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Friday, June 15, 2007

Laa Laa politicians

From Day and Night magazine in today's Irish Independent

As our recent General Election taught us, you really would have to be mad to be a politician. Sometimes, however, politicians prove to us just how mad they can be.

Take the latest development from Poland's frighteningly entertaining right-wing government. Ewa Sowinska, the State-appointed children's rights watchdog, wants the Teletubbies banned from Polish TV because the show seems to promote homosexuality.

Ewa was gravely concerned because the male Tinky Winky was seen carrying a purse, which apparently "may have a homosexual undertone". That's because gays carry purses, you see (at last! The excuse I've been waiting for!). Ewa's even recruited psychologists to assess the pink threat posed by the foursome.

The whole thing would be funny, if it wasn't sad and sad if it wasn't funny (as an aside, if the Teletubbies are guilty of promoting anything, it's drugs, seeing how surreal and trippy the whole show is).

Of course, this isn't the first time that kiddie's entertainment has been subject to our modern pink witch-hunts. March of the Penguins and SpongeBob Squarepants have also been attacked recently by evangelical right-wingers in the US for supposed gay leanings.

But seriously folks, relax. A lot of popular kids entertainment caries allegorical messages, some of which, admittedly, could be perceived as gay readings. To pick some recent examples, just look at Shrek (where Princess Fiona must conceal her true self) and both A Shark's Tale and Happy Feet (where a kid is rejected by disappointed parents and peers for being 'different'). Most comic book adaptations, from Spiderman to X Men, are also loaded with gay subtexts.

But if double meanings are present, they're not designed as part of some insidious plot to corrupt children's minds or push some agenda down their throats. If anything, it's the opposite.
For the most part, these kids' shows and movies simply communicate messages of tolerance, acceptance and being true to yourself — all pretty destructive and harmful things for kids to learn, I think you'd agree.

But why teach kids to be open-minded when you can further your political career by making them fear the Teletubbies instead? Politics is really just Laa Laa, isn't it?

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