May 22, 2013

Triangles Turn You Gay: The Teletubbies

The Big Bad of the 1980s and 1990s was Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority in 1979 with a fundamentalist Christian agenda: they were against liberalism, modernism, minority religions, the New Age, abortion, sex, feminists, women's rights, yada yada yada.

Actor Richard Paul made a good living playing shrill, bigoted Jerry Falwell lookalikes on everything from Eight is Enough to WKRP in Cincinnati.  His Rev. Billy Joe Bickerstaff was especially shrill as a regular on Hail to the Chief (1985), fomenting outrage over the female President (Patty Duke) and her wastrel son (future soap hunk Ricky Paull Goldin, left)

Jerry Falwell screamed loudest about the ranks of "Violent, God-hating, clinically insane, militant homosexuals" who were scheming to spread  AIDS, destroy the family, kill children, and basically destroy civilization.

The "militant homosexuals" were working behind the scenes to orchestrate every social problem, from crime to unemployment, and every tragedy, from Jonestown to 9/11.

And, since you could turn gay just by hearing that it exists, they increased their ranks by introducing subtle brainwashing into dozens of movies, books, and tv shows, especially those aimed at juveniles .  So Rev. Falwell and his minions carefully scanned every frame of Saved by the Bell, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Full House and screamed super loud when they found something.

Fortunately, he never noticed same-sex romance, no matter how blatant.  He was looking for the word "gay," or, since he thought that all gay people were limp-wristed pansies and jackboot-wearing dykes, gender-atypical mannerisms.  Thus, the romance between Zack and Slater (Mark Paul-Goesselaer, Mario Lopez) on Saved by the Bell was no problem, but just let Slater don an "effeminate" leotard and take up modern dance, and the howls of outrage began.

The nadir of Falwell's obsession with "pansies" on children's tv came in 1998, when he scrutinized Teletubbies (1997-2003), a British series about four preverbal alien toddlers.  He noticed that the largest Teletubby, Tinky Winky, was purple -- the gay color!  And had a triangular antenna -- the gay symbol!  And carried a handbag -- a pansy!

The producers denied that they were trying to brainwash kids into becoming pansies.  Tinky Winky was even interviewed on a talk show, where he said "No -- not gay."  These preverbal alien toddlers were heterosexual!

If Falwell had done a little more research, he might have discovered that the gay pride symbol is a pink triangle, the color is lavender, not purple, and gay men don't typically carry handbags.


Even his most rabid followers found this "threat" ridiculous.

Jerry Falwell died in 2007, but the homophobic scrutiny of children's media continues, to ensure that millions of gay kids grow up thinking they are utterly alone in the world.