If I became as an adult the stories I heard as a child, I would today be a Bear of Very Little Brain who lives in a tree and eats nothing but honey.
Or, if the true pop culture formative years come a little further along in a child’s development, then I might today identify as a cross-dressing rabbit with a thick Brooklyn accent who eats nothing but carrots.
This is apparently the concern behind a letter Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee and four other members of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body have sent to a little-known group of busybodies with the Orwellian-sounding title of the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board.
They want those worthies to introduce a category of warnings that let parents know when their innocent darlings might come across a cartoon or a Disney Channel sitcom with a gay character in it.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens, Republican from Utah’s 4th Congressional District, describes public schools as dens of sexual entrapment.
“With school choice,” Owens wrote on Twitter, “parents who want adult strangers to co-parent and sexually groom their children can choose to stay in WOKE activist schools. Everyone else can send their children to schools that educate instead of indoctrinate.”
With school choice, parents who want adult strangers to co-parent and sexually groom their children can choose to stay in WOKE activist schools. Everyone else can send their children to schools that educate instead of indoctrinate https://t.co/4gjy1fRWBr— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) May 5, 2022
It’s another page from the modern fascist playbook. Sow doubt in a key public institution, engendering unwarranted fear of people who might be, or even accept, folks who are different than you are, as a way of misdirecting voters from the fact that you have absolutely nothing useful to offer them.
The power public schools and public school teachers apparently have to cloud children’s minds must be astounding. Which leaves one to wonder why our kids aren’t better at math and geography, if reaching into their brains is so simple.
Lee and Republican colleagues from Kansas, Indiana, Montana and North Dakota were apparently alarmed by a statement from an executive who works for Walt Disney expressing a hope to include in future programming more lead characters who identify as LGBTQIA. (That means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex and asexual or allies. I know it can be difficult sometimes, but do try to keep up.)
The five senators realize that just gay-baiting a global corporation, which has been friendly to lesbians and gay men for a long time, won’t raise the fear or ire it would have a generation or two ago. So they jump right over the threat to society posed by two men holding hands and raise a new specter.
“To the detriment of children, gender dysphoria has become sensationalized in the popular media and television with radical activists and entertainment companies,” the letter says. “This radical and sexual sensation not only harms children, but also destabilizes and damages parental rights.”
“Gender dysphoria” is psychiatrist-speak for the feeling a person has that they are not really the gender that they may appear to be or that is noted on their birth certificate. It can lead to a great deal of psychic and emotional pain and the solution, for many, is to become a transgender human being. A decision that is none of Mike Lee’s business.
The senators’ fear, apparently, is that some 7-year-old will see a transgender princess or a questioning Avenger on Disney+ and start pestering his or her parents for a sex-change operation. You know, the way TV convinces children that they absolutely, positively must have the latest toy or electronic gizmo they saw advertised or they will surely die.
We are, after all, tragically surrounded by pre-teens who have exposed themselves to showers of gamma radiation so they could become very large and very green. And by young people who encase themselves in tin cans, secure in the belief that they will then be able to fly.
Lee and Owens are promoting the current Republican-spread fear that someone you don’t know has the power to alter your children’s sexuality — something that is innate and not subject to whim or fad — just by being honest about the variety in the human condition. People who promote such garbage really ought not hold public office.
What is possible is that pop culture, teachers, friends, advertising and just generally decent human interactions might make it possible for people who are gay or lesbian or transgender — or so straight they sleep in a quiver — to be who they really are without fear of violence or discrimination.
That’s what at least two prominent members of Utah’s congressional delegation are worried about. And that’s really sad.
George Pyle, opinion editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, is demanding to know why he is not a Bear of Very Little Brain who lives in a tree and eats nothing but honey. Sounds like a good gig.