I live in a red state of mind


I stirred up another hornet’s nest on the Shocklines message board late yesterday and into today. Someone I consider an online friend made a post about the secretary of education pulling funding from PBS for some cartoon show that has two lesbian couples in it. He called for people to sign an online petition protesting that action. I stated that I don’t want PBS teaching my kids about sexuality — gay, straight or otherwise. And lo, the floodgates opened. Even Poppy Z. Brite came out of lurkdom to take a few shots.

The question was asked why having a lesbian couple would bring up the issue of sexuality. I thought that was a no-brainer. Now, I’ve never seen the show in question. I have to state that up front. All I know is what I read at Shocklines. The complaint was that the secretary of education pulled funding because the show has two lesbian couples in it. Based on that, what do we know about the four women? They are lesbians. How do you define a lesbian? I said women who have sex with women. Poppy says women who love women. Whatever. Lesbianism is a form of homosexuality, and what is the root word there? Sex.

As far as I can tell, I did not say anything negative about the gay community. And yet many gay members on the board seemed to take great offense to my statement that I don’t want my kids learning about sexual relationships through PBS.

If I turn on public television for my kids I want them to see programs that will help them learn the alphabet, how to count, not to steal, to stay away from drugs, etc. I don’t want them exposed to controversial ideas at a young age. This show apparently comes on in a time slot very soon after school lets out. Somebody said 4:30 p.m., but I don’t know what time zone that was.

And yes, homosexuality is a controversial idea. So is abortion. So is evolution, gun control, racism and a lot of other stuff. Sure, the kids will be exposed to that, but I don’t think seeing it depicted in an afternoon cartoon funded by tax dollars is appropriate, especially for the age group of kids the cartoon must target. Apparently, some or most of the characters are bunnies, so the show must be for really young kids. They are too young to be concerned with any form of sex or romantic love.

Somebody suggested kids would only see the situation depicted as some character having two mommies. Someone else said he simply explains a relative’s lesbianism as “Jane” being “Sally’s” girlfriend. I have to wonder if these people have been exposed to children much. The obvious next questions are going to be something like “Does she have two daddies, too?” “Why don’t I have two mommies?” “Why does Jane have a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend?” Children ask tons of questions and can be relentless in their pursuit of answers they can understand.

And it all comes back to the sex issue in the end. The couples were defined in the original post as lesbians. Not shopkeepers who happened to be gay. Not the parents of a character. They were defined by their sexuality.

And no, showing a straight couple does not push a heterosexual agenda, as some posters suggested. Straight is the norm. Straight couples make babies. Kids won’t blink an eye over a straight couple. Now, some will say, “What about kids living with a gay couple?” That’s a tiny segment of the population and I’d bet kids old enough to ask the question already realize their parents are different than most.

Somebody else asked if I knew I was straight prior to kissing a girl. It was never an issue. I never even considered the possibility of kissing a boy or thinking of boys like I did girls. And I was a horndog even as a child, sneaking kissing with Charlotte in kindergarten. She was a cutie. I was in junior high before I ever heard the concept of same-sex relationships.

I’m sure this post will offend some folks. Some of the Shocklines people actually read my blog and participated in that thread. To them I say again, my intent was not to offend. The reason for this post is because it’s bothered me that people I consider friends were offended. I don’t know if they were being overly sensitive and misinterpreting what I was trying to say and automatically reacting defensively, or if I’m really just so much of an intolerant jerk that I offend without even trying.

I don’t care who’s gay or who’s straight. But I care deeply about what my children are exposed to and I don’t want them learning about any kind of sexual relationships from a PBS cartoon.


0 responses to “I live in a red state of mind”

  1. I heard about this on the news tonight. They didn’t pull funding, they asked for that particular episode to be pulled, which PBS complied with. Perhaps they threatened the funding to get PBS to pull the episode, I don’t know. Also, it’s not actually a cartoon, it’s live action, but it’s hosted by a cartoon bunny. From what I saw, he carries a videocamera around and interviews people around the country of different cultures and ethnicities and whatnot. It’s supposed to be about introducing children to the diversity of our nation.
    Personally, I wouldn’t have cared if they included a gay couple, but I’m not a parent.

    • Well that’s a lot more information than I got out of the board discussion. I think somebody there said the show was about making syrup. Maybe that was the episode in question. I don’t know. I’d never even heard of the show. My kids usually watch Nickelodeon, Disney or Cartoon Network, so instead of seeing sexual relationships they see bad Japanese anime violence where nobody gets hurt. Or Lizzy MacGuire.
      I’m sure that’s healthier. 😉

      • I think somebody there said the show was about making syrup. Maybe that was the episode in question. I don’t know. I’d never even heard of the show.
        Yup, the bunny was taking a trip to Vermont to learn about making all the different ways families make maple syrup. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of the show either until now.
        I feel kind of bad for the lesbian couple’s children. When they ask their parents how come the episode they were on never aired, what are the parents going to say? “The government decided we are immoral and shouldn’t be exposed to other children”?

  2. Someone I consider an online friend made a post about the secretary of education pulling funding from PBS for some cartoon show that has two lesbian couples in it.

    I didn’t go on Shocklines today and now I’m glad I didn’t. Subjects like this shouldn’t even be brought up there. What does Shocklines – an online horror bookseller – have to do with this subject to begin with? I’m done with public message boards. Too many people use them to push their own personal agendas. I don’t care who’s gay or who’s straight, who’s for it, who’s against it. It has nothing to do with Shocklines. I don’t go there for the news or political editorials. There’s way too much OT stuff to dig through just to get to something that’s actually about books or writing or anything remotely on topic.

    • I try not to get sucked into this stuff. As a long-haired heterosexual white male conservative I know I’m always in the minority. hehe
      As to why that stuff comes up on Shocklines, I suppose the fact it’s Matt’s store, and board, and since he’s gay and many of the authors and readers who hang out there are, too, it’s just natural. It’d be nice if they stuck to literary topics, but that’s not likely.

  3. Someone I consider an online friend made a post about the secretary of education pulling funding from PBS for some cartoon show that has two lesbian couples in it.

    I didn’t go on Shocklines today and now I’m glad I didn’t. Subjects like this shouldn’t even be brought up there. What does Shocklines – an online horror bookseller – have to do with this subject to begin with? I’m done with public message boards. Too many people use them to push their own personal agendas. I don’t care who’s gay or who’s straight, who’s for it, who’s against it. It has nothing to do with Shocklines. I don’t go there for the news or political editorials. There’s way too much OT stuff to dig through just to get to something that’s actually about books or writing or anything remotely on topic.

    • I try not to get sucked into this stuff. As a long-haired heterosexual white male conservative I know I’m always in the minority. hehe
      As to why that stuff comes up on Shocklines, I suppose the fact it’s Matt’s store, and board, and since he’s gay and many of the authors and readers who hang out there are, too, it’s just natural. It’d be nice if they stuck to literary topics, but that’s not likely.

  4. Steve,
    I don’t want to get into the whole debate over at Shocklines; but, in my understanding, the reason for programming like that is to breed tolerance in children. I went to a private Catholic school through 3rd grade; and, even there, kids used words like ‘gay’, ‘fag’ and ‘homo’ to make fun of each other for silly behavior. Most of them seemed to understand the concept of same-sex relationships, boys acting like girls, etc. I’m sure they didn’t understand the mechanics of it all. They didn’t exactly understand the mechanics of heterosexual relationships either, though Mommy and Daddy had said relationships.
    I think the idea behind exposing kids to all different types of relationships between persons is to follow scientific findings which suggest that homosexuality is genetic, not learned. It’s a natural prediposition. Though homosexuals are a minority, why is it necessarily wrong that two women have a relationship like Mommy and Daddy’s. Personally, I wouldn’t get into the nuts and bolts of it with kids. You apparently keep details about your own sex life veiled from your children. Why couldn’t you keep details about homosexuality from your children?
    To be honest: I wish that programming to breed tolerance in children really worked. But I don’t know how much it can.
    While well-meaning, I doubt that the portrayal of gay couples in children’s programing is an effective way to go about breeding tolerance. Like you said: children start asking questions. What are their parents’ answers to their questions? Are their parents tolerant or intolerant. If their parents are intolerant, what will the children ultimately learn? My bet: intolerance.
    To boot, homosexuality will only be represented occasionally. So, it will still be the “one of those kids who’s doing his own thing”. Children develop a herd mentality. Weird is not good.
    Beyond all that: I don’t think that any good parent could, in good conscience, train their heterosexual child to experiment with homosexuality. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with homosexual behavior, it carries a stigma with it. Hence, some parents might be concerned that their heterosexual children could learn homosexual behavior. Could children be taught to be homosexual? I doubt it. But, certainly, some sexuality is learned (e.g. there are fetishes).
    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with tastefully portraying homosexual couples in children’s programming. But I’m doubtful as to whether it can actually breed tolerance in children in a healthy way.

  5. Steve,
    I don’t want to get into the whole debate over at Shocklines; but, in my understanding, the reason for programming like that is to breed tolerance in children. I went to a private Catholic school through 3rd grade; and, even there, kids used words like ‘gay’, ‘fag’ and ‘homo’ to make fun of each other for silly behavior. Most of them seemed to understand the concept of same-sex relationships, boys acting like girls, etc. I’m sure they didn’t understand the mechanics of it all. They didn’t exactly understand the mechanics of heterosexual relationships either, though Mommy and Daddy had said relationships.
    I think the idea behind exposing kids to all different types of relationships between persons is to follow scientific findings which suggest that homosexuality is genetic, not learned. It’s a natural prediposition. Though homosexuals are a minority, why is it necessarily wrong that two women have a relationship like Mommy and Daddy’s. Personally, I wouldn’t get into the nuts and bolts of it with kids. You apparently keep details about your own sex life veiled from your children. Why couldn’t you keep details about homosexuality from your children?
    To be honest: I wish that programming to breed tolerance in children really worked. But I don’t know how much it can.
    While well-meaning, I doubt that the portrayal of gay couples in children’s programing is an effective way to go about breeding tolerance. Like you said: children start asking questions. What are their parents’ answers to their questions? Are their parents tolerant or intolerant. If their parents are intolerant, what will the children ultimately learn? My bet: intolerance.
    To boot, homosexuality will only be represented occasionally. So, it will still be the “one of those kids who’s doing his own thing”. Children develop a herd mentality. Weird is not good.
    Beyond all that: I don’t think that any good parent could, in good conscience, train their heterosexual child to experiment with homosexuality. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with homosexual behavior, it carries a stigma with it. Hence, some parents might be concerned that their heterosexual children could learn homosexual behavior. Could children be taught to be homosexual? I doubt it. But, certainly, some sexuality is learned (e.g. there are fetishes).
    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with tastefully portraying homosexual couples in children’s programming. But I’m doubtful as to whether it can actually breed tolerance in children in a healthy way.

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