We watch... so you don't have to.

Now That You Mention It, Doesn't Huckleberry Hound Look Kind Of... You Know... Funny?

In this day and age of cynicism, of negativity, of downright orneriness, it's little wonder that Jerry Falwell -- a man of the cloth -- found himself hooted down last week. Falwell, you may recall, announced that after hours of exhaustive research, he had concluded that Tinky Winky, perhaps the most popular of the Teletubbies, was not the foursquare example of manhood and virility that he appeared to be. Instead, Falwell posited, Tinky Winky was an insidious attempt to inculcate Teletubbies' target audience -- average age: 18 months -- in the decadent ways of the homosexual lifestyle.

You would think that most people would be grateful that the right honorable reverend was willing to cast the cold, unblinking light of unvarnished truth upon the previously closeted Tinky Winky. You would think that they would rush to Lynchburg, Va., grab Falwell by the hand and say, "Thank you, Rev. Falwell. Thank you for exposing Tinky Winky and his Teletubby pals for the deviant monsters they truly are. Thanks to you, my infant children can grow up to be normal, productive members of society like Rock Hudson or Roy Cohn or even Liberace."

You would have thought that. But instead, the people laughed -- laughed! -- at what Jerry Falwell had to say.

"Silly minister!" the media elites and amoral libertines and their attendant flunkies all chortled. "Questioning the sexuality of a character in a children's TV program -- how deliciously absurd! Why, the next thing you'll be telling us is that The Banana Splits was an endorsement of the counterculture and that The Electric Company was little more than a veiled cry on behalf of the nationalization of our industries."

As if that wasn't obvious.

Oh yes, many laughed at Jerry Falwell. They stabbed at him with howls of derision and taunted him for his bulbous nose and growing paunch and seeming inability to string two words together without sounding like a total nincompoop. Yes, everyone had themselves a big ol' laugh at Jerry Falwell's expense.

Except for me. Because if you ask me, Jerry Falwell is spot on.

Consider the reverend's reasoning. Tinky Winky isn't red or blue or any of the other primary -- and therefore, heterosexual -- colors. He's purple. He wears a triangle on his head. He carries a purse. And he's always going around hugging people. Given these premises, Falwell concludes, Tinky Winky must be gay.

His logic seems ironclad to me.

For example, there's a gay fellow -- let us call him "Percifold" -- who lives in my apartment building. Every now and again, when I see Percifold around the complex -- I'm usually hiding in the bushes to prevent him from making an untoward pass at me -- he's wearing a purple shirt! The other night, when I was peering through his apartment window -- just for the purposes of this article, mind you -- I saw many items on his dresser and coffee table and breakfast nook in the shape of triangles! And while I have no direct proof, I'm certainly that "Percifold" owns many, many purses. If that doesn't make Tinky Winky gay, then I don't know what does.

The ramifications of a gay Teletubby are, frankly, almost too grim to contemplate. Think of Tinky Winky, gadding about Teletubby Land as he imposes his kinky worldview upon his unsuspecting compatriots. Will Dipsy be able to endure Tinky Winky's ceaseless chatter about Liza Minelli? Can Po accept Tinky Winky's invitation to go see a regional theatrical production of "My Fair Lady" secure in the knowledge that it's just an innocent night of showtunes and not something far more unspeakable? And what of the buggery? Oh God, the buggery!

That's why it's important -- nay, vital -- to know that Tinky Winky indulges in the love that dare not speak its name. And that's why Jerry Falwell and other like-minded guardians of the Republic must not rest on their laurels. Johnny Homosexual is a clever fellow, indeed, and not at all above turning a seemingly innocent children's show into Couple's Night at the Palladium. And then... chaos in the streets. The dissolution of the family. Lavish dance numbers as we high-kick our way to Gomorrah.

A careful study of the world of children's television reveals a rogue's gallery of lechers, reprobates and confirmed old bachelors. But how to distinguish the foppish from the merely prissy? We must train our minds to think like Jerry Falwell -- a difficult task, I realize, but one we simply must do. For the children's sake. For Dipsy's sake. For Jerry's sake.

  • Yogi Bear: The fact that Yogi eschews the company of a hot little number like Cindy Bear, instead to hang out with the decidedly affected Boo-Boo and the mincing Ranger Smith, is enough to raise an eyebrow. But consider this cruel taunt:Yogi Bear wears no pants. Smarter than the average bear? Try more gay than the average bear.

  • King Friday: Don't let his sham marriage deceive you. She is little more than this flamboyant king's "beard," giving him the cover to rule his kingdom free from the prying eyes of decent folk like you and me. And what kind of a world is King Friday's "magical" land? It's a licentious pit of moral turpitude, where black is white and night is day. It's the kind of topsy-turvy world where sick, unnatural things can happen, like an owl dating a cat and an androgynous man-woman running the local museum.

  • Shaggy from Scooby-Doo: Bad enough that Shaggy is something of a sissy when it comes to solving crimes. But when it comes time to split up, does he ever head off with the luscious Daphne or the oddly alluring Velma? No -- he hangs with the dog. Not like the fine, upstanding young man, Fred, who realizes that the choice between spending time with a sputtering canine or two lovely young ladies is really no choice at all. Of course, Fred does wear an orange ascot, and what self-respecting heterosexual male dons one of those?

  • Fred from Scooby-Doo: See above.

  • The Great Gonzo: While technically not gay, this muppet is having intimate relations with a chicken. And that's simply the wrong message to send to children.

  • The Smurfs: The loneliest person in Smurf Village? That would be Smurfette. Her little blue companions don't give her a second glance. Instead, they'd rather spend their time singing and prancing and trying to catch the eye of a "hot stallion" like Hefty Smurf. And why do you think they call him Hefty anyway? I have no idea either, but I'm sure it's some sort of homosexual code.

  • Big Bird: This deeply conflicted fowl is always spending his time making goo-goo eyes at older, wiser men -- Mr. Hooper, Oscar the Grouch, Mr. Snuffleupagus. Which would be innocent enough -- who wouldn't want to spend time around the learned and dashing Mr. Hooper? -- were it not for the fact that Sesame Street airs on PBS. Those wild bohemians at public television are always scheming for ways to assualt our traditional values! Just look at Washington Week in Review. Gay city.

  • Fred & Wilma Flintstone, Barney & Betty Rubble: The theme song says "We'll have a gay old time," doesn't it? Well, there you go.

  • Rocky & Bullwinkle: Like Ernie and Bert, Beanie and Cecil, Davey and Goliath, and Kukla, Fran and Ollie, these fast friends never leave one another's side. Could it be because they're carrying on a torrid and thoroughly unwholesome love affair? Perhaps not. But we'd better ban them anyway, just to stay on the safe side.

Clearly, Rev. Falwell has only scratched the surface of the problem. The level of surreptitiously gay cartoon characters has reached crisis proportions, and only eternal vigilance will hold the line against the excesses of the cultural elites.

Once we've beaten back this crisis, we'll be able to turn our attention to the other, more odious messages that are sneaking their way into programming aimed at our children. Messages that advocate public dancing, for instance, and those that undermine the institution of arranged marriages. And those cartoons that agitate on behalf of extending the right to vote and own property to women... man, those really get my goat!

And I know I'm not alone. The voices in my head, they're against the cartoons, too. Day and night, they shout at me, "Do something about the cartoons, Worm! When will you do something about the cartoons? Your mother never loved you! Now, get rid of those thrice damned cartoons!"

I'm sure Jerry Falwell feels the same way.


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