Hoosier Daddy

Indiana state representative Phillip Hinkle is the latest anti-gay politician to be caught with his pants down. The story goes that the 64-year-old Hinkle, who has voted for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, met an 18-year-old man on craigslist and offered him $80 for a “good time.” The whole thing went to hell, apparently, at Hinkle’s hotel room when he confessed to the kid that he was a politician. (Given the crop of politicians out there today, I suppose that’s no surprise.) Instead of paying for sex that never happened, Hinkle ended up bribing the kid with a BlackBerry to keep him from talking. If you want to shut someone up, give him a telephone—that’s thinking like a Republican.

Okay, I’ll admit it: I love stories like this. There’s very little in today’s political landscape more satisfying than the exposure of hypocrites. Whether it’s Mark Foley’s attempted seduction of teenage pages or Larry Craig’s foot-tapping in a men’s room, I’m there on the front lines, cheering for more. (I should see if I can borrow some pom poms from Marcus Bachmann.)

When you sell your soul to the devil—i.e., the Religious Right—you have to pay a price. Welcome to the check-out stand, assholes.


Puppet Masters

I admit to being a little out of the loop on popular culture. I discovered Lady Gaga about three months ago, I have no idea what Justin Bieber sounds like (should I be grateful for that?), and I only just learned about the Internet campaign for Bert and Ernie to tie the knot.

The news on the Muppet front today is that, after thousands of signatures on the petition, the Sesame Street folks finally weighed in to say that the wedding was off—or, technically, had never been on. To wit: “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics … they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

So there.

If Muppets don’t have a sexual orientation, then how do you explain Miss Piggy, the horniest heterosexual female on television, with the possible exception of Samantha Jones?

And Bert and Ernie, by the way, would not be the only married Muppets on Sesame Street. Granted, I haven’t seen the show myself in 40 years, but that’s where the Internet comes in handy. A quick scan of Wikipedia reveals a married Muppet couple named Ingrid and Humphrey, who appeared on the show from 1994 to 1998. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there were others.

I hate to rag on the Muppets (pardon the pun), because I really believe that the people behind Sesame Street have their hearts in the right place and have been at the forefront for years in attempting to teach children to respect all kinds of people (even the ones who are made of felt). But this argument sounds a lot like the mumbo-jumbo we’ve been getting from the anti-marriage crowd ever since Massachusetts in 2004.

Remember the good old days, when marriage was about love and commitment? When you watch a bride walk down the aisle in a white gown to meet her tuxedo-clad groom, do you think about their love for each other, or do you automatically picture them jumping each other’s bones after the guests have left?

No, in the broader cultural imagination, when straight people are married, they’re just married. When gay people are married, however, it means they’re fucking. The problem is that the average person can’t hear the word gay without thinking about sex. And they call us the perverts.

So I guess Bert and Ernie will have to remain like the gay couples in 44 of these disunited states—and just live in sin.