Friday, January 21, 2005

Getting a Grip

I grew up in a very religious home. I was not allowed to watch the Muppets, Sesame Street, the Smurfs, and any other number of children's shows, due to their "hidden agenda." Mind you, I could watch the exceedingly violent Roadrunner and Coyote, Sylvester plotting to murder Tweetie Bird, and the idiotic Elmer Fudd trying to obliterate the hero of the story, Bugs Bunny. But the Muppets and Sesame Street were promoting multiculturalism (God forbid) and homosexuality (you know that Bert and Ernie). And the Smurfs were promoting the worship of Satan, due to Gargamel's potions and spells. Let me tell you something, especially you over-sensitive parents: KIDS DON'T GET IT. They don't see hidden agendas, subtle messages, etc. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't monitor what they watch - they will model what they see. But I would be more concerned with violence and sexual posturing than supposed/imagined messages of a socio-political nature, like alternative lifestyles, multiculturalism, etc. But not one of them will think Bert or Ernie is sexually alternative - they have close friends that they sleep in bed with too! They don't have the skills, or the interest, in more complicated concepts - their interest in social/political issues is non-existant at a young age. That develops later, and by then, you should have done your job as parents by raising them with the morals and values you want them to follow. So here we have more idiocy, coming from, of all sources, James Dobson. I respect Mr. Dobson, and admire his determination to encourage healthy families, even if I often disagree with him. However, he is starting to remind me of the ever-annoying Jerry Falwaell. Apparently Sponge Bob is promoting the gay lifestyle in a video that was created to send to public school (not to mention in the daily cartoon show, he holds hands with the lobster character and watches some adventure cartoon with two male lead characters). Dobson claims that it suggests that students take a tolerance pledge, including tolerating those with different sexual identities. The makers of the video deny this accusation, saying that the video promotes multiculturalism in a world post 9/11. I'm sorry - did I miss something here? What the hell is wrong with promoting tolerance? Tolerance does not mean acceptance. But whether or not you agree with someone's sexual choices does not mean you should not be tolerant. It is a free country, and we have free will, given to us by the God Dobson serves. Even if this is the goal of the video, who cares? You should be tolerant, and civil, even when you disagree with people. Teaching children to hate or to be intolerant is hopefully not the goal of Mr. Dobson. If parents are doing their job and raising their children with the morals and values the parents believe in, children will not be fooled by any hidden agendas. They will take their questions to their parents, learn how to differentiate and define their beliefs, and be stronger defenders of what they believe. To make them paranoid about Sponge Bob or other harmless characters is ridiculous. Stop trying to teach fear and start teaching them how to reason and rely on themselves for their decisions. Otherwise they'll live in fear and be unable to make the right decisions for themselves. Side note: I understand the point of what Mr. Dobson is doing. Most fundamental Christians believe that homosexuality is sinful. But if you are going to object to something, be honest about your objection. Don't call it brainwashing or claim a hidden agenda. Just admit what you think and let the brick fall as they may. Tolerance is not the issue. By objecting to the promotion of tolerance, Mr. Dobson sounds as though he wants to promote hatred, which I doubt. His issue has to do with the legitimizing of something he sees as evil, and he just needs to admit it, and run on that platform. Stop hiding behind things - he ends up sounding like a wacko, instead of a concerned pastor.