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Thursday, January 20, 2005

You're Next, Peppermint Patty

I guess I scooped myself yesterday. Regardless, my comments about the gay character on "The Simpsons" applies just as much to this.

Furthermore, why do programs and videos such as this constantly escape my attention? Ah, yes -- because, unlike religious fundamentalists, my attention-span and intelligence have developed past a third-grade level -- and I don't spend my days watching cartoons.


US Right Attacks SpongeBob Video

US conservative groups are up in arms over a music video featuring children's TV heroes such as the cheerful cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.

Focus on the Family and other groups say the video -- a remake of the Sister Sledge hit, "We Are Family" -- is a vehicle for pro-gay propaganda.

The video's makers plan to mail it to U.S. schools in the spring to promote tolerance and diversity.

They say the attack is based on a misunderstanding.

The video also features children's favorites like Bob the Builder, along with characters from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

But James Dobson, founder of right-wing Christian group Focus on the Family, singled out SpongeBob at a black-tie dinner in Washington in the run-up to President Bush's inauguration, the New York Times said.

SpongeBob -- who appears on the children's cable channel Nickelodeon -- is seen as an icon for adult gay men in the US, apparently because he regularly holds hands with his sidekick Patrick.

His creators deny that he is gay, but he is not the first such character to cause controversy.

In 1999 conservatives claimed handbag-carrying Teletubby Tinky Winky, an import from the UK, was a bad role-model.

'Easy Lesson'


Nile Rodgers, who wrote the song and is founder of the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) which released the new video, says it is intended to help teach children the values of co-operation and unity.

"We believe that this is the essential first step to loving thy neighbor," he said. "And the fun and exciting format makes it a lesson that's easy for children to learn."

But conservatives say it sees the video as a cunning attempt to promote homosexuality.

They point to the fact that the WAFF is linked to a pledge being promoted by some liberal groups which includes a recognition of tolerance of sexual identity.

"We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids," Paul Batura, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, told the New York Times.

Mr. Rodgers said the groups may have confused his foundation with an unrelated organization with a similar name that supports gay youth.

WAFF spokesman Mark Barondeso told the newspaper that anyone who thought the video promoted homosexuality "needs to visit their doctor and get their medication increased."


Read the entire article here --> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4190699.stm

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