Quick, Bruce, the blat!

(Not for kids or the sexually modest, unless they/you have a high tolerance for weirdness and obscene allusion. No naughty bits will be on view, no acts of penetration will be detailed in print, it will all be in your mind’s eye. But that might be quite enough.)

Today’s morning name: the verb blat, which led me through a thicket of associations (largely phonological) having to do with beer, bars, baseball bats (real ones, of ash wood, and metaphorical ones, of manmeat), the Platte River in Nebraska, and then (by thematic association) to chiropterans, Die Fledermaus, Bruce Wayne and his boy wonder, vampires, and a lot of mansex — oh, those damn superheroes and bloodsuckers, it comes with the capes, they’re always sliding into Fagotopia, the fuckin’ flits. Along the way there will be two episodes of deranged free verse, none of it in the least bit wholesome, and some disastrous spraying by the Demon Dr. of Whoville.

The two readings for today, from NOAD2:

The Old Testament, on /blit/: verb bleat (of a sheep, goat, or calf) make a characteristic wavering cry: the lamb was bleating weakly | figurative: handing the mike to some woman who starts bleating out rap rhymes | (as noun bleating): the silence was broken by the plaintive bleating of sheep.

The New Testament, on /blæt/: verb blat informal, chiefly N. Amer. make a bleating sound.

The lessons, again two:

The first parable: on the Old Goat, who

Blatted, braying for more from the
Tap at the Ash Bat Bar, another draft of
Blatz, piss-swill Pabst but cheap,
Chatted up the hard drinkers with his
Crap tales of banging his big wood,
Splat, round the bases on on a sweaty field by the
Platte – dirty, flat – sullen, muddy — with a
Satisfying snap.

The second parable: on Fruitbat Man, who

Brandished his
Batgun flamboyantly, angled to
Mount his Fledermäuschen, his
Sweet Vampboy. who just
Batted his dark eyes seductively and
Sucked his master dry.

The scroll from ancient times:


Annotations on the scroll.

1.  Quick… the Flit! From Wikipedia:

FLIT [commonly: Flit] is the brand name for an insecticide.

The original product, invented by chemist Dr. Franklin C. Nelson and launched in 1923 and mainly intended for killing flies and mosquitoes, was mineral oil based and manufactured by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey before the company, now part of ExxonMobil, renamed itself first Esso and later Exxon. The Esso formulation contained 5% DDT in the late 1940s and early 1950s, before the negative environmental impact of DDT was widely understood. [See Rachel Carson, Silent Spring.] Later marketed as “FLIT MLO,” it has since been discontinued. A hand-operated device called a Flit gun was commonly used to perform the spraying.

In 1928 Flit, then marketed by a newly formed subsidiary of Jersey Standard, Stanco Incorporated, became the subject of a very successful long running advertising campaign. Theodor Seuss Geisel created the artwork for this campaign, years before he started writing the children’s books that made him famous as Dr. Seuss. [On Dr. Seuss on this blog, see the Page on his work.] The ads typically showed people threatened by whimsical, menacing insect-like creatures that would look familiar to fans of Dr. Seuss’s later work and contained the tagline “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” This advertising campaign continued for 17 years and made “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” a popular catchphrase in the United States.

2. flit ‘faggot’. From GDoS:

noun flit 2 ([< Standard English] flit, a flutter, a light movement; the stereotypical effeminacy of male homosexuals] (US) … a male homosexual. {first cite 1934. 1941 G. Legman The Limerick: There was a young fellow from named Oakum / Whose brags about fucking were hokum. / For he really preferred / To suck cocks and stir turd– / He was Queen of the Flits in Hoboken. 1951 Salinger Catcher in the Rye: … flits and lesbians… etc.]

3. Bruce in the title of this posting. That would be Bruce Wayne, aka Batman.  There’s a Page on this blog on Batman postings. And more on Batman below.

4. Gay Bruce. There’s a 1/27/16 posting on the man’s name Bruce as an Australian signifier. But the posting goes on:

From the United States, the name Bruce gained a different stereotype, being associated with homosexuality. The reasons are unclear, but one of the most popular theories is that it’s connected to the campy Batman television shows of the 1960s, as Batman’s real name is Bruce Wayne

Superhero Batman and faggot Bruce intertwined.

Annotations on the first parable:

1. The Old Goat is the one who blats.

2. The lexical items bat. Summarized from NOAD2:

noun bat 1 an implement with a handle and a solid surface, usually of wood, used for hitting the ball in games such as baseball, cricket, and table tennis.

noun bat 2 a mainly nocturnal mammal capable of sustained flight, with membranous wings that extend between the fingers and connecting the forelimbs to the body and the hindlimbs to the tail. [order Chiroptera]

verb bat flutter one’s eyelashes, typically in a flirtatious manner

All of them figure in the parables, as does the baseball bat as phallic symbol.

3. Bars and bats. blat to tap, as in a bar. blat to bat, in particular ash bat, ash being the preferred material for wooden baseball bats (and ash evoking ass: a meatbat for banging an ass). blat to draft, as in beer on draft. Now we’re into bats and bars.

From my 12/31/12 posting “The Dingburger bar bat, or barbat”:

The cultural associations between bars as drinking places and baseball bats are considerable, thanks to the fact that so many bars are locations of primarily masculine sociability, and even if such a bar doesn’t see itself specifically as a sports bar (note further interesting N-N compound sports bar, referring to a bar that offers multiple tv screens all playing sports events) it may offer some of the trappings of sports fandom as markers of masculinity, and baseball bats are especially potent markers, because of their phallicity

4. blat to Blatz (and Pabst). From Wikipedia:

The Valentin Blatz Brewing Company was an American brewery based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It produced Blatz Beer from 1851 until 1959, when the label was sold to Pabst Brewing Company.

Blatz beer is currently produced by the Miller Brewing Company of Milwaukee, under contract for Pabst Brewing Company.


Blatz was famously cheap, and correspondingly insipid, definitely bottom-drawer stuff. Maybe still is.

A remarkable vintage ad:


(The alcohol, malt, and hops were all viewed as beneficial to mother or child or both. Those were different days.)

5. blat to chat. Plus hard drinkers, guys who drink hard and drinkers whose dicks get hard.

6. blat to crap. Plus banging with big wood.

7. blat to splat. From NOAD2:

noun splat 1 a piece of thin wood in the center of a chair back. [ORIGIN related to split]

noun splat 2 informal a sound of something soft and wet or heavy striking a surface: the goblin makes a huge splat as he hits the ground. [corresponding adverb and verb] [ORIGIN related to splatter]

A piece of thin wood and the sound of soft, wet (and sweaty) impact.

8. blat to the Platte River of Nebraska. From Wikipedia:

The Platte River /plæt/ is a major river in the state of Nebraska and is about 310 mi long. Measured to its farthest source via its tributary the North Platte River, it flows for over 1,050 miles. The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Platte over most of its length is a muddy, broad, shallow, meandering stream with a swampy bottom and many islands — a braided stream. These characteristics made it too difficult for canoe travel, and it was never used as a major navigation route by European-American trappers or explorers.

The Platte is one of the most significant tributary systems in the watershed of the Missouri, draining a large portion of the central Great Plains in Nebraska and the eastern Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming. The river valley played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California, Mormon and Bozeman trails. The first Europeans to see the Platte were French explorers and fur trappers about 1714; they first called it the Nebraskier (Nebraska), a transliteration of the name given by the Otoe people, meaning “flat water”. This expression is very close to the French words “rivière plate” (“flat river”), the suspected origin of the name Platte River.


North Fork of the South Platte

blat and Platte to flat. Also muddy.

9. blat, crap, splat to snap. The snap of bat on ball or body on body.

Annotations on the second parable:

1. fruitbat. Now we’re in chiropteran territory. The fruitbat is a real creature. As is the fruit ‘faggot’.

2. The Batgun. From Wikipedia:

Batman’s utility belt is a feature of Batman’s costume. Similar belts are used by the various Robins, Batgirl, and other members of the Bat-family.

… Batline/Batrope/Batclaw/Batgrapple: A handheld grappling hook that shoots out a claw-shaped projectile on a retractable high-tensile cord, which grabs onto a surface. Then, this cord pulls Batman to his target.

… The grapple gun, which fired the Batline/Bat-rope (it had to be thrown manually prior to that), was first introduced in Tim Burton’s live-action film, Batman.

Notice that Batman brandishes his weapon — I shouldn’t need to reming you that guns are classic phallic symbols — flamboyantly. We are moving fast into gay Batman territory. From Wikipedia:

Homosexual interpretations have been part of the academic study of the Batman franchise at least since psychiatrist Fredric Wertham asserted in his [preposterous — AMZ] 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent that “Batman stories are psychologically homosexual”. Wertham, as well as parodies, fans, and other independent parties, have described Batman and his sidekick Robin (Dick Grayson) [of course, Robin’s real name is Dick] as homosexual, possibly in a relationship with each other. DC Comics has never indicated Batman or any of his male allies to be gay, but several characters in the Modern Age Batman comic books are expressly gay, lesbian or bisexual.

The number of gay takes on Batman and Robin is staggering.

3. mounting his Fledermäuschen. The allusion is the Strauss operetta Die Fledermaus, with Fledermaus ‘bat’ (but more or less literally ‘fluttermouse’), so Robin the Fledermäuschen is the little bat, fluttering and (again) flitting about his big bat Bruce. And being mounted by him (in an image from the comics):


4. And getting the Batgun from Batman, in this repurposed image from the comics, rotated and captioned in Spanish:


Robin: I hope that what I feel is the Batgun.

Batman: The Batgun, I’m going to give it to you, honey (lit. ‘lamb’).

(batgun is short, direct, tough; batipistola has the bilabials going for it, but it’s longer, sweeter, a whole line of music.)

It’s the joke trope “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me”, now for superheroes, in Spanish. On the trope in English, see my 2/4/13 posting.

5. Vampboy. At this point, the parable veers from one melding of pop culture and bat lore (in Batman) to another (in vampires), and Robin becomes the young vampire companion of the dark master who turned him.

The amount of literature about vampirism and homosexuality (in fiction and on-screen in movies and tv) is, again, staggering. It’s been exploited for laughs and for sexual heat a number of times. For both in the Michael Lucas parody porn flick Barebackula I posted about on 10/7/16. Way over the top:


Then, mostly for laughs, in the movie Vampires Suck. From Wikipedia:

Vampires Suck is a 2010 American spoof horror film based on the Twilight film series and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. It stars Jenn Proske, Matt Lanter, Christopher N. Riggi, Ken Jeong, Anneliese van der Pol, and Arielle Kebbel. The film … received negative reviews from most film critics.


The plot is far too preposterous to try to summarize here, though the Wikipedia summary is a hoot. (As I sometimes point out, in modern movie and tv presentations of vampires and werewolves, the natural state of young men is shirtlessness — as  for the guy on the right above — and they’re gorgeous, some lean and muscular, some hunky and muscular, but all gorgeous.)

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