Thursday, August 11, 2011

Puppets, excuse me, Muppets, aren't people...

Come and play. Everything's A-OK. Friendly neighbors there, that's where we meet, Can you tell me how to get…How to get to Sesame Street? It's a magic carpet ride, every door will open wide to happy people like you--Happy people like…What a beautiful…Sunny Day, sweeping' the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet, can you tell me how to get…How to get to Sesame Street? - Sesame Street Lyrics

Give me a break. Can someone just please…sigh. Ok. So earlier this week, a friend of mine posted his frustration at the notion of the possible nuptials of Bert and Ernie. I swear to you, I thought he was just being a jerk, and I told him so. Then I heard on the news, that it was a real movement. Ummm kids? Bert and Ernie are puppets. They aren’t gay or straight for that matter. They are felt. Perhaps the Pro Felt or the Anti Felt people would like to chime in on this serious issue.

The purpose of Bert and Ernie is to show two friends, two best friends, learning how to give and take and accept each other for who they are. Bert is the serious, responsible and steadfast one. He’s quirky, with his love of pigeons, stamps and paperclips. Ernie is decidedly, much less serious. Ernie is the flighty one he is much less responsible and much more childlike. Ernie is about the rubber ducky and his sax. Bert and Ernie are not about sex, gay or otherwise.

Here is what I understand. People want there to be an honest reflection of real families in film and television, including programming for children. I personally think that society would only benefit from learning that there are all kinds of people who help in making up all types of families. Having the knowledge that there are two women who love each other doesn’t mean that your daughter is going be lesbian. More likely than not, it means that your kid will grow up to be a tolerant, understanding and accepting individual. Isn't that what we want, to be a part of a benevolent society? I hate to sound like such the idealist, I know it’s not all that easy, but hate mongering comes from ignorance and fear doesn’t it? Once you know that something different won’t hurt you, there is not much to fear, is there? More and more, there are families that are different than our own. What is wrong exactly, with knowing that some families have 2 daddies, 2 mommies, one of each, just one, or none--- some kids grow up with Aunts and/or Grandparents? Quite frankly, that’s just an accurate portrayal of what real life is like. Hey you, person who is shaking your head at me---face facts, the world is changing and you can’t stop it. It would behoove you to open up your mind and be more accepting and understanding. After all, these are the people in your neighborhood. They’re the people that meet, when you’re walking down the street. They're the people that you meet each day. (Please tell me you got that?)

I have no doubt that the good people at Sesame Street, could (and I think should) figure out a way to introduce same sex parent families—that does not involve puppets. It would serve a greater service to show real flesh and bone actors portraying positive gay characters, than it would be to take beloved characters such as Bert and Ernie, and change the meaning of their relationship. Besides, don’t we want kids to learn that you can be “just” friends? Friendship is important, just as important as family. You choose your friends. Family is a crapshoot.

One last thing, if I may…they’re puppets kids. Puppets. Come ON!

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