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Good Morning Nanty Glo!

Wednesday, February 2 2005

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

More thoughts on 'interference'

First there was the hubhub in last week's press coverage over SpongeBob. It wasn't really about SpongeBob, but that's the way many newspapers and news websites headlined it. Some reports accused "evangelical leaders" of labelling SpongeBob (the animated creature at the center of a children's TV show) gay. The evangelical leaders sent out press releases and showed up on the TV newstalk outlets that would have them to counter the charge, calling it ludicrous.

But Dr. James Dobson, the evangelical leader most often cited in those earlier press accounts, and spokespersons for the American Family Association clarified their stance by saying there was mischief afoot: SpongeBob, along with beloved characters in other children's shows on PBS, Nickelodeon, and other channels were being featured in a special "We Are Family Foundation" program promoting tolerance that is scheduled to be given free to 61,000 elementary schools across the nation under the sponsorship of several liberal socio-political interest groups this spring. And though the evangelical spokespersons said tolerance is a commendable social goal, the curriculum materials being sent out advocate tolerance not only toward racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, but also sexual minorities —gays and lesbians, of course (what other "sexual minorities" are there—well, on second thought, don't answer that).

And high in the headlines every day these days is the Michael Jackson trial in Santa Barbara County (still at the jury-selection stage) on charges that he's acted inappropriately with children whose parents sent their kids to Jocko's ranch to play. Just about every day these days we hear also about a public school teacher having a baby with one of her students, or vice versa, and a recently released study claims that as many as one in ten public school children have been sexually "interfered with" (to use Frank McCort's most apt word for it) by one or more of those being paid to educate and protect them.

Yesterday, as reported widely and in a press release I published in this space, PBS announced it was cancelling an episode of its childen's cartoon series, "Postcards from Buster" after a storm of protest from parents and PBS subscribers erupted over an episode, "Sugarland," about a little girl whose parents are two lesbians, based on a real little girl and her "two mommies."

Different slices of the national demographic pie represent different reasons for finding all the back stories for each of these controversies objectionable. I think the most common denominator among such objections, and the most legitimate, is that adults who "sexualize" children young enough to be innocent of even the meaning of sex are guilty of exploiting them and of truly "interfering" with the basic meaning of their childhood. Introducing six- and seven-year-olds in public school classrooms to gay couples as background on a CD featuring their favorite TV pals, is in a small way part and parcel with what too many priests have done to too many altar boys and kids in their charge in church-sanctioned children's programs, and which has done untold damage to the churches; and experts estimate that the sexual interference with children in public schools is many-times-over more widespread than its counterpart in the churches.

Every few months it seems necessary to stop and say again: No one has the right to sexualize a child, and anyone who does so, even in the name of "toleration" and other good values, must be held accountable.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Classic Hollywood Squares, 9

If you remember The Original Hollywood Squares and its comics, this will bring a tear to your eyes. These great questions and answers are from the days when "Hollywood Squares" game show responses were spontaneous! Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course.

Q. While visiting China, your tour guide starts shouting "Poo! Poo! Poo! What does this mean?

A. George Gobel: Cattle crossing.

Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?

A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused but it certainly isn't neglected.

Thought for today

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.

Benjamin Disraeli  

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