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Oliveira is also a biblical scholar, and he recently noticed an unfortunate continuity error in most of the depictions of Noah’s Ark: two male lions.
this artist remembered that there are boy-chickens and girl-chickens but let their guard down with the lions i fear pic.twitter.com/bvyW42NVY8— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
It started while he was prepping for his weekly podcast on Paradise Lost. This week, the podcast is covering the flood, and he pointed out it was a little disturbing how Noah’s Ark is the story we tell children, given how grim it is underneath all the cute animals and rainbows.
i love that noah's ark is ubiquitously The One We Tell To Children bc it is full of cute animals and a big boat and a rainbow and the— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
apocalyptic mass extinction of life on earth pic.twitter.com/NBpNud1v9M
This led to him noticing that the artist didn’t seem to have a firm grasp on lion anatomy, or perhaps wasn’t entirely clear where little lions came from. Not only that, but this seems to be a common failing among people producing pictures and toys of the Ark aimed at children.
the error is...systemic to the genre it seems pic.twitter.com/DOsvp3E4Rr— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
more gay lions pic.twitter.com/rm7uhaOV6b— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
love the raccoon representation! and the gay lions pic.twitter.com/LRN4ATGjis— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
wow is this why Henry James is so gay— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
without this playlet we wouldn't have Olivia deHavilland in WASHINGTON SQUARE i have to stan pic.twitter.com/94WJY9bzRD
It’s not limited to lions, either.
You missed the lesbian reindeer— Christine Burns MBE 🧜♀️🦍⧖ (@christineburns) June 11, 2019
Now see, I thought it was a moose. Only male moose have antlers lol— Tia the Xenomorph (@XenomorphKhan) June 12, 2019
if your ark doesn't have gay lions and lesbian cows you fucked up imo https://t.co/m9VAVP4NEx— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
The tweets set off an anatomical debate among his followers.
But they shouldn’t be simultaneously identical. They begin to grow, and they drop in different seasons. And even though they reach full growth at the same time, at that point, the male’s can be 2.5X larger than the female’s. So, I’m with @christineburns.— Blake Feldman (@bfeldman89) June 12, 2019
Them reindeer 👇 pic.twitter.com/lYL0pIpFW2
I’m Canadian so I totally interpreted those as two moose, and I’m 99% sure females don’t grow antlers. 😉 Happy pride to the gay moose! 🏳️🌈🇨🇦❤️— vanessa doban (@vanessadoban) June 12, 2019
And there were some fairly creative responses.
Lesbian Reindeer— Ajani on-the-Spot (@GuyWhoWroteThis) June 11, 2019
Boarding the with arc some lions they think might be gay
But who can say?
Wants to repopulate earth, but his zoo has no straits.
God is irate.
Oliveira also noted some attempts at, as he put it, overcorrection. You won’t get baby lions with two males but you also won’t get them from a tiger. God told Noah to take two of each animal to repopulate the earth—not to breed a liger.
this one feels like an overcorrection pic.twitter.com/6hQtBin48p— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
Amongst the delight, there were also some outraged Christians trying to condemn him or save his soul.
greetings prophet pic.twitter.com/FFY8DED1Yl— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 12, 2019
oh ok thanks https://t.co/V5nqDlzMqT— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 13, 2019
But Anthony pointed out that the biblical story of Noah is fairly obscene all by itself.
didn't noah's son like...immediately peep his dad's dick tho https://t.co/rROuefub9j— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 12, 2019
there's a whole book to be written entitled What Ham Did https://t.co/MGLIZQvWrV— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
One interpretation of ‘seeing someone’s nakedness’ is idiomatic. It means having sex with that person’s wife. In this case, it would also (hopefully) mean is that Noah’s ark wife was not Ham’s mother but his stepmother.— Brad Osborn (@bradleyosborn) June 12, 2019
In the end, it seems the story of Noah’s Ark has always been queer as heck.
lesbian cows, gay lions, masc-presenting peacock pairs, and herds of unicorns - i think what we've learned is that when Christians whine that we "stole the rainbow" from them, we should remind them that their art of the Noah story has always been queer as heck— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) June 11, 2019
Happy #Pride! pic.twitter.com/w4loFZ61ds
Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org