Another day, another misguided on-line campaign. Today the New York Daily News is reporting that there is an on-line position to get Sesame Street to have Bert and Ernie marry each other. Oh brother.
An online campaign to pressure the producers of “Sesame Street” into having lovable roommates Bert and Ernie get married is gathering steam. More than 700 people have signed on to the petition, posted at change.org. “We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful,” reads the petition for the muppet merger. “It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different.”
A debate over the sexuality of Sesame Street’s most famous duo has dogged the show since Bert and Ernie first appeared in 1969. The puppet pair sleep next to each other and bicker almost as much as a married couple.
But the producers of Sesame Street say Bert and Ernie’s relationship is purely platonic. “Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the non-profit Sesame Workshop said in a statement. “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though the Sesame Street Muppets … possess many human traits and characteristics, they have no sexual orientation.”
First of all, RELAX, gay rights advocates! As someone who genuinely believes that all human beings should be granted total equality in every aspect of life, please know that I am on your side on this issue in general, but I am fully against you in the specifics. If Sesame Street decided on its own volition to make Bert and Ernie married, that would be one thing, but a stupid on-line petition? And while we all know that the evangelical talking point that there is some kind of gay agenda aimed at teaching our children to be gay is both patently ridiculous and unacceptably hateful, this is certainly going to add fuel to that ignorant fire. No one should ever fear doing the right thing just because it’s going to provide lazy ammunition to a bunch of idiots, but whether or not this is the right thing is still VERY MUCH up for debate. Oh, also, here’s another thing:
The original speculation over Bert’s and Ernie’s unusual relationship and jocular jokes being made about their homosexuality COMES FROM A MILDLY HOMOPHOBIC PLACE. If they were accused of being gay in the past, it wasn’t out of PRIDE. Yes, they live together and sleep in the same
bed room (twin beds, very repressed 1950s, I’m sure). Yes, they argue constantly just like a real couple. You know what else? THEY’RE FUCKING FELT PUPPETS. The point of Bert and Ernie was never to discuss the types of compromise and conflict resolution required to make long-term relationships functional. It was about friendship, always. There is, as the final quote in this article points out, absolutely no reason to brush a patina of ACTUAL SEX onto this relationship. It’s not undefined because the Children’s Television Workshop was too scared to have a gay couple due to societal pressure but now it can be defined because the cultural values are shifting. It’s undefined because THEY ARE PUPPETS ON SESAME STREET AND NONE OF THE GODDAMNED PUPPETS ARE MARRIED BECAUSE THAT’S NOT AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE EXPLORED FOR PRE-SCHOOLERS. Just let these dudes collect paper clips and learn how to spell A-P-P-L-E-S-A-U-C-E for heaven’s sake.
And before you start pointing out that Kermit the Frog and Miss PIggy had a sexually frought relationship, I would point out that The Muppet Show aired in PRIME TIME and that certain concessions were made to an adult audience that are not necessary when the lesson of the day is “sharing.”
I’m sure half the people signing this petition are just doing it ironically anyway, which makes things even more TERRIBLE AND CONFUSING.
Guys (not you guys, but whoever is signing this petition), take a step back. Have a glass of water. We live in a huge, complicated, mean world and the road to human equality and socially mandated tolerance is a long one, but we are on that road. Keep your eyes on the prize. And your hands off things your hands don’t need to be on. Like this. Good grief, LOOK AT YOURSELVES.
All of this being said, if they ever DO get married, at least they have their first dance already picked out.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go back to my Trash Can and wait for a package of Generic Grouch Pills from Canada.