Conservatives have their neatly pressed panties in a twist over this Opus The Penguin cartoon. The Berkeley Breathed-penned comic appeared Sunday (aka God’s Day) and provides more fuel to the ever-raging debate over gay parenting. Rather than focusing on the alleged pros and cons of queer parents, the Right’s taking a different angle – they’re accusing Breathed of denigrating daddies.
American Chronicle‘s Glenn Sacks squeals, “Breathed’s message is clear–dads are useless as role models (when they’re not outright destructive), and kids have little need or use for them.” Certainly the animated father isn’t the best role model, but it hardly seems as if Breathed’s taking on paternal prowess. Not according to Townhall‘s fire breathing beast, Jennifer Roback Morse, who takes Sacks argument and runs back to familiar territory:
Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed composed a truly revolting edition of Opus,
just one week before Fathers Day
[!!!]. [It] was appalling not only for its unadulterated, unapologetic male-bashing. The cartoon is also a sickening foretaste of what awaits us as same sex parenting becomes normalized.
This is a direct fall-out from the drive to normalize same sex parenting. Making same sex parenting equally acceptable as opposite sex parenting requires that the public believe that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. A child will do equally well with two mommies, two daddies or one of each. This is the official position of the entire coalition that supports same sex parenting.
Yet the more successful they are at convincing people that mothers and fathers are indistinguishable, the more people will conclude that fathers are disposable.
Morse, a woman who’s seemingly incapable of existing without a man, goes on to say that American men are already a vulnerable species. First and foremost, she says, men don’t have the same bond with their children as women. This, of course, isn’t universally true – we know plenty of people who loathe their mothers and adore their fathers. Such “untraditional” realities don’t exist in Morse’s world, however, so she conveniently pushes them aside.
American men are also, apparently, marginalized by post-feminist social structures:
…Our social universe has already marginalized fathers from the family. The feminist movement teaches that men are unnecessary. Inculcating the belief that mothers and fathers are perfect substitutes can only accelerate that trend. The microscopic number of gay male couples who adopt are not going to interrupt that. No one will look at a pair of men parenting a child and say to themselves, “You see, it is just as I have always suspected. Children don’t need mothers.” Yet that is exactly the conclusion people draw from a pair of lesbians raising children together.
Again, Morse makes an ass out of me, you and, most importantly, herself. There are thousands, if not millions, of people who would approve of gay men raising a child – and, no, they wouldn’t say, “Children don’t need mothers,” only conservative windbags think in such black, white and grossly gendered terms. Gays and their allies understand that parenting isn’t about gender – or even numbers. As long as a child has some loving stability, none of that matters. One father, three mothers, two daddies, one mama, a daddy and a tranny – it’s all the same. Of course, that’s another inconvenient truth for Morse, as is the reality of the comic strip.
As Good As You points out, this particular father’s got a reputation for being a dick:
This is the character of Steve Dallas, who has appeared in various incarnations in all of Berke Breathed’s comics (even written as a gay man at one point, until he was “cured” of his homosexuality by shock therapy). In Opus, he is written as a middle-aged reluctant father. And while his jerky ways have shifted and changed over the years, he is still meant to be a less-than-charming, shallow character who sometimes resorts to slapstick violence. IT’S HIS CHARACTER.
Only 23% of families in this country are married mom-dad couples with children, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. While there are families among that 77% who are not doing well, it is nowhere near all of them, or our society would be in a lot worse shape than it is. The lack of non-traditional families isn’t a crisis; it is a reality. Families with just moms, just dads, or just one parent, are on the whole doing just fine.
Our country has larger problems than the so-called disintegration of American families – you know, like war, AIDS, rape, murder, starving children who don’t have homes.