In response to a campaign asking PBS to let long-time “Sesame Street” roommates Bert and Ernie get married, the taxpayer-funded producers announced that:
“Bert and Ernie are best friends … Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics …they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
Which came as news to blogger Julian Sanchez, who points out that many muppets of the opposite-sex variety often romantically date or pine for one another, and the Twiddlebugs muppets are a standard nuclear family. As Sanchez notes:
What all of these have in common is that they’re heterosexual couples. Because it’s regarded as the default, that “sexual orientation” is invisible. But, of course, it’s still there—and nobody imagines that simply depicting all these straight couples and families somehow counts as injecting inappropriate “adult” or sexualized material into a children’s show.
I doubt this is news to the clever producers at “Sesame Street,” however. More likely they’re dancing around the issue. To be fair, if Bert and Ernie got married there would be a huge brouhahah from the traditional values right, since PBS is a taxpayer-funded enterprise (that is, social conservatives have their money taken by the federal government and given to the producers, whether they like it or not). Since PBS has been long under fire for biased reporting favoring big government liberalism, a same-sex wedding could be the final straw.
Which is the problem with taxpayer-funded media; gay characters have proliferated on commercial and pay cable networks, including TV Land sitcoms, while children’s programming at liberal taxpayer-funded PBS remains in the 60s – big government is just dandy, but gays are in the closet.