The Tinky Winky Scandal Essay

The Tinky Winky Scandal Term paper

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The tinky winky scandal The reaction to the Rev. Jerry Falwell's outing of Tinky Winky (the purple Teletubby) was widespread with scorn and hilarity. Comedians and writers ridiculed Falwell for his paranoia in seeing homosexuals on toddlers television programs. When asked about the charge, Falwell said he had never seen Teletubbies and didn't know whether Tinky Winky was homosexual or not. However the notion of someone attacking a cartoon character is too appealing to be easily abandoned. If you've ever watched Teletubbies, you might suspect some kind of subliminal messaging. The four tubbies have aerials coming out of their spacesuit hoods, which receive programming that's broadcast on TV screens on their stomachs. As they prance out of their bunker and around the strange, apocalyptic land where they live, speakers pop out of the ground and feed them orders. It's both cute and creepy. Is Tinky Winky gay? He is not the first cartoon character to be outed. At the level of the creators' stated intentions, the Teletubbies have no sexual orientation. The program tries to "recreate the world of toddlers", which does not involve any level of sexual understanding. But TV programs are group products, and it's not impossible that references--Tinky Winky's "favorite thing" (a red pocket book), his purple triangle antenna, and the tutu he sometimes wears--are bits of a code included for the benefit of adults. Sexual signals can be received without being consciously sent according to Freud. The first cartoon characters to be accused of aberrant sexual practices were Batman and Robin. In a 1954 book titled Seduction of the Innocent, a psychologist named Fred Wertham attacked the sadistic violence and sexual deviance portrayed in comic books. Batman and Robin, he noted, were two men living together who liked to wear capes and tights. Back home at Wayne Manor, they lounged about in dressing gowns. Bert and Ernie are another good example. When Sesame Street was created in the early `70s, no one meant for them to be taken as lovers. But consider two men living together, sleeping in the same room, and taking a great interest in each other's baths. In 1994, a Southern preacher tried to get them banned under an old North Carolina anti-sodomy law. (He said they had "blatantly effeminate characteristics.") The Children's Television Workshop denied the rumors saying, They are puppets, not humans." In recent years, children's entertainment has contained an increasing amount of obviously intentional gay references. In The Lion King, Simba leaves home and is more or less adopted by Timon and Pumbaa, a male meerkat and a male warthog who live together as a couple in the jungle. In the y film, the actor Nathan Lane supplied the voice of Timon in much the same style as his flamboyantly gay character in The Birdcage. Or consider Pee-wee's Playhouse. Pee-wee Herman skips around and becomes obviously infatuated with other male characters who conform to gay stereotypes. While parents may pick up this homosexual evidence, kids aren't likely to. To them, Timon, Pumbaa, and Pee-wee are just goofy characters. On The Simpsons, Smithers, the bow tie wearing man who trails around after Mr. Burns, has become increasingly gay. According to the writers of the show, Smithers was originally just a psychopath in love with the boss. But lately he has taken to cruising college campuses in his Miata, looking for "recruits." It isn't strange for anyone, including Falwell, to notice these hints, inferences, and references. But it is ridiculous to object to them. There's no scientific or psychological basis for believing that children are affected in their sexual development or their eventual sexual orientation by exposure to homosexuality-on television or in real life Anyway, on the religious side, this battle is pointless because the war is already lost. Gay themes are everywhere. For example, Pee-wee's Playhouse runs every day on the Fox Family Channel just a couple of hours ahead of The 700 Club.

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