EDITOR, The Tribune.
The popular educational television programme Sesame Street has had a very long run on the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (BCB) or ZNS TV 13. The show airs every weekday on ZNS TV 13 at 4:05 pm. I grew up in the eighties watching Ernie and Bert, Big Bird, Olivia, Bob, Maria, Oscar the Grouch, Tully, Mr Hooper, David and Grover on the program. They became a part of my life.
Like so many of the targeted persons in the demographic audience of lower class families, I was deeply influenced by the longest running children’s television series in US history. Sesame Street first aired in the United States in November of 1969 and was created by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett.
The programme’s popularity is buoyed by the puppets of the late Jim Henson and the outstanding music of the late Joe Raposo.
According to the encyclopedia website Wikipedia, as of 2009, Sesame Street has won 8 Grammy Awards and 143 Emmy Awards. In 2008, it was estimated that 77 million Americans had watched the series as children.
The Sesame Street of today is not the same programme that I used to watch in the early eighties. The programme now promotes a liberal agenda that is unwholesome for this Christian country. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro noted that Sesame Street tried to tackle divorce, tackled peaceful conflict resolution in the aftermath of 9/11 and had gay actor Neil Patrick Harris on the show playing the subtly-named fairy shoe person.
One other American writer said that Sesame Street’s liberal bent should come as no surprise to wary parents. According to this writer, the show’s most popular character, Elmo, has been used to promote wealth redistribution by way of free broadband, bemoaning job loss in the commercial plugging a new local government initiative called Families Stand Together, and plugging Michelle Obama’s child nutrition bill.
Most Bahamian parents and the executives at ZNS TV 13 need to know that Sesame Street is pro-homosexual. In recent years, there have been rumours in the media grapevine that Ernie’s sidekick Bert is gay. As well, the former puppeteer for Elmo, Kevin Clash, is openly gay. A 23-year-old man recently accused Clash of having sex with him when he was just 16 years old. Clash denied this, but admitted that the two had an intimate relationship as consensual adults.
Even Sesame Workshop (formerly the Children’s Television Workshop or CTW), the organization that produces Sesame Street, had stood by their openly gay puppeteer by stating that after a “thorough investigation they found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated”.
While the organisation had no qualms with an openly gay man in its employment, it did take exception to Clash exercising poor judgment when he violated company policy regarding internet usage. It was reported that he used to go online to chat with underage boys. A day after accusing Clash, the 23-year-old recanted by saying that their relationship was adult and consensual.
However, despite dodging the first bullet, a 24-year-old college student named Cecil Singleton has accused the 52-year-old Clash of having sex with him when he was only 15. Clash has since resigned, ending a 28-year run on Sesame Street. And it that were not enough, the late puppeteer for Sesame Street’s Forgetful Jones, Richard Hunt, was also openly gay. He died in 1992 of AIDS-related complications.
As well, parents became alarmed at actress Katy Perry’s revealing top while appearing on the children’s show. The popular children’s series also had a controversial guest appearance by the hip and vulgar entertainer Lady Gaga. Some of the other popular but controversial personalities who appeared on the children’s show include Jessica Alba, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, the Backstreet Boys, Tyra Banks, Candice Bergen, Beyonce, Ellen DeGeneres, Erykah Badu, Sally Field, Jamie Foxx, Ice-T and Jesse Jackson.
Sesame Street also pushes the global warming lie and promotes the idea that parents are no longer adequate enough to ensure healthy lifestyles for their children.
At times, one is led to believe that the liberal producers of Sesame Street are trying to undermine the nuclear family. In 1992, producers of the programme were planning on airing an episode about the divorce of Snuffy’s parents. However, Episode 2895, which was unofficially titled ‘‘Snuffy’s Parents Get A Divorce’’ was shelved by Executive Producer Dulcy Singer, who felt that the issue of divorce was irrelevant to lower socio-economic groups. All the same, would you want your children learning about such a sensitive matter from radical left-wing liberals? I think not.
Sesame Street depicts a world without God and Jesus. When Sesame Street actor Will Lee, who played Mr Hooper, died in 1982, the characters on the programme explained to Big Bird that he had died. They told Big Bird that Mr Hooper will never come back. Not a word was said of God, Jesus Christ, the resurrection or the judgment. They looked at death from a purely secular/humanistic standpoint. They said that death had to be this way ‘‘just because”. They couldn’t even explain to the emotionally distraught Big Bird why people die or what is man’s ultimate purpose in life. The whole TV scene about Mr Hooper’s death was woefully depressing.
Interestingly, one of the characters in the scene, David, who was played by Northern Calloway, died at 41 some eight years later in 1990 of a cardiac arrest after a violent altercation with a staff physician. Calloway was on the show from 1971 to 1989, and was one of the most popular human actors on Sesame Street. His popularity dwindled, however, after viciously attacking a woman with an iron rod in Tennessee in 1980.
Before he was fired from the show, Calloway suffered declining health and had a violent rage episode while on the set of Sesame Street.
Clearly, the show does not reflect our Christian heritage and culture. And seeing that ZNS is heavily subsidised by the Bahamian people, most of whom are regular churchgoers, if not out-and-out evangelical Christians, Sesame Street should be dropped.
The executive chairman of BCB is the Rev Dr William Thompson. As a Christian who promotes the Judeo/Christian worldview, Dr Thompson and I obviously share the same values.
He must take a closer look at what Sesame Street is indoctrinating our toddlers. He should use his tremendous clout and pull the plug on that programme.
As well, members of the Bahamas Christian Council should also demand that ZNS drop Sesame Street. The producers of that ungodly show don’t share our Christian values.
Freeport, Grand Bahama.
December 10, 2012.