Jewish World Review Feb. 28, 2005 / 19 Adar I, 5765
Buster the bunny is causing a lot of trouble, and he had better
knock it off right now. The PBS cartoon character has instigated a brawl
between the federal government, PBS and everyday Americans that is shaping
up to be a signature battle in the nation's culture war.
For those of you unfamiliar with Buster, he is a curious rabbit
that hops around on public TV introducing small children to the wonders of
American life. In one of his adventures, Buster showed up in Vermont to
check out the maple syrup industry and wound up surrounded by a bunch of
lesbians and their children. The connection between the syrup business and
lesbians was never really explained, but Buster posed for a picture with the
group and looks very happy.
But the new secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, wasn't
happy and fired off a letter to PBS saying that federal money should not be
used to "introduce this kind of subject matter to children." Since the
Public Broadcasting Service gets around $80 million a year in taxpayer
funds, that kind of letter gets PBS' attention fast.
The pressure caused PBS to fold, and it did not air the "Buster
in Vermont" episode nationally, but some individual stations did show it.
Soon after the controversy, PBS President Pat Mitchell announced she was
going to quit, but not because of Buster. Although rumor has it the bunny
feels terrible about the entire situation.
But not as terrible as Congressman Barney Frank who, as a proud
gay man, is outraged that the education secretary dissed Buster visiting the
lesbians. Frank wrote a letter to Spellings spelling it out: "You have said
that families should not have to deal with the reality of the existence of
same-sex couples, and the strong implication is that this is something from
which young children should be shielded."
Well, yeah, Barn, that's correct. Many Americans believe that
little kids should have a childhood and not be subjected to any kind of
sexuality. I don't want to be offensive here, but who in their right mind
wants to explain Norma and Barbara's lifestyle to their 4-year-old? Give the
kids a break, OK?
It is well known that many in the communications business
believe that a subliminal "gay is OK" message is imperative to foster
tolerance in America. On paper, the theory looks good, and is good if the
child is mature enough to process the situation. But introducing
homosexuality into the little kid culture angers many Americans who believe
sex in general is an inappropriate topic for small children, and that is a
legitimate point of view whether Barney Frank or PBS likes it or not.
The sexualization of children is one of America's great
scandals. Kids today are blasted out of a G-rated life far too early thanks
to a greedy, irresponsible media and fanatical special interest groups. Yes,
there is bigotry against gays, and kids must be taught to reject that at an
appropriate age. There is also crazy stuff coming from some religious
zealots who believe SpongeBob is cruising gay bars in Key West. That kind of
nonsense diminishes the argument that young children need to be protected
from too much information, which they do.
So I am teed off at Buster the bunny because this is all his
fault. The guy went up to Vermont to get some syrup and got stuck in a huge
jam. Buster should absolutely stay out of sexual politics. It's OK to be
happy, Buster, just don't be gay.
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