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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Sour Times

There's this PBS show that goes to real families and has them talk about their family and the cool things that happen where they live. They go around the country, and it's all hosted by an animated rabbit named Buster. The "Sugartime" episode will not be aired nationally because it treats a lesbian family as if they were a normal family. The episode is about getting maple syrup out of trees in Vermont, and baking chocolate chip cookies, and Vermont dairy farms, and happens to start with Emma's family, who is in a perfectly legal union with her mom Karen and her step-mom Gillian. Honestly, they didn't even expect a national controversy, but in this nation where homophobia is still perfectly allowable, especially in a red state, the controversy has caused them to pull this episode from PBS. That's sad. They're not making a statement about homosexuality. They're just showing the diversity of families in America and the diversity of activities in different cities and states. Having Muslim families, Orthodox Jewish families, and Pentecostal Christians is all okay, but let's not show a family in a legal civil union in Vermont. That's just sick and wrong! Yeah, sick and wrong for there to even be a controversy. Sick and wrong for us to be so self-righteous and ignorant. Sick and wrong to send a message to little Emma that her family is unacceptable. Sigh. I feel so sorry for this little girl and I hope her moms can make this all right for her.

It never ceases to amaze me. A generation ago, gays were dangerous because of their promiscuity. Now gays are dangerous because they want the American dream - kids, a house, and growing old together. So what is it really? What is the real problem?


  • That is sad. I think a large part of it is probably just plain old xenophobia (which of course only makes the problem worse, since I think the best cure for xenophobia is to come to love a real live member of the feared class - which is hardly likely to happen while you're busy hackling at them in terror, but there it is). Personally I think there are more people that are simply just blindly falling into that than have genuine religious or moral objections, since all the colorable religious or moral objections I'm aware of also entail precisely the opposite of xenophobia (xenophilia, I suppose). Which is both sad to me, and vaguely insulting that both sides are so willing to pretend that this is a Christian issue and then use such un-Christian rhetoric.

    By Blogger Natalie, at 11:34 PM  

  • I think the underlying issue here is that PBS is partially tax payer funded. When the government is funding something that is offensive to a lot of the taxpayers, it becomes controversial. Homosexuality is not accepted as a legitimate family alternative to a lot of people and they don't want their tax dollars paying used showing that it's just fine.

    Personally, I'm fine with with the show about the Vermont family. I'd rather not spend any tax money on PBS. Let the viewing, PBS donating, public determine what is shown on PBS.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 1:50 PM  

  • Well, that's more or less what does happen these days, Kev. Having just weathered another pledge season, the stat that KQED cites is that less than 10% of their budget is government funding. 60% comes from pledges. The trivial amount of money spent on PBS is a drop in the bucket I'm more than thrilled that the government spends on non-market driven programming. Sure, maybe the market wants Power Rangers and Spongebob Squarepants and Survivor and Fear Factor, but thank god there's still a little funding boost for Sesame Street and Masterpiece theater and Scientific American Frontiers. If we took away all that funding, we couldn't even buy one helicoptor to crash in Iraq.

    Oh, and government funded or not, these people are in a government sanctioned union. Why more outrage over showing this family than a Muslim family? Not many Americans think they like either type of family without ever knowing one. If we're going to be bigoted hatemongers, let's go all the way.

    By Blogger Ammy, at 2:27 PM  

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