FROG AND TOAD — Spiritual and Also Controversial Now?

Susan G Holland
3 min readNov 11, 2018

https://media.newyorker.com/photos/590977321c7a8e33fb38f8e9/master/w_649,c_limit/FrogandToad1.jpg

New Yorker published the essay (LINK ABOVE:) today online, and I could hardly wait to read it once more — — maybe the thousandth time: FROG AND TOAD ARE FRIENDS.

AS published November 2018 by New Yorker Magazine, online

I have been loud in my championing of this classic written by author and illustrator Arnold Lobel.

The New Yorker’s article was focused on a fact I never knew, and never really cared about, and still don’t care about, but apparently the New Yorker does, and particularly does Colin Stokes who is the author of the article.

I was surprised to learn that Arnold Lobel CAME OUT AS GAY IN 1978.

……Surprised not so much by the revelation of his sexual orientation, but ten times more by the notion that this — the “coming out” — — was extraordinary and newsworthy enough to publish in the famous New Yorker! in 2018!!!!!

Is ANYONE surprised to find that some well known, respected person is gay?

I really thought that that sort of news was, by now, not something to wag about to sell a magazine! Are we not used to gayness yet?

In fact, the very idea that I have called Frog and Toad are Friends the most spiritual fiction book I have ever read, must put me on the list of those who are re-assessed in regards to my philosophy about the pluses and minuses of homosexuality! Especially in that I have made no secret of my own faith!

(I mean, I am a born-again Christian, am I not? I came out in 1963 about being born-again and, as I find out frequently, some people still think that is very queer indeed!)

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The “fuzz” (my affectionate word for tacit aghast-ness) around spirituality never does quiet down, does it? The fuss and fuzz about what God condemns and what God gives “attaboys” to. (oh. of course not to forget “attagirls.”)

— — — — — — —

I do believe that God pays attention to a sparrow’s fall out of the sky. But I don’t think He uses that sparrow’s fall as a condemnation of sparrows or of enemies of sparrows, or even of the nature of death. I believe that parable-like bit of the Bible speaks to the limitless scope of that Entity Larger Than Life Itself — i.e.,God — to attend to and keep track of all the infinite and infinitessimal matter of the universe and beyond. Simply that God cares; even cares a LOT about humans’ “fuzzy” fits about religion and sexuality and such details.

Whether or not He judges the specifics of sparrows and people is a different subject altogether, and certainly has been a hot subject of debate since the year one (or whenever people began to think about it all.) You can read all about that in the Bible. Check it out. Check it out for yourself. (Not through a how-to book or class.)

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I have to ask, in my all-too-human curious and slightly suspicious way, whether the New Yorker is gossiping about the latest “outing” of gayness hoping to sell magazines? Or is it to tweak an already titillated public about a subject that still might have some press-appeal, and might, hopefully, remind people to be titillated some more. Shades of the Enquirer! All to ensure a continuing readership and not go broke.

— —(I really enjoy The New Yorker cartoons, by the way, and always read those first.)

I am in love with the illustrations of my favorite protagonist and my favorite toad-in-distress. I yearn to read that story again to learn the essence of friendship. I know it by heart — -but the illustrations are inimitable!

Do we know for sure which sex each of those protagonists is?

Most of all… DOES IT MATTER?

SGHolland ©November 11 2018

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Susan G Holland

AS ALWAYS, curious...I wonder, I ask, I probe, I learn, I write , and I'm still doing it at "going on 87!' Now living in Seattle WA , and still making art.