to look back on it as an historical moment, as curiously dated as:

    Here is a recording laid down in London in 1972. The lyrics are by Gilbert Shelton and taken from the Warthog’s strip cartoon.

    With love and respect for you and your talent.


  2. Eric Francis

    This is not homophobia. This is Matt ripping into the minds of these twisted people. For those who don’t live in the United States the irony may be lost. I was cracking up just from the headline. We are so sick of this bullshit nobody has any idea.

    1. Geoff Marsh

      In that case, I do find this cartoon obscure to the point of obfuscation. Whatever Matt’s intentions, it makes very good propaganda for the fundaloonies as it stands.

      Of course I could be wrong, and maybe it just doesn’t translate well. I don’t recall “the homosexual agenda” gaining traction in the UK, although I suspect its effects are manifest in organisations such as The Alpha Course and the New Life Church which sprang up around the same time here, promoting aggressively anti-gay sentiments encased in family-friendly re-introductions to Christianity.

      The real irony for me is in the nature of Jesus’s sexuality. It seems obvious to me that he was homosexual.

  3. Amy Elliott

    He almost certainly means to mock the right wingnuts and their artificial panic about allowing gay marriage. However, I do not think this comes across particularly well, Geoff, and I share your discomfort. Not his best work by any means.

    With love
    Amy x

  4. Geoff Marsh

    I didn’t say it was homophobia, I said it looked like homophobia. Literally, the cartoon tells of someone who wishes he had spoken out on behalf of Ms Davis when she was arrested for not fulfilling her duties to issue marriage licences for gay couples. After that, although before that in real time, bakers are prosecuted for refusing to make wedding cakes for gay couples, again because of their religious beliefs. It then proceeds to suppose that the logical outcome of legalising gay marriage is the legalisation of bestiality. The final frame illustrates the very essence of homophobia – heterosexual people should be very afraid of homosexuals because the latter’s intent is to incarcerate them in concentration camps.

    This may seem ironic and amusing to you. It is not amusing to homosexuals who suffered such a fate under the Nazis in World War Two. In any event, I am certain that gay kids will find it unhelpful in combatting the prejudices they experience every day in school, at home and in general.

    As a celibate gay men, I don’t give a toss about marriage rights, although I accept that there are many gay people who do value its legalisation. What I think is more important is that society should show gay kids that their situation is understood, that every effort is made to socialise them into the mainstream, and that this very normal sexual variation which has been part of society since before the dawn of man is not used to alienate and devalue people who have, perhaps, a different and more valuable viewpoint on the human condition to add to the sum total of our human experience. I don’t get that from this cartoon.

    What is ironic is that in Britain it is generally accepted that Americans have no sense of irony, whatsoever. It’s a given. Ironic, that, isn’t it?

  5. Geoff Marsh

    Thank you so much, Judith. “Lost in translation” is exactly what’s happened here, I think. Another part of the problem for me is that in Britain we tend to believe that whatever America does today, we will be doing in a couple of weeks’ time. This can make me very nervous about some of the moves I see emanating over the western horizon. Despite this particular confusion, I am pleased that my antennae are still active!

    I’ve felt ever since gay legalisation in Britain (1967) that it wasn’t a right that was being granted so much as a piece of political expediency. The notorious Kray Brothers, gangsters from the East End of London who happened to be gay, had infiltrated the aristocracy and were causing concern over possible blackmail and exposure at the highest levels of British society. Around the same time, Lindsay Anderson’s critically-acclaimed film “If….” openly acknowledged what was common knowledge about same-sex goings-on between pupils at one of Britain’s top fee-paying schools where future government ministers were educated. The Russian KGB were also busy hard at work turning these ex-public schoolboys, now ambassadorial staff, into spies and informants by taking compromising photographs of them in bed with handsome young soldiers. The best way to defuse these threats was to decriminalise buggery and minimise embarrassment and the risk of blackmail. It was a strange love, but there was a way to learn to stop worrying and love the come.

    At the time, much was made of the sentiment that homosexuals should not show public rejoicing at this liberalising of the sodomy laws. Needless to say, within four years Gay Liberation Front was marching hand-in-hand down Oxford Street in London once a year. In a very real sense legalisation for me was a major disappointment. Politicians hadn’t suddenly realised what a sad and bad thing it was to treat homosexuals in this way, they were essentially saving their own from public disgrace and humiliation. (Lesbianism had not been made illegal at the same time as male homosexuality because Queen Victoria simply would not accept that women would do such a thing.)

    To come back to the point – legal is still legal, and it’s better than the alternative. The BBC ran a very moving documentary recently – Louis Theroux, I believe – about transgender kids in America. Quite mind-blowing by British standards where, after almost 50 years of legalisation, the backchat concerning gay people is still primarily negative but where violence on the streets is rarely identified as homophobic in order to protect the feelings of relatives who “didn’t know” their boy was gay.

    It’s a pleasing story about your granddaughter, and an encouragingly hopeful sign, I’m sure. In the meantime, “Ever Vigilant,” just to be on the safe side.

    Much love.

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