This is my last column. It’s true: you won’t be seeing my shining face on this page anymore.
The left has already started celebrating. Warren Kinsella and his band are releasing a new single, Taube the Fascist is Gone! (It’s a love ballad, from what I gather). The Toronto Star is introducing a “Taube-free” zone on its website. (Subscribers will get either a free cookie with nuts, or a nut-free cookie. Same difference.) Bernie Farber inked a deal to take over the upper column. (He couldn’t even wait until they dragged away my cold, dead carcass. Heathen!)
My right-leaning friends were also in a festive mood. They drew straws to figure out who would replace “the old, tired, hackneyed, Harper-breathing dragon.”
Love is in the air, I’m telling ya!
Nevertheless, I still have a job to do, so let’s get to it.
I recently bought my son, Andrew, a collection of Arnold Lobel’s classic Frog and Toad stories. I loved these books as a child and wanted to introduce him to the wonderful adventures of these two friends.
We read them together. It’s been years since I delved into these three books: Frog and Toad Are Friends (1970), Frog and Toad Together (1972) and Frog and Toad All Year (1976). The stories are heartwarming, and include tales, such as: the letter that took days to arrive in Toad’s mailbox (Frog gave it to a snail), eating cookies and unsuccessfully hiding the rest, Toad’s dream of acting on stage, the chocolate ice cream cone monster and Frog’s late arrival for Christmas Eve.
It brought back many memories and I hope it created some new ones for Andrew.
After we finished, I decided to look up the remaining Frog and Toad titles. Much to my chagrin, I also found several articles suggesting this platonic amphibious friendship was actually… a gay relationship.
It’s no secret that Lobel was gay. The Jewish-American writer came out to his family in 1974 and died of AIDS in 1987.
Yet his daughter, Adrianne, made a bizarre insinuation in an interview with The New Yorker in 2016.
“I think Frog and Toad really was the beginning of him coming out,” she said. They were “of the same sex and they love each other. It was quite ahead of its time in that respect.”
What’s her proof? She has none.
‘this theory doesn’t hold a single drop of water’
Yet she points to certain personal things Lobel said about his writing. This includes an obscure passage from a 1977 interview, in which he said, “You know, if an adult has an unhappy love affair, he writes about it. He exorcises it out of himself, perhaps, by writing a novel about it. Well, if I have an unhappy love affair, I have to somehow use all that pain and suffering, but turn it into a work for children.”
Let me get this straight: Frog and Toad, two fictional children’s book characters who never express any sexual feelings toward one another, could be the byproduct of an “unhappy love affair.” No matter how many hidden meanings they attempt to concoct in Lobel’s stories, this theory doesn’t hold a single drop of water.
People enjoy creating narratives to make themselves feel good. They should stick to the facts and stop attempting to rewrite history when it doesn’t need to be adjusted.
Well, I’m done. All that’s left is to say goodbye …
Hmm, that’s strange. This column has an unlisted number. Hold on, I should take this.
“Hello? Oh, it’s you. I’m fine, thanks. What’s that? I took this column a bit too far? Who, me? Never! Well … sometimes, I guess. OK, I’ll come clean with the readers. Bye.”
That was the killjoy… er, editor. He wanted me to let you know I’m not leaving The CJN. This was my last monthly print column, but I’m shifting to a monthly online column in October.
I ain’t done yet, folks! See you soon – virtually.
Michael Taube, a Troy Media syndicated columnist, Washington Times contributor and TV/radio pundit, was a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper.