It's gettin hot in hurr...
When I was in my last year of college, I had a gay roommate from Ireland who was one of only a handful of White students who attended CAU- Clark Atlanta University. Though he was an exchange student, he was anything but the stereotypical shy visitor you normally would expect. He was a lively, arrogant guy with short spiky hair and a snappy wit most Americans aren't accustomed to. He was the type- if provoked- to verbally embarass someone in the worst way possible, and suddenly walk off without blinking twice, leaving the unfortunate victim speechless and mouth agape. Needless to say, he, like myself was a bit of an anomaly on campus and despite our different sexual orientations, we were a pretty good fit as roommates.
Anyway, he would always wear this white and purple t-shirt that simply said, "Tinky Winky made me do it!" but it wasn't until I read what the conservative, religious lunatic Jerry Fallwell said about a children's t.v. show that I understood the joke. Recall now, that Falwell rebuked PBS' "Teletubbies" as "bad for children because they promote gay lifestyles". His rationale: the androgynous Tinky Winky (that's the bastard on the far left) is topped with a three sided geometrical shape known to intelligent people as a TRIANGLE, but to him and his mindless followers, it's a sign of the conspiratorial gay agenda attracting kids. At the time I shrugged it off as whacked out lunacy, but now....
I'm starting to think that adults are more ignorant than children.
It seems that in more recent years, children's programs have been targeted by conservatives who complain about everything from Sponge Bob to Sesame Street. They claim that these shows are proof of a left wing conspiracy to liberalize kid's thought processes and teach (gasp!) TOLERANCE of all things. What insiduously evil genius thought that idea up? Until this week, the protests coming from the likes of the religious right have focused primarily on inhibiting children's exposure to homosexual themes in television, but now they've got a new cause, keeping children from being unintentionally exposed to the environmental causes of the day. The focus of their agitation this time around- cartoon penguins, yes PENGUINS.
There is some new cartoon flick out called "Happy Feet" where the main characters are a flock of Antarctic penguins who are starving due to overfishing. What's got their panties in a twitch is the fact that in the movie a) humans are blamed for the lack of food for the penguins b) human pollution negatively affects the penguins lives c) humans are referred to as "aliens"and d) the protagonist penguin dances too much. Now I might understand their anger if the main themes in the movie were untrue, but only a blind person could miss how horridly humans are contributing to the degredation of the environment, and even most of them know what the deal is. Of all things to be upset about in American society- war, drugs, racism, childhood obesity, poverty and mainstream radio- a cartoon of dancing, hungry penguins is what pisses people off. Neil Cavuto of Fox"news" said the movie was an "animated Inconvenient Truth" and that he "half-expected to see an animated version of Al Gore pop up" and even CNN's Glen Beck jumped into the fray calling the cartoon "propaganda". Huh. All this over a cartoon? Then again, I'm watching a Fox"news" report right now about a Florida man who's in critical condition after nearly getting eaten alive by an alligator. But hey, there's NO connection between a lack of natural gator food (fish) and humans now being a #3 combo meal on their menu, right? RIGHT! I guess teaching kids to appreciate the environment IS a real threat to the moral fabric of this country isn't it!
I've come to the conclusion that grown ups really know how to jack up a good thing by assuming cartoons and other kid's program have hidden agendas. As adults, we can see the interesting subtle nuances that we missed as kids, but I think these folks are really overestimating the impact these harmless shows have on children. Just to prove it, I want you all to come with me on a trip down memory lane to view the biggest t.v. influences on our lives from childhood. Since they want to bastardize cartoons, I want to delve into the ultra-conservative mindset real quick and join the calls to boycott children's television! If kid's shows really have a dark side that instill socially rehensible behavior, let's explore and decide for ourselves whether the shows from back in the day made us the way we are. Let's see how much "influence" they REALLY had on us: Shall we?
GI Joe: Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Be a real American hero, just don't come out of the closet.... Although knowing is half the battle, if you "know" that you're gay, keep it to yourself.
Rainbow Bright: Leader of the Feminist Lesbian Movement.
Who could have known that all that "rainbow power" would turn a generation of little girls into man-hating gay women?
Flash Gordon: Exhibitionist.
With a name like "Flash" what do you expect? Blasphemous!
Fraggle Rock: Baseheads.
Look at their dialated pupils, wacky temperments and uncontrollable urges to always be moving. You KNOW they all had to be freebasin'!
Tom and Jerry: Sadomasochists.
Leather and chains anyone? No one, and I mean NO ONE loved the pleasures of giving and receiving painful discipline more than these two. This must be why children are so hard-headed. They just LOVE a good ass whoopin!
Statler and Waldorf: Drunks.
Who drinks tea at the theater? It's all about the liquor with these two winos. Folks who are inebriated tend to have loose lips and these guys talked stuff about EVERYONE! Terrible influence!
The Brain: Evil Marxist tyrant.
Damn Commies always want to take over! Kids will all want to be like Josef Stalin, kill their parents and try to rule the world after watching Animaniacs!
Pee Wee Herman: LSD advocate
Who else but someone on psychotropic drugs would have talking furniture, a REAL genie and a house band comprised of furry stuffed animals to play the theme music? Luckily he gave up the hallucenagenics and started watching porn instead!
Pepe Le Pew: Sexual predator.
Je suis un perverti*. Teenage boys worldwide can blame this skunk for their high testosterone levels and angsty adolescent moods- or at least use him as a good excuse for their lack of self control.
*( I am a pervert...)
Bugs Bunny: Drag Queen.
Blame the silly wabbit for giving men in dresses some legitimacy. He paved the way for the likes of Divine, Rupaul, and Dennis Rodman to paint their nails, don wigs and get completely in touch with their feminine sides. Where's Elmer Fudd when you need him?
Bert and Ernie: Gay lovers.
These two have lived together for 25 years, never have women come to visit, and Bert is a well dressed neat freak who collects paper clips. What else is there to say? I got it, "Ban Sesame Street forever!"
Santa Clause: (Fill in the blank)________
As I've said before, the jolly old fat man Santa is definitely on the sauce (among other things). Who would voluntarily live in the coldest place on earth, smoke a pipe containing who knows what, work in a toy shop with "elves", have a constant red face, "fly" through the air on a sled led by reindeer- the main one having a red nose, keep strange children on his lap and go on a crash diet that allows him to fit down chimneys? No Santa for my baby!
As you can see, any adult who digs THIS deep is bound to be upset about kid's programming regardless of what's on. They probably had an unhappy childhood and didn't get to watch the good stuff when they were young anyway. Too bad for them! Rather than let kids be kids and enjoy a few hours of wacky cartoons, they want to make a political issue out of it and take the best part out of it- the fun. Who knows, maybe they're still upset about the election and need something else to fuss about. Either way, they all need to grow up, get a life and get laid, -then maybe the rest of us can watch our mindless 'toons the way they were intended.