Levi, Track, and What Makes an Icon

B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriot) ponders Joy Behar’s assertion that Levi Johnston has become a gay icon, writing:

If he were such an icon, it would provide additional evidence of the politicization of gay culture, where a man is celebrated merely because he has spoken out against an approved villain of the gay establishment. And the primary qualification for being such a villain is being a conservative politician with a popular following.

I’m sure that’s part of it, but I don’t think that’s the whole deal. I think there are at least two other reasons why Johnston has become a “gay icon” (if in fact he can be elevated to such a status, personally I think he’s a flash in the pan).

1) Johnston has become associated with a more celebrated gay icon, Kathy Griffin. Griffin has made Johnston sort of a pet project, no doubt because of her own hatred for Sarah Palin. Johnston is icon by association, celebrated by gay culture because another icon of gay culture has deemed it so.

2) Johnston is somewhat physically attractive and was willing to take his clothes off in Playgirl. This is probably the biggest reason he’s become a “gay icon” — he’s a piece of meat. He is popular with gay men for the same reason Pamela Anderson and Jenna Jameson are popular with straight men.

On this latter note, I’m just not sure I see it. Sure, I guess Johnston is physically attractive enough. But when you stop to realize that his claim to fame is abandoning his son and his son’s mother, while defaming his son’s grandmother (who, by the way, is taking care of his son) — well, that just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve always found Track Palin, the oldest of the Palin children, to be more attractive…

Track Palin, left

I mean, after all, he loves his family and thinks about somebody other than himself…

Palin family. Track (top left), Willow (bottom left), Sarah (top center), Piper (bottom center), Todd (top right), and Bristol (bottom right). Taken before the birth of Trig Palin and Tripp Johnston.

And unlike Levi, Track has proven to be a responsible young man rather than an irresponsible and petulant boy.

2008 Republican National Convention. From left to right: Track Palin, Bristol Palin (holding baby brother Trig), and Levi Johnston. Note Track's haircut as he prepared to deploy to Iraq.

Sure, if gay men want to turn Levi Johnston into a gay icon, I guess I can understand that. Johnston did take his clothes off for them. But they might want to consider icons who have something going on not only under their clothes but beneath the flesh that it covers. Levi Johnston might have the body of a man and he might even have shown it off in Playgirl. But he’s not a man, and he won’t be until he takes responsibility for his son and his son’s mother, and until he stops talking trash about his son’s grandmother and current caregiver.

Of the two young men in the Palin orbit, it is Track Palin who has proven his true manhood through his brave actions rather than taking off his clothes for the highest bidder. Maybe he, rather than Levi Johnston, should be the icon for gay men and men in general for that matter.

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