PBS has decided not to distribute the “Sugartown!” episode of the children’s animated series Postcards from Buster because it features a family with two female parents. Individual affiliate stations can decide for themselves whether or not to run the episode. You can find your local PBS station here; for me, it’s Oregon Public Broadcasting. They do run Postcards from Buster, but it appears they won’t be running “Sugartown!”. My letter:
I am writing to ask you to air the “Sugartown!” episode of “Postcards from Buster”, over which Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has created an absurd controversy. (I searched both the OPB site and the TV schedule and could not find evidence that you plan to run that episode.)
I am a PBS subscriber for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I believe I can rely on PBS to promote diversity and tolerance, and to be a voice for minority groups. This is particularly important in children’s programs. A hateful but vocal minority in this country would like to see broadcast media reflexively self-censoring all mention of gay issues. Please do not let that happen. Please continue to send, particularly to our children, a message of inclusion and tolerance. Please air “Sugartown!”.
Margaret Spellings is BushCo’s brand-new Secretary of Education. According to the LA Times, last Tuesday she wrote to PBS asking them to consider removing her department’s logo and returning public money spent on “Sugartown!”. Hatefilled nutjob and self-confessed dachsund abuser James Dobson thinks that’s just peachy, and his Focus Obsessively and Exclusively on the Straight, White, Evangelical Christian Family Foundation has provided a handy web form for use in patting Ms Spellings on the back. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I put it to better use:
Dear Ms Spellings,
I write to protest your recent complaints over the “Sugartown!” episode of the PBS children’s program “Postcards from Buster”. The positive portrayal of gay characters is in no way at odds with the educational goals that inform the public funding of such programming. According to the 2000 Census, same-sex couples make up about 1% of all US couples, and over 400,000 children live with same-sex parents. Gays and lesbians are a significant thread in the rich tapestry of American society, and the Education Dept should strongly support children’s programming which reflects that fact.
You wrote that “many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode”, and that is certainly true. Those parents are (perhaps unwittingly) harming their children, who will only suffer by taking on a regressive and intolerant outlook. It is not the job of the Education Dept to reinforce the preferences (or prejudices) of any particular group of parents. Rather, the nation relies on you to ensure that programs like “Sugartown!” are available to parents who want their children to value diversity and tolerance.
So, where did I hear about all this? SpeakSpeak, a website (and a 501(c)?) for those of us who are fed up with the lunatic fringe dominating public discourse:
SpeakSpeak will campaign for those of us who feel we