OK, this one was really difficult to watch. Picture it. The View, Monday, February 18. Joy Behar brings up the topic of this children’s book (which is based on a true story) about two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who were given an egg (by the zookeepers) to take care, of because the parent-to-egg ratio that year was off.
The background of this story goes back a few years to 2005. I knew about the controversy only on the fringe. The television show “Wil and Grace” did an episode that referenced the two male penguin issue. But the topic came up again today, I think, because a brand new BAN on this book just happned recently in Virginia.
The conservative right (not limited to Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Edgar B. Hatrick) banned the book because it wasn’t “developmentally appropriate” (translation – too gay) for children.
On “The View”, Sherri Shepherd supported that decision and said that due to the “way she was raising her son”, she would not allow him to be exposed to this book. She also used words like “not appropriate” and “not in line with how I am raising my son” or “teaching my son”.
As Joy and Whoopi pointed out, this is a true story. It is a story about “helping out your loved ones” when they need help. It is a story about “caring” and “community”.
The white elephant in the room was the word “GAY”. As ususal, right wing conservatives manipulate the facts and make this about “THE HOMOSEXUALS”. Elisabeth Hasselbeck (yup, she’s still around) said that maybe this book would be appropriate if or when your children start to ask questions about “two daddies”, but you shouldn’t push information down your children’s throats that they are not ready for.
READY FOR????. So your kids aren’t ready for the fact that love makes the world go around and when people you love need help, you pitch in and do what you can. Wow. I’m not sure I even know how to respond to that.
I have not read the book. Supposedly in the end of the book, the fact that these two male penguins love each other comes up. Now, the two penguins don’t star in Brokeback Mountain 2 – The Ice Years, they don’t have a civil union ceremony, they don’t have posters of the Villiage People on the wall of their igloo or a rainbow pattern on the sheets of their ice bed. It is just mentioned that these two male penguins, who raised this egg together, because they had to pitch in to help the flock, and were successful in hatching a healthy baby penguin, cared about each other.
If that is not “developmentally appropriate” and if you don’t want to teach your child about love, or caring for your family, friends, and neighbors, or commitment, or the fact that love comes in many forms, then what do you want to teach your children.
How about you teach them to lie to the world if you want to go to war. How about you teach them that it is OK to torture people as long as you call it something else and don’t get caught. How about you teach them that it is OK to be an alcoholic, as long as you don’t drink anymore and don’t get help for your addiction. How about you teach them that if you don’t serve your country but want people to think you did, you can just bury the paperwork and lie about it.
If I were a right wing conservative, I would certainly teach my kids about penguins because penguins would be so much like us. We wear a tuxedo, but it’s all a facade.