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Old 02-15-2005, 04:38 PM   #1
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Should PBS show Lesbian Moms in Cartoon Show?

Sometimes, watching the debate in the US over gay issues (from a Canadian perspective) is quite perplexing. Here, we're about to legalize gay marriage, while in the states Spongebob and Buster become gay controversies.

Anyway, this one's about PBS using taxpayer dollars to further "the gay agenda" through a kid's cartoon show. PBS actually relented to the pressure from US Education Secretary.


http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/TV/0....ap/index.html



Commentary: 'Buster' and the lesbians
TV critic asks: What's the big deal?
By Frazier Moore
Associated Press
Tuesday, February 15, 2005 Posted: 9:01 AM EST (1401 GMT)


NEW YORK (AP) -- If the tape from WGBH had come in a plain brown wrapper, I wouldn't have been surprised. The fuss over this episode of "Postcards From Buster" -- you know, with the lesbian mothers -- had me nervous it might be a junior version of "The L Word."

You must have heard. Last month U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings upbraided PBS for spending tax dollars to make the episode, titled "Sugartime!" Then PBS, while denying it was caving to her pressure, displayed all the signs of caving with the announcement that it wouldn't distribute "Sugartime!" to its 349 stations.

But thanks to series producer WGBH (which is providing the episode to any PBS stations that want to air it) I had scored a copy. I popped it in my VCR, pulled down the shades and took a peek.

Go figure! This episode is pretty typical of "Postcards from Buster," a gentle, informative series about a camcorder-toting cartoon bunny who explores different cultures and communities, then reports back to his friends at home (as well as to his 4-to-8-year-old audience) through live-action video "postcards" showing the people he meets. (Check local listings for airtime.)

For "Sugartime!" (which refers not to sex, gay or straight, but to maple sugaring), Buster went to Vermont. There he visited a group of cute kids who ride bikes, jump in the hay, make chocolate chip cookies, cozy up to a bonfire, and show him how syrup begins as sap from maple trees.

As usual, this episode, filmed last March, centers on youngsters. But glimpsed as well are the parents, two couples who seem altogether unremarkable. Except they're all women.

This detail scarcely escapes Buster's notice. When one little girl refers to her mother and stepmother, Buster remarks, "That's a lot of moms!"

Nothing more on the subject is said or done, however. And no one breathes the L Word.

But by daring to include two of the nation's 168,000 gay-parented households (joining Pentecostal Christians, Muslims, Mormons and Hmong among those represented on the series) "Buster" was busted.

"Congress' and the department's purpose in funding this programming certainly was not to introduce this kind of subject matter to children," Spellings wrote PBS head Pat Mitchell. (The Department of Education anteed up $5 million, two-thirds of the budget for the series' 40 episodes.) "Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode."

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson agrees.

"At its heart, the issue before us is the 'sexual reorientation' and brainwashing of children by homosexual advocacy groups," Dobson wrote on his Web site.

'Sensitive in today's political climate'
Of course, no child watching this episode is any more likely to be brainwashed into becoming gay than into copying Buster and growing rabbit ears.

The danger, such as it is, lies elsewhere. The episode's two couples -- Karen and Gillian, and their friends Tracy and Gina -- come across as perilously likable people and loving parents. They're awfully hard to distinguish from acceptable folks. It might be tricky, then, to convince a child who's "exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode" that these women should be demonized for being who they are. As usual, information is a threat to blind prejudice.

Granted, even Dobson draws the line on his character attacks. Recently he has emphatically denied ever calling SpongeBob SquarePants gay (you almost expect him to proclaim, "Some of my best friends are sponges").

But he hasn't backed down from his assertion that a kid-targeted video starring SpongeBob and dozens of other cartoon characters has a more sinister motive than simply preaching diversity. He warns that it's all part of a crusade "to promote homosexual ideas and purposes."

Donald Wildmon, head of the American Family Association, is sounding the same alarm. Writing on his Web site that "the homosexual community has long used PBS ... to promote their agenda," he hails Spellings "for her bold stand."

But what, to some, seems a bold stand is, to others, just pandering to a strident pressure group. Consider PBS' own excuse for yanking the episode: It was deemed "sensitive in today's political climate," a spokeswoman was quoted as saying.

One of the moms, Tracy Harris, sees herself as a longtime PBS viewer done wrong. "I had a lot of faith in them to do the right thing and to give a voice to people who I feel are underrepresented in the media," she says, adding, "As a teacher and as a parent and as a taxpayer, I feel betrayed by Secretary Spellings."

Says Gina D'Ambrosio, a social worker partnered with Harris for nine years, the busting of "Buster" has turned "a beautiful series about life in America into what feels like an issue of invalidation and fear and censorship."

Both women praise Boston's WGBH, which, in the wake of PBS' defection, is making "Sugartime!" available to PBS stations. So far, 42 have stepped up, with airings that began last week and will stretch into March.

These pockets of resistance have proved heartening to the kids in the episode. Understandably, they were crushed on learning that, among everyone visited by "Postcards from Buster," they were singled out by a federal official as unfit for the nation to see. What a cruel lesson from the country's education czar and those who support her: Out of sight, out of mind.
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Old 02-15-2005, 04:41 PM   #2
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Why not?

I'm one of those narrow minded Christians who believe in free speech.
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Old 02-15-2005, 05:21 PM   #3
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double post ...
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Old 02-15-2005, 05:25 PM   #4
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How are we going to maintain the definition of family and enstill the idea that couples that don't procreate are useless if we allow this type of thing to happen?

This may turn 4 year olds gay. I mean I remember watching Spider-Man and allowing every spider I ran into bite me, watched G.I. Joe and dropping out of pre school to join the army, and watching Smurfs thinking magic and communism were for me.
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Old 02-15-2005, 05:34 PM   #5
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I thought from watching cartoons that if I flattened somebody's head with a frying pan it would immediately pop back into shape with no ill effects whatsoever.
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
and watching Smurfs thinking magic and communism were for me.
They went capitalist when they made that Smurfberry Crunch cereal and advertised it on Saturday mornings. This predated the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and when I saw them singing the Smurfberry Crunch theme song to the tune of Tchaikovsky's No. 2 March from THE NUTCRACKER on western television, I knew they had surrendered to commerce and we had won the Cold War. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet collapse, were all close at hand.

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Old 02-15-2005, 07:47 PM   #7
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Old 02-15-2005, 07:57 PM   #8
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What a bunch of narrow-minded hysterical idiots. That kind of ignorance - and unwillingness to accept other people for who and what they are - disgusts me.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by the iron horse
Why not?

I'm one of those narrow minded Christians who believe in free speech.
Ditto that.

If they don't like it, don't watch it, don't donate. Seems pretty simple to me.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:20 PM   #10
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does any straight person in here think they could be persuaded to change their orientation by two lesbians on a farm in Vermont?

honestly.

who throws his shoe?
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
does any straight person in here think they could be persuaded to change their orientation by two lesbians on a farm in Vermont?

honestly.

who throws his shoe?
The irony of the far-right so-called Christians here is the Jesus was probably the most radical and IN-clusive person of his time, and unless I'm mistaken he didn't express an opinion about homosexuals, I could be wrong here of course, and if I am someone from the rfar right will no doubt correct me.

I gained even more respect for my Pastor, Rick Warren recently when I found out he'd been publicly lambasted by Swaggert on TV for not being a "true Christian". Way to go Rick !
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:25 PM   #12
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and watching all that straight tv hasn't fixed me yet!
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Doozer61
and watching all that straight tv hasn't fixed me yet!
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:32 PM   #14
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic
If they don't like it, don't watch it, don't donate. Seems pretty simple to me.
Me, too. But apparently some people are still all, "Duh, I don't get it ...not watch what I don't like, that's confusing...". They can certainly express their dislike of the program, but ya know, I'm sure those who didn't like this episode wouldn't like it if I went in and tried to pull programs expressing their beliefs, so what makes them think they can do it to others? Who left them in charge?

And people honestly need to give kids today more credit. I did not go out and do something simply because some cartoon character did it, and neither will most kids. Any kid that does wasn't taught by their parents that just because someone else does something, it doesn't mean they have to do it, too. Don't blame the show for that one.

Besides that, ooh, they showed two moms on TV...the sun still came up the next morning, didn't it? The whole world didn't turn gay as a result, did it? Seriously, as I said, they're entitled to express their opinions and all that, but it'd be so wonderful if those people who complained about the show moved on with their lives and started complaining about something worth complaining about. And can somebody please tell me why these "family" groups use the word "family" in their name? I wasn't aware that prejudice was a good family value to pass on now.

Okay. Rant over now.

Angela
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