Dreams of a flitter mouse

(The posting veers almost immediately into the world of sex between men, sometimes in very plain terms, so it’s not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro finds Batman on his therapist’s couch, reporting bat dreams — but who knows what flying and insect-eating really stand for in the dreams of a flitter mouse?

(#1) Gm. Fledermaus (literally ‘flitter mouse’) and similarly in other Germanic languages, including, according to OED2, in English cites of flittermouse, flitter-mouse, flutter-mouse, and flitter mouse from 1547 through 1872 (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in this strip — see this Page.)

Clearly, we have to understand both flying and eating insects as dream substitutes, screening Batman’s true anxieties: his shame about being gay (concealed by a veneer of macho posturing); his constant fear that his secret life as a famously effeminate enthusiast of fellating other men in the sexual underworld of Gotham City will be exposed; and his deep regret for years of being in sexual thrall to his younger, dominant, and more masculine lover, Robin the Boy Wonder (“I wish I knew how to quit you”, he sobs in dismay).

Flying. The therapist will surely fix right away on the obvious significance of flying for Batman: he can’t fly on his own, unaided, the way the other superheroes can, so he suffers terribly from feelings of inferiority. But in dream fantasies, he can literally rise to the occasion.

In fact, unlike the other guys in his world, he has no special powers at all, just his ingenuity, drive to succeed, and a warehouse full of extraordinary devices, vehicles, and weaponry, with which he surmounts his superpower deficits.

But at a deeper level, flying in his dreams is a way of transforming the (subterranean) reality of his being a big old flit — a limp-wristed faggy cocksucker, not that there’s anything actually wrong with that, but it would wreck his image as a superhero — into something soaring and glorious. Turning flitting and fluttering into flying like a great dark bird filling the sky at dusk.

Will the therapist be able to pull the secrets of his other life, and the shame and anxiety that surrounds these secrets for him, out of Batman, and bring him some peace? We do not know.

Eating insects. Again, at the surface level, Batman’s dreams of eating insects are a simple attempt to get past his denial of his animal nature, to use his nocturnal fantasies to free up his inner chiropteral identity.

But instead of frank enjoyment of his natural insectivorous tendencies — surely Alfred could at least arrange for the occasional private hexapodal feast — Batman’s oral drives have been channeled into his sex life, where they manifest themselves in his immersion in (as some critics have called it) “a perverted fellatial lifestyle”. It’s the tangled logic of

Don’t eat bugs! Eat dicks!

And so he does, sweeping, with relentless enthusiasm but racked with guilt, through the glory holes of Gotham City in his BatBlowMobile; and, on his knees, gracing every Gothamite t-room, cruising strip, and sex club with his dramatically flowing black cape. Truly a legend in this world.

Will the therapist even uncover this hidden world, and if she does, will she be able to help Batman reconcile his conflicting emotions? Again, we do not know.

Lexical notes. On the sexual nouns flit and mouse, from GDoS:

noun-2 flit ([Standard English] flit, a flutter, a light movement; the stereotyical effeminacy of male homosexuals) (US)  1 … a male homosexual [first three cites:]

1934 G[raeme] & S[arah] Lorimer Stag Line [one of a series of books about an upper-middle-class Philadelphia teenage girl]…: I’d feel like a flit […] browsing around the Kiddies’ Korner.

1941 in G. Legman Limerick…: There was a young fellow 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 J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye…: Sometimes it was hard to believe, the people he said were flits and lesbians.

noun mouse 1 as a female, or representative of female characteristics … (b) a timid or effeminate man [1693 Dryden cite] … (g) (US Und.) an effeminate male homosexual; thus a fellator. [cites from 1937 on, mostly from collections of underground slang from earlier times; 1990 cite from Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential, set in the 1950s] … 2 the penis ([from] its penetration of narrow spaces..) [1st cite 1834]

So: flitter mouse ‘effeminate male homosexual fellator, faggy queer cocksucker’.

Submission. Batman’s dreams of flying might well also serve as a fantasy of power and dominance, in an attempt to rise above his slave / master relationship to Robin the Boy Wonder, whose desirable youthfulness has held Batman in thrall for many decades — providing Batman with intense sexual satisfaction, while Robin maintains a whip hand over the Dark Knight and humiliates him relentlessly.

The homoerotic nature of Batman and Robin’s close partnership has, of course, been whispered about from their very first days together — even by people who had no inkling of Batman’s secret gay life. It’s been a constant through the endless twists and turns in the way the characters are manifested in print, in live-action movies and tv, and in animated features.

(I note in passing that any cartoon character with any longevity to speak of probably needs to see a psychiatrist; the stress of being manifested in multiple personas at the same time, and to have these constantly altering over the years, must be extraordinarily hard to manage. That alone should bring Batman to the therapist’s couch.)

But in Joel Schumacher’s B&R movies, the pair’s sexual attachment has been more openly displayed (and, in a separate development elsewhere, Robin has gingerly come out as bisexual). Gradually, the secrets behind B&R’s bedroom door are coming to be revealed.

Consider Schumacher’s Chris O’Donnell Robin and his George Clooney Batman in Batman & Robin (1997), in this photo:

(#2) Robin has visibly erect nipples and, in his serious codpiece, a visibly erect cock (we can see that he dresses on the right), so he’s broadcasting his flagrant sexuality as Batman’s partner, plus he’s got that buzzcut — while Batman is merely bulky all over, with a cute winged helmet (all that he has in the place of actual abilities in aviation) and a mask that makes it look like he’s laid the eye shadow on too thickly

Meanwhile, the black and silver armor-like costumes are high camp. Enormously entertaining, but, honey, that’s just no way to butch it up.

Two queerboys out on the town in their macho drag, and the young lean one’s got the big guy under his thumb.

[Envoi, added 12/31/21: a seasonal carol:

O Flitter Mouse, O Flitter Mouse,
How lovely is your codpiece.

Each year you bring to us delight,
Climactic cries throughout the night.

(continue ad libitum)]

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