A Jerry Falwell Fairy Tale
A stunned world learned earlier this week that: Jerry Falwell’s National Liberty Journal had published “Parents Alert: Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet,” alleging that the Teletubby Tinky Winky is intentionally being presented as a gay role model.
The “Alert” included such brazenly obvious “gay clues” as:
- “He is purple – the gay-pride color”
- “his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol”
- Tinky Winky, who is played by a male with a male voice, carries a red bag described by Falwell as a “purse”
In our household, we were both absolutely floored at Falwell’s latest. In my wildest dreams, I would never have dared hope for such a huge PR gaffe on Falwell’s part. I doubt he’ll ever live this down. The most bizarre part is this isn’t all a big prank. Falwell and his group are, well, serious about this.
All of it — the children’s British TV character, the triangular antenna, the color purple (it’s PINK, not purple, he couldn’t even get that right!) is so completely off the wall that Falwell, as he has done before, makes the flying saucer and conspiracy people look positively credible by comparison.
Nobody over the age of 6, except perhaps alert parents, had ever heard of Teletubbies — before Falwell. To take the cartoon character as the actual subject of this latest pogram, to take this “issue” at face value, boggles the mind. It has to be a mistake.
If you try to think like a crazy person, there has to be a reason for this. If stereotyped characteristics and symbols conjured up out of Salem were really the true measure of the sexual identities of kid’s cartoon characters, then they’re all as gay as Charles Pierce, every single one of them — and, as for Tweetie and Bugs, they’re the flaming Devines of the cartoon world.
As if sane, rational people worry about the “sexual orientation” presented by Bugs and his pals. Honestly…
What can we learn from this? Taking a cue from Hitler, one could fairly conclude that, with these folks, nothing’s sacred in the pursuit of gayness, not even kid’s cartoon characters.
Since there’s no rationality or predictability in Falwell’s arbitrary pronouncement, there’s a subliminal text message here that ordinary citizens can’t predict right and wrong. You can be blacklisted for utterly no reason at all, and it can happen to anybody — so we better keep our noses clean and not associate with those we’re told to shun.
Fortunately, not many folks are buying that, outside of loyal camp supporters and spokespersons. I’m glad Falwell attracted so much attention to himself with his latest encyclical. As for Tele-tubbies, whomever or whatever they may be, hooray for their stupid antennas and purple little bodies — even if they aren’t pink. If they make the kids laugh half as much as Falwell makes the grown-ups laugh, they must be carrying their weight in the world.
As for Tinky-Winky, there’s already reports that he’s front-runner nominee for Grand Marshall of San Framcisco’s Gay Day Parade this June.
It all boils down to something I think I first figured out years ago — the world pays far too much attention to the Falwell TV evangelist genre for its own good. In hoc sicko vinces.
Extra Credit: Teletubby gets votes to be grand marshal, 2/12/99
Miami Herald Online: “Thanks,
Jerry Falwell, for outing TeleTubby”,
by Leonard Pitts
unquoted material ©Alex Forbes, February 12, 1999
excerpted intro material from GLAAD
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