Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Marriage Made in Heaven

Media Moment: clowncrack.com
Queen-related: Freddie and Jesus illustration

Once again, post-mortem Freddie is getting pulled into the mosh pit of American politics. 

Dwayne Booth (aka Mr. Fish) is an American political cartoonist whose work has appeared in many of that country’s most established publications. His editorial work is so influential, as a matter of fact, that Best Life magazine stated back in 2008 that he was one of “the 10 most important voices to listen to this election cycle.” 

Fast forward four years and Mr. Fish is poignantly underscoring the moral and political battle that’s been brewing in the United States over same-sex marriage by combining the most potent symbols of, presumably, homosexuality and Christianity. Did Obama’s recent outing of support for gay marriage — and the conservative right’s backlash to it — inspire Booth to lay out the issue in a simple illustration and four-line statement? (If it wasn’t, serendipity is once again showing itself wherever Freddie makes an appearance these days.)

Sure it’s a political cartoon meant to connote an idea larger than the subject matter itself but Freddie’s being catapulted to a level never seen before, in my opinion. To go from a comic book character to the husband of Jesus in a few short years is nothing short of miraculous. The title, “Marriage Made in Heaven,” is also a clever double entendre, assuming, of course, that Booth is familiar with Queen’s song catalogue.

There is a lot semiotically going in this image. One could analyze it any number of ways:

• Freddie’s status in the gay community
• Freddie’s real-life achievements compared to Jesus’
• Freddie’s views of Christianity and religion in general
• Jesus’ sexuality
• All of the above through the lens of Democrats and Republicans
• All of the above through the lens of British citizens
• What is Freddie looking at in this shot?
• What the hell is Jesus gawking at?
• Why does Jesus have the pecs of a young Jack LaLanne?
• Wouldn’t Freddie have the typical features of a middle eastern messiah rather than the caucasian-looking son of God?
• Is Freddie really in heaven or down in hell where he said the really interesting people were?
• What would Mary Austin or Jim Hutton think of the portrayal of Freddie being married (As an aside, I guess if you had to lose your partner to someone else, Jesus would be high praise.)
• What about Freddie’s mom and sister?

What would really be a bold move is if Mr. Fish depicted Freddie and Muhammed in a similar embrace. That would not only raise eyebrows but probably a few arms. 

This illustration was also reposted on Pharyngula, the science blog I subscribe to. Some of the comments to this image have been encouraging to say the least about Freddie, Queen, and same-sex marriage. Here’s a sampling of what’s being said over there:

“I miss Freddie Mercury a heck of a lot more than I do Jesus, too.” (PZ Myers) 
“QFFT, and I’ll keep missing Freddie until the Universe finally goes out… <3” 
“I was never really into Queen music growing up, and when Freddie died it had little effect on me. But I was tuning around on cable a few weeks ago and came across a Queen concert on Palladium, and watched. I was mesmerized. Not only was it all the old Queen songs, but I saw this guy working the stage like a virtuoso. Voice and keyboard. Mindblowing stage presence. Absolutely mind blowing. I wish I had gone to at least one of the several Queen concerts I had the chance to go to in my formative years. The world definitely lost something big when he died.” 
“I’d like to think that Freddie had better taste than that. Also, if anyone is getting a second coming, my vote’s for Freddie.” 
“Shit, I don’t think I have listened to Keep Yourself Alive in over two decades.” 
“I like Queen more now then [sic] back in the seventies, when you could not escape Killer Queen. Or their music was lumped in the classic rock ghetto in the eighties.” 
“Freddie may have been a Zoroastrianism by birth but judging from the lyrics of Innuendo at least he was not exactly a fan of religion. I’ve often thought Innuendo would be a good anthem for the secular movement except its too hard to sing.” 
“PS : Loved Queen back in the day. Freddie Mercury was better than Jesus.” 

The last time I recall Freddie and Queen being roped into American politics was when We Are the Champions was sung by a cheering crowd after they had learned of Bin Laden’s death. Before that, though, Queen had been referenced in a pseudo-documentary on the death of George W. Bush. I prefer Booth’s inclusive message, though. It has less to do with violence and competition and more to do with compassion and tolerance . . . things all members of Queen were about.


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