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Be suspicious of children's characters

February 16, 1999

Some people have been laughing at my main man Jerry Falwell for his contention that one of the Teletubbies is gay. Just like they did his statements that Clinton is a murderer and the Antichrist is a Jew.

Well, just remember, they laughed at Ross Perot, too.

Just like the Incredible Expanding Jerry Falwell, I have suspected something's weird about the Teletubbies for a long time now. Now the reverend has crystallized if for me: Purple-faced, purse-carrying, triangle-headed - that's got to be either a gay Teletubby or Marge Schott.

I couldn't be more convinced if you squeezed its belly and it said "Well first off, honey, those curtains have got to go."

Just to make sure though, Lesa our librarian directed me to the Teletubby Web site, where I discovered a mountain of further evidence.

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The Teletubby in question, I learned, is named Tinky Winky. Not Carl, not Frank, not Hoss - Tinky Winky. Picture that at the next Super Bowl midfield introductions: "Captain Elway and Captain Sharpe, shake hands with Captain Irons and Captain Tinky Winky."

Seriously, if you want your boy to grow up, name him Tinky Winky and let nature take its course.

Next on the Web site, I was directed to this actual Teletubby dossier:

"Tinky Winky is the biggest Teletubby. He is the gentlest of the Teletubbies. His favorite thing is his bag, which he likes to take out with him for walks. He usually sings his song 'Tinky Winky.' He loves to dance and fall over on his back. Tinky Winky loves all of the Teletubbies, and his best friend is Po, the smallest one."

Children's characters have been accused of bizarre, possibly drug-induced behavior for a long time now. George Carlin recalled the rhyme:

"Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he.

"He called for his pipe, he called for his bowl - and I guess we all know about Old King Cole."

But the Teletubby Tinky Winky clearly crosses the line. The biggest, OK. But the gentlest? And a singer.

On the surface, the only problem is that his best friend, Po, is a Telewoman. But that could just be a front. I'm starting to worry now about the characters I watched when I was a kid. Obviously Eeyore was bipolar and Piglet struggled with Tourette's Syndrome, but now I'm starting to have some doubts about Christopher Robin. He fits rather well into the big/gentle/sings profile. Pooh, that era's Homer Simpson, was harmless enough, but something unhealthy may have been going on between Kanga and Roo. Like if the Judd family had been marsupials.

Toad of Toad Hall's schizophrenia is well-documented, but less-explored is the passive-aggressive nature of Betty and Wilma on the Flintstones or the overly comfy relations between Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy and please, please, please don't let Jerry Falwell hear about the Hardy Boys. "Hi, Chet, we're headed up to Smuggler's Cove to dig for treasure, wanna come with us?"

And Pete of the Happy Hollisters couldn't have been too happy about his Oedipus complex. Notice he always had to be the father figure since pops was never around and his frequent trips to see his mother under the cover of having her "make us all some lemonade and sandwiches."

It's all pretty sicko stuff, if you ask me. But fortunately we have the reverend to guard us all. Now if he could just nail down that Clinton-murder theory...




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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