idiots, all of ’em
My apologies for updating so late: I have been in meetings all morning.
Jerry Falwell has proclaimed that Tinky Winky, one of the Teletubbies, is gay. Now, there are many things that could be discussed here, such as the fact that Tinky Winky is fictional, and that Tinky Winky doesn’t have any genitals and that Tinky Winky appears to have the same kind of affection for both the male and female Teletubbies, who appear to be rather androgynous anyway– but instead I want to talk about all of this “exposing children to evil.”
Falwell said that because Tinky Winky carries a purse (or “magic bag” or whatever you want to call it), is purple, and has his antenna shaped like a triangle, that these “subtle depictions” are “no doubt intentional.” He went on to say in a statement issued Tuesday that, “As a Christian I feel that role modeling the gay lifestyle is damaging to the moral lives of children.”
If anyone understands being gay in the most purest terms, it is probably children.
When I was younger I lived in Palm Springs, California. I had two girlfriends who were older than me, who lived together. They were best friends who got to live together. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. When I asked how they got to do that they explained that their dads were friends and when their moms divorced their dads, their dads moved in together. It made sense. Rent is cheaper that way, after all. Plus their dads looked like Darryl Hall and John Oates, and there’s nothing cooler than that in 1983.
One night I spent the night at their house. They told me that they had something very important to tell me. They said, “Our dads are gay.” I had no idea what that meant, but it sounded really important, so I tried to play it off cool.
“Oh, yeah, really?” (see how cool I was?)
“You don’t know what that means, do you?” One of them asked me.
“They live together because they want to live together. They love each other,” the other explained.
And I thought that was the most beautiful thing in the world. Because their moms didn’t love their dads anymore, they loved each other. Now that I’m older I’m sure that the moms left once they found out the dads loved each other, but at the time it seemed so simple. So logical.
“Everyone needs a best friend,” I said to them.
“They have sex,” they spat out. I could tell that they had lost many friendships over this, and they were ready for me to leave as well.
“That’s what grown-ups do when they love each other,” I said. “I have cable, you know.”
And that was all I thought about it. I don’t think that their dads “damaged” my “moral life.”
There was also a friend of the outside family when I was little who was a woman who often dressed as a man. When she was dressed as a man she wanted to be addressed by her masculine name. As a child, I always thought they were two different people who were cousins or something. When I got a little older and someone slipped and called her by the other name, I realized they were the same person. You know what my brain rationalized? “Oh, she’s playing pretend. Just like I do when I put on my mom’s shoes. It’s fun to play pretend.”
Children don’t assume people are “evil.” It’s when they see their parents suck their teeth and shake their heads that they wonder what is different about those people. People love to snicker and giggle about making puppets and children’s icons have these “secret sexual lives.” They turn Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood into the Jerry Springer Show. Every time someone sees my Sesame Street books or my Grover cup some asshole has to start in with the, “You know Bert and Ernie are gaaaaaay, right?” You know what? Bert and Ernie live together because they are best friends. They are puppets. They were seven years old. Maybe Bert was ten. Tops.
Pooh is a bear and Piglet is a pig. They are also about six years old. Christopher Robin, who was the one making up the stories, was ten. They aren’t giving each other blow jobs on the Hundred Acre Wood. They are toys.
Why are all these freaks trying to ruin my childhood memories with sexual images?
Just let the children’s shows do their jobs. Let them educate the youth. That’s what they have degrees for.
Children start by looking at people just like they see themselves. Then they start to compare. It’s when their parents tell them something is wrong that they question whether or not they should like someone.
And maybe if there was more brotherly/sisterly love in children’s shows then children wouldn’t get so confused when they start growing up and develop crushes. It is very common for children to develop same-sex crushes on older influences. They are trying to find out who they want to be, who they want to emulate, who they want to look like. They don’t start thinking about who they want to love until they are older. And at that point, if they have been taught by their parents and older relations that wearing purple is wrong, that wanting to be with your best friend is wrong, and that being affectionate is wimpy, we have another generation that searches for the “gayness” in our culture, trying to stamp out anything that could possibly sway our children that gay people are the same as you and me.
Let’s take another look at those Teletubbies…
Well, the purple one is also very tall, which means that they are saying that gay people stand out the highest and proudest, you know. And that red one is wearing a feminist symbol on her head, so she’s either a lesbian, or she’s up to some trouble. Luckily they made her the smallest, so she’s actually rather easy to knock down. But that green one! My God, he’s got a big old penis coming out of the top of his head! We can’t have that phallic symbol bouncing around on these television shows. I’m calling for a boycott of the green one. All of them condone too much television watching. And they way they worship that false sun god. Horrible.
It’s enough to make me stay in bed forever, I swear.
I have a feeling I’m preaching to the choir, here, but for Pete’s sake, is anyone else tired of this? Just people stretching for any kind of conspiracy theory that leads to the boycott of yet another thing that could possibly bring joy into a child’s life. They have to make their own decisions sometime. They have to learn about the world and people in it. Wouldn’t it be simpler to have your child see a man in a gay pride parade and say, “Is that man carrying a purse like you do, Mom?” And when you say yes he says, “Oh, just like Tinky Winky.” And that’s it. There’s no need to explain fetishes or gender issues until the child is older and can understand such a complex discussion.
Everyone is different. If people keep boycotting, we will have the most boring children’s television. They will learn nothing. It’ll be like the box in Brave New World that you listen to as you sleep, feeding the facts into your dormant brain.
I started reading Stephen King books when I was eight. I read Lord of the Flies at ten. If you had kept me sheltered I would never have been as intelligent and literate as I am. Because when does the sheltering stop? When I was a senior in high school, eighteen years old, there were kids in there whose parents would not allow them to read Brave New World because it discussed birth control. They had to read another book. The irony escaped them, I’m sure. These kids were on their own in three months. Not living at home anymore, and their reading material was still being censored. They were still not allowed to learn about sex. How many of them do you think are now on their fifth kid?
I also remember my Prince tape being taken away from me when I was a ten when my mother saw the words to “Darlin’ Nikki” on Geraldo. I told her that I knew the song was dirty, and that I didn’t really like it. It was all the other songs on the tape that I liked. I compared it to my “Grease” album, where I knew that some of the words in “Greased Lightnin'” were dirty, but I liked the music and the film overall. I knew that some of the behavior was inappropriate. I understood right from wrong. Keeping it from me would have only made it more interesting. Mom gave me my Prince tape back. Then I asked her what “masturbation” was. She took the tape back from me, thought about it, gave me the tape and told me to ask my father. I knew that it had something to do with touching myself, I just didn’t know how you would do it with a magazine, like Nikki did. I thought that would hurt.
Kids just want someone there to answer their questions. They are able to rationalize all sorts of things. But who knows? Maybe if Prince had seen Tinky Winky sooner he wouldn’t wear so much purple.