Happy June, a/k/a Queer Pride Month! Which begs the question…is there a Queer Lust Month? Queer Sloth Month? I need some rest.
I have finished both seasons of the “Animaniacs” reboot on Hulu, and I am convinced that Pinky and the Brain are a T4T asexual couple.
The Tumblr site wakkoswish delves deeper into “The queercoding of Pinky and the Brain” in this 2020 post. Among the many examples:
Pinky has always been very gender nonconforming, and loves to wear dresses, do his makeup, and make himself look pretty. For the most part, this is played pretty straight, and not as a gag, like a lot of shows tend to do! It’s just a casual fact about him that he likes to present femininely sometimes.
This does play into their taking over the world plans pretty often, where Pinky wears drag, usually either to sneak into somewhere. Like in one of their earliest appearances on Animaniacs, Noah’s Lark, where they pose as a couple to board Noah’s, and I quote, “love boat.” After boarding, Noah says to himself, “Who am I to judge?
The reboot leans even harder into this setup than the original 1990s show. I mean, they’re attending a pottery class on the advice of “their therapist”! The image above comes from an episode where Pinky has to enter a beauty contest as part of Brain’s latest world-domination scheme. His notoriously sarcastic and monomaniacal partner seems genuinely proud of him for winning.
Those of you who grew up with the Internet have no idea what it was like to think you were the only pervert in the world. Born in 1972 and raised in a three-person Victorian-era reenactment cult, I didn’t know there was such a thing as fan-fiction. Being horny for imaginary people seemed proof that I’d inherited my family’s insanity. Same for the pubescent discovery of being friends-with-benefits with a conveniently shaped toy or stuffed animal. My only point of reference was that George Romero horror story where the guy kills people and makes clay sculptures incorporating their bodies, which he keeps in his apartment as his “lovers”. I read this one in the barely-lit stacks of Columbia’s Butler Library as a college student and felt stomach-churning dread that could only partly be attributed to the light timers shutting off. Was I that kind of abomination, too?
How much better I would have felt, if 12-year-old me could have read this New York Times article from April 2022: “This Man Married a Fictional Character”. Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno report on a Japanese fandom subculture where adults have emotionally significant relationships with a computer avatar:
In almost every way, Akihiko Kondo is an ordinary Japanese man. He’s pleasant and easy to talk to. He has friends and a steady job and wears a suit and tie to work.
There’s just one exception: Mr. Kondo is married to a fictional character.
His beloved, Hatsune Miku, is a turquoise-haired, computer-synthesized pop singer who has toured with Lady Gaga and starred in video games. After a decade-long relationship, one that Mr. Kondo says pulled him out of a deep depression, he held a small, unofficial wedding ceremony in Tokyo in 2018. Miku, in the form of a plush doll, wore white, and he was in a matching tuxedo.
In Miku, Mr. Kondo has found love, inspiration and solace, he says. He and his assortment of Miku dolls eat, sleep and watch movies together. Sometimes, they sneak off on romantic getaways, posting photos on Instagram.
Mr. Kondo, 38, knows that people think it’s strange, even harmful. He knows that some — possibly those reading this article — hope he’ll grow out of it. And, yes, he knows that Miku isn’t real. But his feelings for her are, he says…
…Mr. Kondo sees himself as part of a growing movement of people who identify as “fictosexuals.” That’s partly what has motivated him to publicize his wedding and to sit for awkward interviews with news media around the globe.
He wants the world to know that people like him are out there and, with advances in artificial intelligence and robotics allowing for more profound interactions with the inanimate, that their numbers are likely to increase.
Unfortunately, the host company for Miku’s hologram discontinued support for Mr. Kondo’s software during the pandemic, but he still has his doll, and his memories. Just like I do.
Make love, not war? In Texas, only up to a point. After the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Twitter was full of outrage about the Lone Star State’s lax gun control laws, and someone shared this 2021 article from Onward Texas: “Is It Illegal to Own More Than Six Dildos in Texas? Yes, It Is.”
The Lone Star State, called by Republicans one of the States where citizens have more freedoms and civil rights because people can buy unlimited guns, has a law that makes it illegal for a person to own six or more dildos…
…The Texas Penal Code understands that an “Obscene device” means a device including a dildo or artificial vagina, designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs. So, because the law considers dildos obscene devices, and a person who owns more than six obscene devices is committing a criminal offense, therefore, owning 6 dildos (or plastic vaginas) is illegal.
This regulation is a complete violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (engage in private intimate conduct in the home without government intrusion). Judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the law unconstitutional in a ruling from 2008, considering that the Texas statute cannot define sexual devices themselves as obscene and prohibit their sale. However, with a GOP majority in the House and in the Senate, the law remains in the books.
This is why we’re all having intimate relationships with our action figures. Won’t you think of the children?
At Electric Lit, novelist Elif Batuman has wise advice on “the tragedy of heterosexual dating” and forgiving your younger self. This article makes me want to read her books, The Idiot and the new sequel Either/Or, about a Harvard college student named Selin who’s trying to make sense of her love life via misogynist literary classics and philosophy.
When you get to be in your 40s, you start to think about the time in your life when you were in your teens and 20s, and you see all of these mistakes that you made. I think that’s the reason I called the first book The Idiot. The temptation is to think of yourself as having been really stupid, and yourself now as knowing a lot more. But that’s actually quite an uncharitable way of thinking about our younger selves. I’m just as stupid now, I just have better information. What I wanted to do was to go back into that state, and show why everything Selin is doing seems to her like a good idea, and seems like the only correct thing to do. But I really didn’t want to make it look like she was being stupid. I wanted to make it seem like she was drawing the correct conclusion that she had from the information that she had at the time…
…As I was writing this book I was reading about the childhood experiences of people like Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, and they were all horribly abused. A lot of Western philosophy that we’ve inherited are the coping mechanisms of abused little boys. And we’re stuck with them now.
If you want to read an extended treatment of the latter insight, I highly recommend the first half of Cognition and Eros by feminist philosopher Robin May Schott. The Marxist second half hasn’t aged as well…or maybe I’m still too much of a pervert to think of “commodity fetishism” as a bad thing. Bring on the dildos!