It’s unclear whether Mike and Ike are a married gay couple or merely business partners, but for now, they have split up, opting to pursue competing interests. The candy bearing their names has launched an ad campaign about the fictional invisible characters’ breakup, with Mike pursuing a career in music and Ike pursuing one in art. The Huffington Post chimed in that the two are heading for a “gay divorce” (language so far not found anywhere in the ad campaign), and now the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is very concerned about the “fruity pair” and their “sexualizing candy”:
PERKINS: These days, you can’t get a sugar high without experiencing a cultural low. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. There’s trouble in candy land. After more than 70 years together, Mike & Ike are calling it quits. The duo is staging a gay divorce as part of a new ad campaign to draw in younger customers. In this society, even candy has an agenda! From Facebook to Tumblr, the fruity pair says, “The rumors are true. We just couldn’t agree on stuff anymore.” Starting this summer, the company will spend $15 million on billboards and TV commercials that poke fun at the breakup. It’s just another subtle example of society chipping away at the value of marriage. And I don’t know what’s more disturbing–that advertisers think divorce appeals to kids or that sexualizing candy will make people buy more. After a year-long build-up, the company will reveal if the couple reconciles. Until then, look for Mike & Ike to have a distinctly liberal flavor.
Listen to it (via Right Wing Watch):
Perkins’ overreaction is humorous, but also telling. This silly anecdote speaks to two important tactics that conservatives employ. First, they promote the idea that any portrayal of characters that are gay is negative and “sexual.” Plenty of fictional opposite-sex couples have clearly been in romantic relationships for decades (Mickey and Minnie, Kermit and Miss Piggy, etc.), but no one is concerned that they are somehow “sexualizing” children. Secondly, Perkins insinuates that anything gay is “liberal,” which is far from the truth. Sexual diversity cuts across all races, religions, and political ideologies, regardless of how hate group leaders like Perkins try to relegate the LGBT community into some uniform “cultural low” category.