I assume I'm late to this party (I'd never heard of this show until a few days ago). Innuendo Bingo is a BBC Radio 1 show where celebrities listen to radio and TV clips that contain lines that can be misconstrued as sexual. They have glassfuls of water in their mouths that get spewed onto each other as they bust out laughing at the innuendo.
I've had some real bust-out moments of my own (sans water or someone to gob on) watching these. I especially love it when they get so overly giddy that they spray their "opponent" even before they arrive at the innuendo.
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Slate's history of the gay subtext between Batman and Robin collects the best panels and earliest insinuations from critics and commentators. It also looks at how the goofy 1960s TV show made Batman camp yet sexless, leading to D.C. comics nervously heteronormalizing the characters, which only solidified their earlier gayness in the public imagination.
What's interesting about it from a queer subtext standpoint is that the people involved in creating the art and stories universally insist that there was never any nudge-nudge-wink-winkery going on in their work. Batman and Robin are not lovers; the relationship is traditionally paternal. In other words, the queer subtext is either unintentional or imposed by the audience. Is this really subtext, then? Or is it just derpy inadvertent homoeroticism? Weldon's argument:
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Intention doesn’t matter when it comes to gay subtext. Imagery does. Remember: Queer readers didn’t see any vestige of themselves represented in the mass media of this era, let alone its comic books. And when queer audiences don’t see ourselves in a given work, we look deeper, parsing every exchange for the faintest hint of something we recognize. This is why, as a visual medium filled with silent cues like body language and background detail, superhero comics have proven a particularly fertile vector for gay readings over the years. Images can assert layers of unspoken meanings that mere words can never conjure. That panel of a be-toweled Bruce and Dick lounging together in their solarium, for example, would not carry the potent homoerotic charge it does, were the same scene simply described in boring ol’ prose.
This old Ben-Gay ad, featuring a now-lost character called "Peter Pain" (a kind of thuggish, pox-speckled leprechaun) is one of those artifacts that suggests we've gone through an aesthetic singularity, a unidirectional membrane. Can you imagine a future in which this artwork is once again used to sell product? Also: I've always thought of Ben-Gay as a muscle rub, but this ad seems to imply that you can use it like Vicks -- rubbing it on your chest, I suppose?
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