An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia
Exhibit 74: Our Cartoon Media Researchers
The Media Research Center freaks out every time an animated program refuses to hate the LGBT community as much as it does.
By Terry Krepel
The Media Research Center, as we know, hates the LGBT community and regularly attacks the appearance of LGBT issues in the media -- and even the mere existence of LGBT characters in TV shows. Needless to say, that hate also extends to animated TV shows, and it spends a lot of time outraged that cartoons refused to hate them as as much as the MRC does.
At the Media Research Center, the mere existence of non-heterosexual character in a children's cartoon makes it automatically unsafe for children to watch. Annie Piper explained in a April 29 post:
In this day and age, parents have to be extra cautious about what their kids watch as not all cartoons are actually kid appropriate. Fortunately, there are some innocent shows out there, but then there are shows that aren’t as innocent as they seem. One such show, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, proved to fall in the latter category when the first part of their second season debuted on Netflix on April 26.
And how is the show "pushing the gay agenda"? By acknowledging that one female character "has a crush" on another female character and that another character has two dads" (Piper sneered, "yes, that was plural"). Piper then lectured:
By now, we’re (unfortunately) used to most of the prime time adult shows having the requisite gay character and, more recently, even the gay child coming out has become popular on hit shows, but it seems like Hollywood isn’t content to stop there. They are now not only pushing this agenda on fictional kids, but actually pushing it to the children in their audiences, and it seems as though they’re hoping conservative parents don’t watch past the first couple of episodes. Moral of the story: if you don’t already, you might want to research your kid’s favorite shows a little more thoroughly.
Yes, acknowledging that gay people exist is an "agenda," according to the MRC.
The MRC similarly freaked out when a teacher on the long-running children's show "Arthur" married his gay spouse. Take it away, Gabriel Hays:
Some say that if a hero lives long enough, they’ll eventually see themselves become the villain. Well, that certainly can be said for PBS children's classic Arthur. The show, now in its 22nd season, has taken beloved character, Mr. Ratburn, and made him gay. In the season premiere, the 3rd grade teacher and male role model for Arthur and his gang said “I do” to a male anthropomorphic muskrat (or something) in a wedding ceremony attended by his students. As one character exclaimed, “It’s a brand new world.”
That's right -- if you're gay, you're a "villain," according to Hays. And Hays also apparently believes that the show arbitrarily "made [Mr. Ratburn] gay."
Hays went on to complain that the show dragged out the wedding ceremony "like some sort of grand reveal that ultimately feels insidious rather than celebratory," then sneers: "Let’s just say that Arthur has officially overstayed its welcome."
When a public broadcasting affiliate in Alabama refused to air the "Arthur" episode, the MRC rushed to its defense. Matt Philbin huffed that "the lefty Twitter mob is predictably enraged" by the decision to not air "federally funded gay propaganda," and Kyle Drennen complained that one discussion of the show refused to "acknowledge the controversy of using a kids cartoon show to push a liberal social agenda" and that "journalists immediately attack anyone who objects and demand that they 'celebrate' the effort."
So, showing that gay people exist is apparently "propaganda" and an "agenda." And there's no explanation from the MRC of why the existence of gay people must be suppressed from children.
Jorge Plaza served up his contribution to the narrative in a June 13 post:
Remember the days when you could plop your kid in front of the TV without worrying about lefty indoctrination? Well, those days are over. Yesterday, My Little Pony will premiere an episode featuring a lesbian couple on Saturday for Discovery Family. This is coupled with a tweet from the Cartoon Network celebrating Pride Month.
A depiction of a pony as non-heterosexual is "lefty indoctrination"? That's apparently what that is in MRC world.
But Plaza wasn't done ranting about non-hetero cartoons, taking aim at the Cartoon Network and "Steven Universe":
The extremely popular Cartoon Network sells LGBT-themed merchandise on their website including a pillow case that depicts a cartoon lesbian wedding. The image is a reference to an episode from “Steven Universe” where the female characters Rose Quartz (a pansexual) and Pearl get married and perform a sensual “fusion.”
Plaza concluded by huffing: "With shows like Steven Universe, it’s no wonder that 59% of Generation Z (those born from the mid-90s to mid-2000s) believe that there are more than two genders with only two-thirds identifying as exclusively heterosexual. If parents are not vigilant, childhood gender dysphoria will only worsen as cartoons teach kids to explore their sexuality.
So Plaza thinks cartoons are making people gay? What's his stance on soy?
Plaza conflated cross-dressing and transgenderism in an Aug. 8 post attacking yet another cartoon for depicting characters that aren't heterosexual:
Cross-dressing has been a running gag in cartoons since phenakistoscopes. But in 2019, it’s a super serious form of expression to promote “diversity and inclusion” in children’s TV shows.
The MRC has been doing this kind of anti-LGBT cartoon-bashing for a while. In a 2018 post, Karen Townsend was relieved to discover that Stewie didn't actually come out as gay on an episode "Family Guy": "So, despite the description by some in the press that this is a coming-out episode for Stewie, it really wasn’t. Also, remember that Stewie is in pre-school and drawn as a toddler. Sexualizing him at all is perverse." Townsend does know that this is a cartoon, right?
In 2016, Maggie McKneely had a finely honed freakout after learning that the Nickelodeon cartoon "The Loud House" would include a same-sex couple, declaring it to be part of an "agenda" to "indoctrinate children":
Variety excitedly wrote that the episode “makes no hoopla over the appearance of the married gay couple” and it’s “definitely not treated like a big deal.” Well, isn’t that the point? To make kids believe that it’s perfectly normal for their friends to have two dads? The Misters McBride, voiced by comedians Wayne Brady and Michael McDonald, are painted as being just like any set of heterosexual parents overprotective, goofy, and loving. They’re even health conscious, telling their son to avoid nuts, gluten, and sugar. See, kids? These guys are just like your parents.
The MRC even freaks out about a the most benign variant possible in the form of cross-dressing -- even when played for laughs, even though it's been a comedy trope since forever. When the Disney XD cartoon "Star vs. The Forces of Evil" had the main character cross-dress for a 2017 episode, NewsBusters blogger Matt Norcross could not find the humor in it:
Maybe the episode was done as a joke, similar to the cross-dressing jokes seen in the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. If that’s the case, so be it.
Does Norcross think that the "Looney Tunes" folks had a cross-dressing Bugs Bunny for the purposes of "social engineering"? He probably does.