The Advocate reports on a recent "Opus" cartoon that has some people up-in-arms regarding "male-bashing" and "father-bashing."
In the cartoon, two boys are discussing a classmate that has "two mommies." One boy questions whether the child will be okay without a male role-model in the house. Enter Steve Dallas, resident "Opus"/"Bloom County" uber-male idiot, who throws a TV out the window to protest a sports play.
Is the message of the cartoon that children would be better off without male role-models, that men are beer-guzzling football-fanatical troglodytes?
Some conservatives have seized on this issue to condemn perceived "male-bashing."
My thoughts? It is just a cartoon, but I do see how some men/fathers might take offense. I think that sometimes we take it for granted that men don't get offended by things like this, that it is all in "good fun" to "balance" the injustices men have visited upon women over the years.
That said, I also see this issue as a way that ultra-conservatives can cast their sly digs at same-sex parenting -- creating an exaggerated "conspiracy" in their minds of gays/feminists targeting heterosexuals, fathers, apple pie, Wonder Bread, etc.
There is no "gay/feminist" conspiracy to "do away with" fathers or heterosexual marriages/parenting. And a cartoon about a neurotic penguin and his neurotic pals is not part of that imaginary conspiracy. That said, I do think the cartoon in question just isn't that funny because it lacks subtlety. "Opus" cartoonist Berke Breathed could have found a better representative of the male gender than womanizing troll Steve Dallas. Straw man, anyone?
As an aside, I used to be a huge fan of Breathed's first comic strip, "Bloom Country," in the 1980s. But looking back at my collected editions, it just hasn't aged well.