I suppose this sort of thing shouldn’t surprise me – or anyone else (see link above). But I have to say that the topic of Bert and Ernie getting married sort of threw me off kilter for a bit. I realize that there is a lot of talk going around about the government staying out of the bedroom, but I had no idea that the topic of sexuality has entered into a somewhat safe, clean and perhaps to some extent sacred place – Sesame Street.
Do we really have to sexualize every relationship? Does sex really have to be included in every conversation? Have people really wondered if Bert and Ernie were gay? Did a group of folks really sign a petition and send it to the powers that be at PBS requesting that Bert and Ernie get married? Apparently. (http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2011/08/bert_ernie_gay_married.php)
This just brings up more questions for me – but then I suppose that some of the thinking was that if Bert and Ernie got married it would help to support the notion of marriage equality. But seriously – Bert and Ernie? That’s going to help push it forward? Really? Characters from Sesame Street?
Or perhaps an underlying thought is more about normalizing the concept of gay marriage for a whole new generation of kids within the U.S. That’s equally disturbing. Since when has it become okay for such highly charged political issues to be mainstreamed to children especially when it deals with sexuality – especially the kids who watch Bert and Ernie? Why is it okay to even go there?
There is a right time and a good time for children to learn about sexuality. Unfortunately for many parents the topic is coming at their children from a range of directions – before kids are even old enough to comprehend. Parents have to be diligent and not fearful. We do have to prepare our children – but things need to be age appropriate and in a timely manner. But Bert and Ernie? Is that appropriate? Who thought that was a good idea to create that petition?
Fortunately the creators were wise enough to dodge that bullet. But it is pretty incredible that the question would even be brought up. I think it shows something – and something not so great about our culture.
I think we have a problem – a huge problem. I think it is growing and will most likely continue to grow. We’ve all known for a long time that our country has a huge preoccupation with sex. We can’t turn on the TV, go to a movie, read a magazine, or even listen to some music and radio stations – without being blasted by all sorts of images and messages. I think those things are really beginning to take a toll.
In a recent lecture I heard a disturbing reality for some counseling interns. In the last five years the number one issue that they have seen is sexual addiction – usually but not always in the form of addiction to pornography. A great number of these folks were in their early to late 20’s. Some of them were newly married and their spouses discovered the addiction within the first year.
There are a lot of young men and women who are broken and wounded, hurting, who are struggling with all sorts of issues and problems related to sex. It takes on a lot of different forms – but these folks are struggling to get control of something in their lives. Many of them are responding to some sort of hurts from deep in their lives – they go to sex for help and healing. But they will not find it there. But our culture keeps putting it out there.
And now – now we have some folks who thought it would be a good idea to get Bert and Ernie married. That’ll fix everything. That’ll make the next generation stronger and better people. Our culture is already awash with young men and women who are struggling to understand just what it means to be mature – to be human – so let’s complicate things a bit more for the next group of kids and start talking about sexual identity when they don’t even know their alphabet yet. Yes – that makes sense…
I suppose it really shouldn’t surprise me that a group of folks thought it would be a good idea for Bert and Ernie to get married. What surprises me is that for some reason they actually thought they might be gay. That’s sort of a surprise. When did hand puppets become sexual? Is there a connection between the overly sexed up aspect of our culture that led to that sort of thinking? Who does that? Who spends time thinking and working that out?
Nevertheless, this is our culture. This is the way things are. I don’t see us going back to some other and we’d be wise – very wise to prep ourselves for what it is going to be like in 10 years. We ought also to prep our sons and daughters too. They are going to be the ones that have to help our grandchildren. God help us.