It was recently revealed that Mr. Ratburn from the PBS Show Arthur is gay by showing him marrying another male character. While I was one of the rare 90s kids who didn’t watch the show, I was happy to see a same-sex wedding be normalized on a children’s show. However, not everyone shares in my joy, as Sebastian Gorka, the former Deputy Assistant to Donald Trump, called the wedding an attack on American culture, according to the
On his show, “America First,” Gorka flew into a fit of apoplexy as he described his disgust with the wedding, calling it a “war for our culture” and explained that fighting against the ostensible war is the reason why “America First” exists. The episode itself is as innocuous as a houseplant but of course, Gorka found a way to spin it as something terrible, saying that the wedding was an attempt to push an ideology onto children. He also said in response to the wedding that “Civil society doesn’t exist, friendship doesn’t exist, family doesn’t exist,” and that because a fictional same-sex wedding between a rat and an aardvark was depicted that we only exist in a state of “permanent revolution,” as if showing a wedding on TV counts as a revolution. When people complain about media showing love between to same-sex partners I always wonder why they don’t care about the countless displays of heterosexual love that is so ubiquitous across the world… Luckily it seems that not too many people take what Gorka says seriously. How could anyone take someone who thinks he’s being attacked by a cartoon seriously anyway?
Gorka isn’t the only person who was upset about the wedding, as, according to Pride, a woman called PBS and told an employee that gay people should all burn. However, the employee was having none of that and responded calmly by saying that he had taken her feedback about Arthur but won’t take any feedback on homosexuality and then hung up. She, of course, called back and another person answered and listened to her diatribe, saying “I hear you, I’m writing this down” until the caller stopped ranting.
I really don’t get the big deal about showing a same-sex wedding on TV but that could be because
- I’m gay myself, and
- I grew up in a very accepting place.
I don’t suspect that backlash in regards to LGBTQ topics will ever cease, but I’m hopeful that they will lessen at least. For now, I think it’s best that we celebrate the positive representation of LGBTQ people on TV, regardless of the fact that the wedding was between a rat and an aardvark. Anthropomorphic or not, it was still a same-sex wedding.