Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bugs Buddy

Mention to a straight person that Bugs Bunny was gay and you tend to get a blank stare:  either the person is too young to know the Warner Bros. star (why aren't those cartoons broadcast?) or s/he never considered the possibility.

Recently, I read "Tinker Belles and Evil Queens," a treatise on coded gayness in Disney cartoons and movies.  The case was made and I agree with some of it, but I think subtext of Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies is a lot less hidden and a lot more fun.

Bugs Bunny is never above giving his adversary a quick kiss to confuse Elmer or Daffy or Yosemite Sam.  And the characters are more ticked that Bugs escaped than by being kissed.  Bugs is never forced into drag.  He always looks fabulous and never has any qualms about it.  There were a couple of times he was surprised in the shower and screamed, creating a very red faced reaction by the perp.

I liked Bugs.  I admired him.  He was something of a hero.  Bullies could not get the best of him.  He always had a reaction, and sometimes that was a quick change into women's clothes.  Whether Carmen Miranda or Mae West or a bobby-soxer or a manicurist, it was always funny and appropriate.  The manicurist, for example, filing the claws of a clearly confused monster and making conversation ("I bet monsters live such in-ter-estin' lives").

The other characters were put in drag, but it felt like they were put in drag to further the plot.  With Bugs, it was in his DNA.

Other characters had traces of the gay, too.  What was Tweety Bird's story?  Daffy's s was so sibilent that spit splattered at the very use of it ("You're deth-ssss-picable.")  And dear, dear Elmer Fudd.  Sylvester?  Porky Pig?  Foghorn Leghorn?  Yosemite Sam?  Well, one should tolerate straights.  Road Runner and Wyle E. Coyote?  Auslander critters unrelated to the others.

Next to Bugs, though, I think Mac and Tosh were about as gay as anyone could wish.  Even when I was a kid I prefered them to Disney's Chip and Dale.  Mac and Tosh were developed about the same time as C&D, and not as competition.  Mac and Tosh got my kiddy gaydar going.  The way they talked, what they said, and obviously living together always perked me up.

YouTube reminded me of a wonderful scene from the TV series Soap.  Jody, Mary's gay son, is talking to his aunt Jessica.  Jessica insists there were no gay people when she was young.  Jody corrects her by naming famous gay men in history, including Plato.  "Plato?" asks a shocked Jessica.  "You mean Mickey Mouse's dog was gay?"  "Yes," replies Jody," and Goofy was his lover."

Maybe, but I never thought there was any question about my buddy Bugs.  I felt a kinship, as much as one can feel a kinship to a cartoon character.  A tome needed to be written to explore some gay underpinnings in Disney's films.  To me, just watching Warner cartoons was spending 6 minutes with friends, no questions asked.

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