Thursday, February 10, 2005

“Holy hotpants, Batman!”

The world of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered muppets, cartoon characters and animated superheroes was rocked recently by charges, leveled by real-life cartoon-character-outer James Dobson of Focus on the Family, that one of its own, Sponge Bob SquarePants, is gay.

“I’m just stunned. This was totally out of the blue,” Batman, who was contacted by bat-phone last weekend, said. “Robin and I were out clubbing with Superman and the Hulk when we heard, and we were absolutely gobsmacked.”

At the Halls of Justice reaction among Superfriends was mixed.“I know every gay dive from here to Atlantis,” Aquaman said. “And I’ve never seen Sponge Bob in any of them.”

Green Lantern was indignant. “I don’t know how he’ll ever get a date. You have to have killer abs, and sponges don’t even have abs to begin with.”

Tinky-Winky issued a statement from Teletubbyland, which read in part: “I only hope that Mr. Squarepants is not subjected to the same personal hell I had to endure due to careless whispers by the Rev. Jerry Falwell back in 1999.”

At a press-conference on the matter Bi-Curious George voiced support for his fellow fictional friend but questioned the veracity of Dr. Dobson’s claims, which have been neither confirmed nor denied by Mr. SquarePants, whose spokespeople insist is asexual.

Others have refuted the assertion outright, pointing out not only Mr. Squarepants’ lack of genitalia, usually a prerequisite for sex and sexuality, but his utter lack of queer cred.

“Take it from a trained queer eye: Squarepants are so, like, 2004,” scoffed Fred, reached on the road in The Mystery Machine. Velma and Daphne, who recently took their vows in a low-key ceremony and are apparently honeymooning, could not be reached for comment.

Elmo had his doubts, too. “Elmo’s gaydar never go off with Sponge Bob,” he said from the set of Sesame Street last week. While Big Bird agreed, some of their costars seemed to shrug off the revelation.

“Doesn’t surprise me a bit,” Bert said with his trademark scowl. “Ernie and I were at that cruisy bathhouse at the other end of Sesame Street the other day, and saw Shrek in the shower sponging himself down with Bob, and Bob was laughing like crazy.”

“But Shrek is married,” Big Bird protested.

“And?” Bert sneered. “So were Fred and Barney.”

He-Man and She-Ra welcomed the news. In a joint statement they said, “It’s time the cartoon GLBT community brought asexual critters into the club, too The more the merrier.”

Bullwinkle and Rocky, ex-co-chairs of the Cartoon GLBT Alliance, the oldest such organization with an illustrious membership including the likes of Popeye and Brutus, Bugs Bunny and Snagglepuss, were vexed by the controversy. “Gee whiz, we bust our butts to make people laugh. All we do is give. If there are some people who can see only sex when two genderless cartoon friends are holding hands and having fun it’s really their own prurient imaginations at work. It’s their problem, not ours.”

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