Features
9.19.18: a rebel alliance of quality content
our facebook page our twitter page intrepid media feature page rss feed
FEATURES  :  GALLERYhover for drop down menu  :  STUDIOhover for drop down menu  :  ABOUThover for drop down menu sign in

ridiculous on the right
why i may have to invite sponge bob into our home
by anya werner
1.21.05
pop culture


When my daughter got old enough to really get interested in TV shows... I previewed shows that looked appropriate or in which she expressed interest. How did she learn about shows? Sometimes it was from a commercial, but often it was from a friend or a picture in a store, on a t-shirt, or wherever.

Early on, after watching an episode of it with my pre-teen niece, I declared our house a Sponge Bob-free zone. Why? Because I think he is rude. We're exposed to enough rudeness and I felt we could live a long happy life without Sponge Bob in our home.

However, after today's news I may have to rethink my position. The conservative Mississippi-based American Family Association has condemned Sponge Bob, not for his rudeness, but because he is pro-gay. HUH?

The assertion is due to a "tolerance pledge" on a website for a video that included Sponge Bob. People with too much time on their hands have pondered Sponge Bob's sexual preferences for the last couple years, despite the creator stating that the wacky character is an assexual individual. The new suggestion says that the character has a pro-gay agenda and suggests parents boycott the show and associated merchandise. The charges are almost as ludicrous as the suggestion that the beloved muppets Bert and Ernie are gay since they share a bedroom.

But what if Sponge Bob, Bert and Ernie are gay? So be it. Let them have their sexual identities. Let them pursue the sex they prefer and more power to them.

And, for my part I may have to let my daughter watch Sponge Bob as a show of support for his animated right to do what he pleases in the privacy of his own ocean.



ABOUT ANYA WERNER

A thirty-something, freelance writer, Anya Werner hides behind a mask of normalcy in a place where most people are stranger than she is--California.

more about anya werner




COMMENTS

dan gonzalez
1.21.05 @ 11:54p

I question the sanity of this country. The dems continue to push values clarification, which is nothing but their own morally authoritative agenda, into public school curricullum. and the only people who get any press for arguing it are religious freaks. It's like the blind debating the deaf.

No, that's an insult to differently abled people. It's just the stupid debating the stupid. Someone needs to slap the crap out of the left and the right and get them the hell out of our schools.

tracey kelley
1.21.05 @ 11:58p

Yes indeed, heaven forbid we teach love, respect, understanding and kindness, because surely GAWD doesn't want that.

dan gonzalez
1.22.05 @ 12:20a

Yeah, well, it's an asinine, uncalled-for protest to an asinine, uncalled-for waste of instructional time.

robert melos
1.22.05 @ 12:59a

Why are we teaching our children with music videos? For the mucis videos I see on VH1, MTV, MTV2, FUSE and several other music video channels, all the videos are designed for short attention spans, and either promote big booty, or getting all the booty you can, or turning into an animated superhero while kicking the butts of your ex-boyfriend's new girlfriends.

I guess music videos are the equivalent of Bugs Bunny Cartoons. Our education system needs more than a no child left behind program, it needs the overhaul Bush is planning for Social Security. Not that we should forget the needs of the elderly, but lets do something about the real educational needs of the youth.

I am having a hard time understanding when tolerance became bad. Is it simply tolerance of homosexuals that is bad? Because if that's the case, there are a lot of things heterosexuals have done and still do that is a greater abomination and more scarring to the children's psyche than any homosexual has done to date.

dan gonzalez
1.22.05 @ 1:17a

Is it simply tolerance of homosexuals that is bad?

I have no idea what the AFA is saying, they sound like raging idiots to me.

The bad thing about the video, in my mind, is teaching kindergarten-age kids any higher-order concept via a frickin' cartoon, and expecting them to get it, as opposed to breaking them into groups and having them accomplish something as a team.

If they can't learn tolerance via group activities, than I'd rather have my kid sit alone a in a fuckin' corner and fingerpaint than stare at a tv like a zombie with 12 other zombies and then have some teacher explain the half-assed moral of the story to him or her.

anya werner
1.22.05 @ 2:07a

The video didn't even target homosexuality. It addressed tolerance and diversity in general. The crackpot organization feels homosexuals should be exempt from tolerance and pointed to sponge bob as a gay icon. How a sponge can be gay, especially when he lives in "bikini bottom" is beyond me...

dan gonzalez
1.22.05 @ 1:39p

How a sponge can be gay, especially when he lives in "bikini bottom" is beyond me...

Russ posted some evidense on the boards, but it's not conclusive. ;-)

In any case, it's a ludicrous assertion and is irrelevant. That fact doesn't give any creedence to the disingenuous video itself though, which in my mind still should not be forced on captive audiences in 61,000 elementary schools. Once again, far right and left loons take their pissing match into our schools, and that's what's truly immoral to me. The fact that the words 'sexual identity' and 'elementary school' have even been paired up should be profoundly disturbing. Again, this is about left and right adults, and not kids, and the adults should be ashamed.

[edited]

lisa r
1.24.05 @ 12:10a

Obviously the nut case who came up with the concept that SpongeBob is gay missed the biology lecture on reproduction in sponges. Sponges reproduce by both asexual (budding) and sexual (the usual suspects) means. And good ole SpongeBob is more likely to be a hermaphrodite than gay. In other words, sometimes he's a he, and sometimes he's a she. And not just in the Dr. Frankenfurter sense, either. We're talking from the inside out.

If these ultraconservative fundamentalist noisy parkers would spend as much time on things that really matter as they do on tormenting people who don't fit their preconceived idea of what's acceptable, the world as a whole might be a better place. First Bert and Ernie, then Tinkie Winkie, and now SpongeBob. Who's next in their sights? Shaggy and Thelma from Scooby Doo?

Don't even get me started on Intelligent Design as scientific theory on the origins of life. I could (and might yet) write a whole article on the subject. Just let me survive my deadline on heat, first.

[edited]

robert melos
1.24.05 @ 12:55a

Lisa, Biology is a science, so of course these nut cases missed it. SpongeBob was created in 6 days along with everything else in the known universe.

Actually, I thought SpongeBob was a discarded kitchen sponge of the man-made fiber variety, but then I couldn't stand to watch the show for more than two minutes, so I'm probably wrong.

I don't get creationist theory as Intelligent Design. Have these people really stopped and looked at the world? If they had they would never call the design "intelligent."

lisa r
1.24.05 @ 6:57a

He does look like a kitchen sponge, but I think (and I'm not a Spongebob fan so I'm not positive) that's probably so kids have a frame of reference. Most kids have no clue what a sea sponge looks like.

Actually, looking at nature on a molecular level, it is quite intelligently designed. And as a scientist, I while I know that random reactions between elements to yield complex chemicals under the right conditions is completely possible, they are extremely slow to happen in the absence of catalysts. Plus, the sheer number that had to occur for vegetation and animals to develop is just too astronomically large for every one to be random. So I, and a lot of other scientists that I work with, believe there had to be a driving force guiding the whole process.

However, as you pointed out, Intelligent Design is Creationism re-packaged. And it has no place in a science classroom, for the simple reason that there is no proof other than the Bible to back it up. No proof, meaning no scientific proof. The big bang and evolution, on the other hand, while being theories rather than established fact, have scientific proof through the geological, physical, and life sciences to support them. And that's why evolution is (and should be) taught as science. It's not sheer coincidence that I could go into a laboratory in graduate school and use sheep antibodies to test cow blood for prolactin, a protein hormone. Nor is it sheer coincidence that for years diabetics used pig insulin before the process of recombinant DNA came along. Somewhere along the way, mammals were all related. They had to be--otherwise they wouldn't share so many basic characteristics and biochemicals, and we would not be able to classify them based on those characteristics.

The Intelligent Design flap in the news started here in Pennsylvania. There are 2 school systems that are teaching it. And since I'm sitting here with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Academic Standards in my hot little hands, I can tell you that Intelligent Design does not fit a single standard for scientific education in this state.

[edited]

dan gonzalez
1.24.05 @ 9:08a

Intelligent Design is a logical fallacy in that it argues from the negative, and also slippery slopes. Things (Life in particular) are too complex not to have a driving force, because it's mathematically impossible for DNA to have developed randomly in the time between the Big Bang and now, so it could not have occurred naturally. Therefore (and here's the leap) there must be a creator and hey look, we have one all lined up here, and on down the slope.

Correct me if I'm wrong, Red, but I thought true scientific theories had to be observably falsifiable?

lisa r
1.24.05 @ 8:40p

Meaning? Are you operating on the theory that theories are infallible? They aren't. They just hang around as long as no one comes up with something better that's supported by evidence. Remember, even Einstein's famous equation is still a theory, and not a law. Therefore, somewhere down the line, it could always be either disproven or tweaked. Most scientists have had their discoveries tweaked at one time or another, as technology reaches a level that some of these things can be tested conclusively.

Evolution is a theory precisely because no one will ever be able to prove it conclusively, thus it will never morph into the Law of Evolution. However, there is enough scientific evidence out there, through conservation of DNA, the fact that all plants and animals contain the same amino acids, have cell membranes made of the same things, etc., along with the evidence provided through carbon dating, that it's on sound scientific footing from a statistical standpoint.

However, there's never going to be a way of designing a scientifically and statistically sound test of Intelligent Design, therefore, it should not be taught as science. Nothing wrong with teaching it in religion or even ethics or sociology classes--it just doesn't fall under physical or life sciences.

As for my belief that something far more intelligent than I am came up with the idea for DNA, amino acids, RNA, and all the other biochemicals that make life as we know it run--I can only take so much coincidence, and that's borne of a deep scientific background. Not that every creature or plant turned out perfect--look at the platypus. Still, regardless of my belief that God (or Allah or the Great Spirit or "insert the deity of your choice here") had a hand in it, I would never consider teaching that in a science course. Neither gut instinct nor religious fervor qualify as proof positive. Personally, I see the story of Creation as being proven by evolution. I took enough Latin in high school and college to know that there's more than one way to interpret a lot of words in dead languages. Words involving time are at the top of the list. Sequentially, Creationism and Evolution match--it's the 6 days bit that everyone seems to stumble over. Who's to say that wasn't a bit of prosaic license on the part of the author of Genesis?


lucy lediaev
1.25.05 @ 2:43p

Not that every creature or plant turned out perfect--look at the platypus.

I think the platypus is perfect! He evolved to make us laugh.

dan gonzalez
1.28.05 @ 8:43p

Meaning? Are you operating on the theory that theories are infallible? They aren't

No.

However, there's never going to be a way of designing a scientifically and statistically sound test of Intelligent Design

Exactly what I was stumbling after. Like this.

tracey kelley
1.31.05 @ 11:24p

Obviously the nut case who came up with the concept that SpongeBob is gay missed the biology lecture on reproduction in sponges. Sponges reproduce by both asexual (budding) and sexual (the usual suspects) means. And good ole SpongeBob is more likely to be a hermaphrodite than gay. In other words, sometimes he's a he, and sometimes he's a she. And not just in the Dr. Frankenfurter sense, either. We're talking from the inside out.

Lisa is getting all sexy with the science again boys and girls! Whoo-hoo!

Actually, this is brilliant. Positively brilliant.




Intrepid Media is built by Intrepid Company and runs on Dash