Vital Signs

SpongeBob and a Transgendered Sock Puppet

Cultural debate over sex roles has reached such a fever pitch that even the sexual preference of the children’s cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants has become a topic of great concern.

Conservative religious broadcaster Dr. James Dobson expressed alarm that a new educational campaign to tout “tolerance” and “diversity” was employing the images of SpongeBob, Big Bird, and Barney, among others.  The We Are Family Foundation, which is distributing a video to schools, has included materials equating sexual practice with race and “gender,” arousing Dobson’s suspicions.

Dobson’s alarm was portrayed by the media as an “outing” of SpongeBob, who, as a cartoon and as a sponge, presumably has neither a sex nor an active sexual life.  The episode was similar to one involving Jerry Falwell several years ago.  His ministry’s newspaper carried an article citing homosexual groups that claimed the Teletubbies character Tinky Winky as one of their own.  The seemingly male Tinky carries a purse and has an upside-down triangle (a symbol of “gay” pride) on top of his head.

“Falwell Outs Tinky Winky,” chortled a hundred newspaper headlines.

Of course, Dobson, like Falwell before him, tried to explain, but it was useless.  It’s a story too delicious to ignore, true or not: Mean Religious...

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