MUPPET BABIES

Don’t Read This Article! The Bert & Ernie Hullabaloo is Taking Over!

We’re calling codswallop on this whole “Bert and Ernie should get married” fiasco.

Chicago musician and gay rights activist Lair Scott uploaded a petition on Change.org the other day, suggesting beloved Sesame Street regulars Bert and Ernie should come out as gay.   That’s it.

He didn’t demand they get married.  (“We would like PBS and Sesame Street to allow them to live as a gay couple and maybe eventually, marry.”)

He wasn’t representing  HRC or Equality Illinois—and certainly not the larger the LGBT community on any official scale.  The petition is not endorsed by… well, anyone.

Scott didn’t even spellcheck the darn thing.

So why did Time, ABC news, CBS Miami, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Good Day New York, Queerty (yea, we’ll call ourselves out) and dozens of other major news outlets report the crap out of this non-story? And why did Sesame Workshop feel the need to send out a press release statement clarifying Bert and Ernie as “best friends” with “no sexual orientation.”

Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress writes, “I think it’s actively unhelpful to gay and straight men alike to perpetuate the idea that all same-sex roommates, be they puppet or human, must necessarily be a gay couple… Having close, affectionate friendships with another man doesn’t mean that you two are sleeping together.”

Wow, you are thinking into this waaay too much.

Maybe it’s been a slow news week (not really) or maybe this nugget fit too perfectly with the many real marriage-equality stories. Or maybe the media just wants to scare parents (always good for circulation).

But with about 1,300 signatures as of August 12th at 2:55 EST, the petition isn’t exactly reaching critical mass. Children are hardly in danger of being entranced in a mirror ball haze of homosexuality the way the mainstream outlets would have you believe.  (Then again, ABC News claimed yesterday that it was at 1,600 signatures. Liars.) And of course the anti-gay cronies are jumping all over this as a prime example of the ever-threatening gay agenda. (The Christian Post inflates the number to 4,000 signatures—won’t somebody think of the children?!?)

The point is, this is a non-story. Maybe Scott was foolish or wrongheaded to make such a suggestion—but are we going to censor ourselves for fear the religious right might jump on our every musing?

Every additional word we write about this story makes us feel like hypocrites, so we’ll end it with this:

Don’t we have better things to squawk about?

 

Image via Creative Commons

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15 Comments

  • Sesame Fan

    Rosenberg must not watch the show… B & E really do sleep together, well, in the same room. I mean, hey, are they just the best friends ever, or what?

  • Steve Zlick

    I’ve thought about this too much myself. I think the Petition was cute, but unwittingly (perhaps) makes a larger point – that the Sesame Workshop could use this opportunity to foster kids’ understanding that there are different types of families – ya know, the kind of thing Sesame Street used to do to foster tolerance of different folks back in the days when it wasn’t afraid of its own shadow. The Workshop didn’t do itself any favors when it insisted puppets and Muppets don’t have sexual orientation – when clearly many Muppets do – including some who’ve appeared on Sesame Street. So the Petition itself was goofy – but I think the things unearthed about the current state of Sesame Street are not.

  • Mark

    Yeah its a non-story, but a damn funny non-story.

    As for the press release: “Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.
    Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation”

    Someone needs to tell Kermit and Miss Piggy that puppets do not have a sexual orientation.

  • Jim

    “So why did Time, ABC news, CBS Miami, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Good Day New York, Queerty”
    I see what you did there…

  • Anthony

    c’mon! They are not gay! They don’t sleep in the same bed! And what gay guy have you seen with such poor fashion sense? Plus their apartment, what gay NYC couple, together for 42 years would have such a bare bones, undecorated place? After all that time they’d have custom designed it from top to bottom and filled it with antiques…

    Now, the Count and has dandy, fancy self… That’s a whole different story…

  • Xtincta

    Lucy and Ricky didn’t sleep in the same bed either, yet Little Ricky happened just sayin’

  • Kieran

    If Sesame Street wants to present role models for gay kids they can always invite Ricky Martin, his partner and their two children on the show for a segment on families. I doubt the gay community needs or wants idiotic puppets like “Bert and Ernie”, “Kermit the frog” or “the Grouch” to represent gay men to impressionable kids.

  • neddy

    so which one’s the top??

  • Codswallop

    If you’ve never seen it here’s “Ernest and Bertram,” a very funny (yet oddly touching) mash-up of Bert and Ernie with Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TeNdsoCIgc

  • Little Kiwi

    They’re even talking about it up in Canada, but typically of Canada they seem to think an LGBT presence on Sesame Street is a GOOD thing.

    YAY CANADA!

    http://youtu.be/WRCbZURza5c

  • Cam

    @neddy:

    Ernie, Bert seems like a bossy bottom.

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  • Lair Scott

    I only created the petition to invite Sesame Street to include LGBT characters or real LGBT humans in its programming to teach tolerance and equality.

  • Lair Scott

    There was only one David and one Goliath. What have you done for your LGBT community today?

Comments are closed.