Gay Propaganda?

‘Mom, is this my brain?’ asks a sweet li’l boy, pointing at his willie.
‘No… Not yet‘.

A recent study correlated IQ with religious attitudes and found the two were negatively related. The higher is the intellect, the less religious its owner is likely to be. Well, of course there are exceptions. Examples of quantum physics geniuses being religious, and atheists with their IQ at room temperature are well-known.

What I find most interesting about this study is not directly related to its rather obvious conclusions. I am fascinated by exceptions, and their polar attitudes to each other. Religious intellectuals tend to respect atheists while atheists who could offer their brain space for rent are likely to be very aggressive towards believers in anything classified as a higher being.

This mostly happens because a dumb atheist is likely to be very afraid to be proven wrong at the point of no return.

When Russia decided religion was the right road to national unity, and its KGB colonel for president got himself a personal spiritual father, the issue of homosexuality stood up and refused to sit down.

The Russian Orthodox Church believes homosexuality is a disease or a deviation that can be passed on to normal people by TALKING TO THEM. The inevitable conclusions is that it is also possible to talk people out of being homosexuals, sort of convince them they are not.


I know very religious and smart people who don’t hate gay men because they know more about human biology than the Church they’ve signed up to.

Yet, major TV channels in Russia are happy to give you a daily dose of oyster-minded Christians who believe the hearts of gay people should be burned.

Those anti-gay people often sport Dolce/Gabbana suits and t-shirts, and D-Squared jeans and belts. Guys, it is like wearing a pentagram pendant next to the cross on your neck.

This simple drawing pops up in my mind each time I read news on the LGBT debate:

When the chemical reaction of fear melting ignorance into hate filled the test tube to the brim, the Russian parliament had it crystallised into a law against the propaganda of homosexuality. Now, you can’t say (publicly) that being gay is not an illness, or that gay people are equal to heterosexual god’s creations. You can say though that homosexuals are inferior, should be burned, are responsible for spreading AIDS, which was no doubt God’s punishment for the increasing number of openly gay people.

It took a week for Russia to negotiate the Olympic Truce, because Russia didn’t want the line about the equality of LGBT people to stay in the document.

It took a minute for the Russian Embassy in Italy to refuse support to an exhibition of a Russian artist who painted this picture, seen today as “gay propaganda” by Russian officials:

Seeing this as gay propaganda is twisted logic at its best. If God created Man and Woman naked and heterosexual, then how looking at them naked can make one homosexual? I mean, if looking at nude men is not OK, then creating Man in the Nude was an evil design.

Blasphemous, innit?

Never underestimate the stupidity of ignorance. Or the quantity of hate that can be distilled from it. 

The painter is, actually, a woman of heterosexual persuasion. Olga Tobreluts. She defines herself as a neo-classical painter focusing on the issue of people idolising celebrities.

People idolise celebrities because mass media brainwashes the masses into it, because mass media earns money through it, for becoming a celebrity is the new testament of our age. It is a new religion, which beliefs are fuelled by the miracles of Susan Boyle and the like. It gives people the sense of a theoretically achievable objective, like having your soul accepted to Paradise, and in doing so drives people to work and buy Prada shoes with the money they earn. And, of course, this is an utterly false promise based on a bullshit premise. Period. What can be artistically studied there?

I would sponsor an artist who can be strikingly convincing in saying, ‘Guys, the life of Katy Perry is much less interesting than the life of your husband, wife, children, even distant relatives. Throw out the Daily Mail, the gossip pages of your local newspaper, unsubscribe from celebs on twitter and ask your “significant others” about their day!”.

There’s nothing to be “studied” there, but there’s a lot to be exploited. Collage celeb faces with old masters’ paintings and, bang, you’ve got a sellable artwork.

This makes Olga Tobreluts quite commercially successful, at least among those audiences that can be easily impressed by the juxtaposition of Brad Pitt vs. the attire of a Roman legionary. Gallery curators fall in love with this type of art, just as stock brokers worship junk bonds. It might be garbage, but it is not unprofitable refuse.

I know this is Elvis in Gothic armour.

When I saw Tobreluts painting, I thought of a masterpiece by Antonio Del Pollaiolo, who, actually, was gay.

His “Battle of the Nudes” featuring ten naked men fighting each other was an artistic study of movement and a philosophical treatise on the state of Man. It was engraved in 1470, in the age when men from neighbouring town states were fighting each other with the persistency of an angry hotel guest at the reception desk with a bell-button but without a receptionist. Pollaiolo didn’t believe men could co-exist peacefully, but he tried to promote harmony among his friends and pupils (Sandro Botticelli was one of them) with his art and love for all things fashionable and beautiful.

The Battle of the Nudes by Pollaiolo

Pollaiolo was not doodling out an erotic picture of ten naked men for other gay men to look at. Some of the fighters were shown with their genitals exposed simply because they were not angels and naturally had them, but it was not the penis symbolism that occupied the artist’s mind. All the penises are the same, not individualised, unlike everything else about these men. It was the extreme tension that human desire to kill (and to live) produced in the body that interested Pollaiolo.

Olga Tobreluts sent those men on a fight against dogs. Male dogs. She also made the penises somewhat bigger. Well, if you paint a man with a small willie nowadays, there’ll be questions. Are you trying to belittle men? Why are you trying to belittle men? Why are you so hateful of men that you try to belittle men? It is safer to paint big penises.

I don’t want to even approach the question of why the artist put men against dogs. I am afraid if I think too hard about it, I would learn something I’d like to remain safely unknown.

I’d just say that branding Tobreluts work as gay propaganda highlights one simple truth about the Russian Cultural Attaché in Italy. She is ignorant of art history. Like, totally. And the fear of her superiors earmarking her as a gay-rights supporter distilled a drop of hate in her that made her reject the exhibition. The Attaché is a woman, but I feel the joke that opened this post can be applied to her flat out.

If you haven’t been to one of my early posts about Pollaiolo and Matisse who borrowed some images from the Italian artist to make a totally different point, go ahead.


  1. There’s an erotic undertone and something beastly unsettling in the painting of discussion but to equate that with ‘gay propoganda’ is like identifying any unknown marine creatures with sharp teeth drifting to shore as sharks. Art provokes all kinds of reflection… it’s a shame for the attache diplomat to depreive people of the fun.

  2. It is so easy for people to twist “anything” to fulfill their own hate-filled agendas. I loved reading about the actual rationale behind the art. That’s always fascinating. “Never underestimate the stupidity of ignorance.” Exactly, sir.

  3. The thing that strikes me most about the bill is the simple fact that ANYTHING could be considered propaganda. As for items that are actually meant to be “gay propaganda”, I would be hard pressed to find; largely because I have better things to do. However there is an overabundance of heterosexual propaganda, much of which is probably produced by people who haven’t yet come to terms with their own orientation.

    1. The idea that such a thing as ‘gay propaganda’ could exist implies being gay is a mental state, like believing in God, or the choice of a political party. This leads to the conclusion that seeing ten penises sways the viewer towards wanting ‘some of it’ for himself. If ignorace can be hilarious, this is it.

      1. That’s exactly the case. Anyone who thinks being gay is a choice is living proof NO ONE in would choose to be gay. It certainly provides and interesting context for discussing “The Battle of the Nudes” theme, an opportunity you took full advantage of.

It would be grand to hear from you now!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: