Thursday, February 03, 2005

Another battle in the Culture Wars

Here's an excellent article from Salon.com that puts the "Buster" controversy into historical context.

Spellings' angry letter to PBS about a children's show, designed to introduce different types of families to children, that had a marginal role for a lesbian couple, is actually part of a larger pattern of intimidation by Republicans. And PBS is not alone. The NEH and the NEA regularly are threatened with funding cuts if they don't toe the party line. And you know which party line I'm talking about. (Clue: it's the party of reactionary social policies, repression, and intolerance.)

But Spellings' direct appeal was momentous.

"I don't think we've ever been contacted by a Cabinet secretary about anything, let alone a particular [children's] episode," [PBS Senior VP John] Wilson says.


And it was her second day on the job. If this is a sign of things to come, she's going to be an awful Secretary.

Amidst all the hoopla over Bustergate, this is the first article I've seen that really goes in depth to put the incident into the larger context of the culture wars. PBS caving is a loss for those who advocate tolerance and acceptance of gay couples. But I guess we're getting used to losing lately.

3 Comments:

Blogger EdWonk said...

Agree. I've posted on this myself. For the most part, I like Spellings, but I think that it would have been much more constructive if she had found a more important "target" with which to concern herself during these vital first days on the job.

The image of the Secretary of Education swatting "Buster The Bunny" has supplied an abundence of joke-fodder for a variety of sites. (Including us at the 'Wonks.)

11:23 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

Frankly, Ms. Spellings did the right thing. Some one with a bold voice has to watch the gate so PBS does not create a broadcasting malfunction, and violate its trust with the general public. This happens when PBS listens to certain groups and inserts questionable material into the mainstream, material with explicit pro-gay, pro-lesbian sentiments that are measured to "test" the viewing audience. Talk about appeasing those who fund PBS programming, here is a good example! This is all part of a constant and insidious attempt to insert so-called "progressive" or "cutting-edge" issues into the public arena through otherwise respected programming. One can humor and belittle the incident over Buster, and make professional people look ridiculous. But it is no more ridiculous than those professionals who calculate and then stoop to use children's programming to sneak in their new social agenda. Why not call it another attempt at child abuse! Spellings is right because one has to take the fight to where the battle arises! The education of children is always a vital arena of moral interest and development. Given the power and influence of image-media today to shape ideals in families, schools and other community agencies, we should expect the oversight and inspection to increase as well. It is not what you expect, but what you inspect, that finally seems to make a difference in maintaining a basic moral standards in the media today. Therefore, hats off to the Secretary of Education for nipping in the bud harmful programming in our culture that others are trying to plant and cultivate. That is the kind of practical and personal results the majority of parents and families look for to be done among all the other educational matters at hand!

10:20 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

Frankly, Ms. Spellings did the right thing. Some one with a bold voice has to watch the gate so PBS does not create a broadcasting malfunction, and violate its trust with the general public. This happens when PBS listens to certain groups and inserts questionable material into the mainstream, material with explicit pro-gay, pro-lesbian sentiments that are measured to "test" the viewing audience. Talk about appeasing those who fund PBS programming, here is a good example! This is all part of a constant and insidious attempt to insert so-called "progressive" or "cutting-edge" issues into the public arena through otherwise respected programming. One can humor and belittle the incident over Buster, and make professional people look ridiculous. But it is no more ridiculous than those professionals who calculate and then stoop to use children's programming to sneak in their new social agenda. Why not call it another attempt at child abuse! Spellings is right because one has to take the fight to where the battle arises! The education of children is always a vital arena of moral interest and development. Given the power and influence of image-media today to shape ideals in families, schools and other community agencies, we should expect the oversight and inspection to increase as well. It is not what you expect, but what you inspect, that finally seems to make a difference in maintaining a basic moral standards in the media today. Therefore, hats off to the Secretary of Education for nipping in the bud harmful programming in our culture that others are trying to plant and cultivate. That is the kind of practical and personal results the majority of parents and families look for to be done among all the other educational matters at hand!

10:20 AM  

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