Thursday, July 18, 2019

Q Toon: Pecking Ordure

Last weekend, The New Republic posted a supposedly satirical op-ed about Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg by gay author and literary critic Dale Peck. The essay was so outrageous and the howls of protest against it so overwhelming that TNR took it down within hours. Editor Chris Lehman explained, “The New Republic recognizes that this post crossed a line, and while it was largely intended as satire, it was inappropriate and invasive.”

I didn't read the column while it was on line, but enough sites have posted excerpts that I can offer this synopsis: based upon Peck's memories of an irrelevant and utterly forgettable night at gay bars in 1992, Peck offers a psychosexual analysis of the man he calls "Mary Pete" and concludes that he doesn't want Buttigieg as president because Buttigieg didn't realize he was gay until he was in his thirties, he married his first date soon afterward, and he will therefore experience adolescent wanderlust in the Oval Office.

Well, bully for Mr. Peck for achieving his sexual epiphany at a more tender age than the Mayor of South Bend. Some people realize they are LGBT or Q at the age of five; others don't get it until they're 50. There are even people who feel they don't fit anywhere on the Kinsey scale, and we'd add another letter to our LGBTQIAAcronym except that some of them probably still wouldn't feel it fit them. Maybe they'll fall into one or another category someday, and maybe they won't.

We're not all cut from the same cloth any more than heterosexuals are. Teenagers often have different priorities in their relationships than 30-somethings do. Some people grow up young; others push the Peter Pan thing well into their dotage. Some people experience love at first sight; others spend a lot more time comparison shopping.

It would be nice if all First Families had marriages like the Obamas, but the nation has survived the Hardings, Roosevelts, Clintons and, with any luck, the Trumps. Pete and Chasten seem like a charming couple, and it hardly seems fair to wish their marriage ill when we already have the Religious Right to do that for us.

Usually, drawing an editorial cartoon requires a fair amount of research, but today's cartoon is an exception.

I didn't look up what Dale Peck looks like, or how old he is, or what books, articles, or letters to First Hand he wrote. I just drew my first impression of him from what I've read. Any resemblance between Mr. Peck in this cartoon and Mr. Peck in the flesh is purely coincidental.

And that's pretty much the point of the cartoon.

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