Tintin, gay?

Queer ‘evidence’ about Belgian cartoon figure leaves conservatives aghast

Snowy knows all: As the series turns 80 on Saturday, a British reporter says Tintin was gay — just ask his dog, Snowy.

On Thursday, The Dallas Morning News’ "crunchy conservative" Ron Dreher blogged about the newsflash: According to The Times U.K. writer Matthew Parris, the children’s cartoon character Tintin is totally gay, and Parris says the evidence is "overwhelming."

Parris, an openly gay former politician, made the claim as the Tintin series celebrates its 80th anniversary on Jan. 10.

Parris laid out his Tintin facts: "He’s a callow, androgynous blonde-coiffed youth in funny trousers and a scarf moving into the country mansion of his best friend, a middle-aged sailor? A sweet-faced lad devoted to a fluffy white toy terrier, whose other closest pals are an inseparable couple of detectives in bowler hats, and whose only serious female friend is an opera diva … ."

Something about the flair of Parris’ prose just makes you laugh.

But before you could say "Tinky Winky," the backlash had already been mounted.

Tintin was created by Belgian artist Georges Prosper Remi under his pen name Herge. Studios Herge has hit back, insisting that Tintin was "macho."

A Tintin spokesman said: "Just because there is an absence of women does not mean that Tintin was gay. When the comic strip was created, women rarely featured in any stories of that time in the 40s and 50s. Tintin is not at all gay — he was very macho in fact. He has many friends who are boys but they are not boyfriends."

And at least one of Dreher’s blog commentators has also taken the bait: "Matthew from Alaska" wrote, "Man I hate crap like this. I have no idea whether Herge was a homosexual or not, so maybe he did secretly intend his creation as a way of outing himself. But …. it seems like [Parris is] not just deriding male friendships in general but casting an air of perversion on all of them as well."

In July, Tintin faced charges of racism when Britain’s Commission for Racial Equality labeled the "Tintin in the Congo" comic racist — saying the book "contains imagery and words of hideous racial prejudice, where the ‘savage natives’ look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles."

Plenty of gays aren’t too thrilled with Parris’ analysis, since Herge was a "racist asshole," said Queerty.com blog commentator, "Julian."

And one of Dreher’s commentators corrected "Matthew from Alaska" saying, "Hergé wasn’t gay. Quite the opposite, he was a conservative Catholic, even being accused of being a Nazi sympathizer."

The Tintin tales have sold more than 200 million copies and been translated into 50 languages. And now it’s going to be a film! Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming adaptation will star Andy Serkis (the guy who played Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" series).

Ellen Page plays real-life lesbian
The who is/who isn’t rumor cloud has recently hovered over adorable, Oscar-nominated "Juno" star Ellen Page. She even added to it on a "Saturday Night Live" sketch in which she stated her desire to "hug another woman with my legs in friendship."

On the flip side of funny, Page just signed on to play Stacie Andree, the partner of lesbian police lieutenant Laurel Hester, who was involved in a years-long battle that changed the face of domestic partner rights. After being diagnosed with cancer, Hester’s attempts to will her pension benefits to Andree were denied because the women weren’t legally married. Eventually, after a lengthy court battle, Hester won, although she lost her life to cancer weeks after the decision. The film will be directed by Cynthia Wade, who won an Oscar for "Freeheld," a documentary about Hester and Andree. No word yet on when shooting will start on a film that some are already calling "the lesbian ‘Philadelphia.’"

Hailey goes behind bars for ‘L Word’ spinoff
Alice Pieszecki goes to prison!

That’s apparently the premise of "The Farm," the upcoming spinoff of "The L Word" featuring Leisha Hailey reprising her rebellious bisexual character. And Hailey won’t be the only hard-timer turning up the caged heat: Melissa Leo, who got rave reviews for the 2008 indie "Frozen River," is slated to play a "correctional officer" (i.e., butch prison guard), while Laurie Metcalf ("Roseanne") will portray the warden of California’s Humboldt State Farm and Prison for Women.

Who’ll be the first lucky lady to snag femme Alice as her prison wife? It’s anyone’s guess, but look for cool indie actress Yolonda Ross — no stranger to the crossbar hotel after her role as a lesbian inmate in Cheryl Dunye’s "Stranger Inside" — to pop up in a supporting role when "The Farm" premieres on Showtime later this year or in early 2010.

Rosie and Lindsay smile for ‘Teenage Paparazzi’
A common complaint among celebrities today is how they can’t walk down the street without being hounded by those persistent shutterbugs known as the paparazzi. What does the popularity of candid photos of the famous say about our society? That’s what Adrian Grenier hopes to explore in his upcoming documentary, "Teenage Paparazzi." He’s certainly lined up an interesting array of interviewees — the film will feature insights from many of Grenier’s fellow victims of the "paps," including his "Entourage" co-star Kevin Connolly, celebrity lesbians Rosie O’Donnell and Lindsay Lohan, and the oft-photographed Paris Hilton, Alec Baldwin, Eva Longoria Parker, Whoopi Goldberg and Mario Lopez. Also providing insight will be comedian Lewis Black and intellectual semiotician Noam Chomsky. Hopefully, this will be more entertaining to watch than a million flashbulbs.

This article appeard in the Dallas Voice print edition January 9, 2009.
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