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Nickelodeon is airing a special tonight on families that have same-sex parents.
June 18, 2002 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Nickelodeon is airing a special tonight on families that have same-sex parents. The concern of some is that this show: "proves that this network has been co-opted by homosexual activists who are targeting children. Sodomy is not a family value. Nickelodeon has now lost the trust of parents."

My issue with it is that it appears that they are not publicizing the fact that they are showing this to the parents to allow them to decide if their children should watch it or not... I couldn't find anything on their website, except the listing in the schedule for "Nick News Special Edition" (MORE INSIDE)
posted by darian (67 comments total)

 
I'm quite curious about the opinions of others on this, as I have had mixed responses ranging from "You're a homophobe" to "You make a good point."

I want to stress that it is not the program that I have a problem with, it's the fact that Nickelodeon has presented itself as a safe forum for children, and parents have been programmed to believe that. Now, they choose to slip a program like this into the mix without really notifying the parents. My issue isn't the program itself... it's how Nickelodeon is blindsiding parents with information that they may not be aware of. It should be the parent's decision about what AND WHEN to teach their children about any sort of sexual relationships.

I understand the different positions from the different sides involved, and I do sympathize with the fact that it may be difficult for same-sex relationships to raise families, but I also feel that this isn't the proper forum for them to express their concerns. Just like in school you need a note from your parents to go the sex-ed classes, parents shoudl be notified in this case as well.

Yes, I also agree that parents should monitor more closely the things their kids are watching, but Nickelodeon has sold itself to parents as a safe channel for kids.
posted by darian at 1:51 PM on June 18, 2002


oh yea... the original quoted bit is from this article
posted by darian at 1:57 PM on June 18, 2002


It should be the parent's decision about what AND WHEN to teach their children about any sort of sexual relationships

Including heterosexual relationships? I'm not being snarky, just asking.
posted by ColdChef at 2:04 PM on June 18, 2002


Next thing you know they'll be teaching evolution in schools as a scientific fact.
posted by jjg at 2:07 PM on June 18, 2002


blindsiding parents with information that they may not be aware of.

Eh? Is a warning required every time a network broadcasts something new? Should a publicity campaign precede every after school special about a conventional family? Are you saying that a warning is required because it's controversial and might cause people to think a little more than usual? What are you saying?

but I also feel that this isn't the proper forum for them to express their concerns.

Who do you mean by "they"? Gays? Gay activists? The network execs? Regardless of your sexual orientation, don't you have the same concerns? If you ask me, "They" are WE. Or should be.
posted by dougb at 2:09 PM on June 18, 2002


What kind of notification are you looking for? I think that fact that we are talking about a FUTURE program should be warning enough for anyone. All the articles I've read about the content of the show makes it appear that it's more about tolerance than sex-ed. The show is at 9:30 when Nick at Night programs normally air.


Any way I look at it, Nickoledeon has handled this well. Nickelodeon doesn't take away the parent's right to choose what and when their children learn about sexual relationships. Parent's who don't want their children to watch the program should be able to find alternatives for their children for the half-hour the program is on.


Also Linda Ellerbee is a fine journalist and she has been doing Nick News for years. She has handled a vast array of delicate subjects, the Clinton-Lewisky "scandal" for one, where kids hear things but don't understand what exactly is going on.


posted by nramsey at 2:09 PM on June 18, 2002


It sounds like your main beef is that Nicklodeon didn't advertise this news special enough. Isn't the amount of publicity of any show a bit subjective?

Perhaps they will start the show with a disclaimer - like they do on the news when they air something graphic and potentially disturbing.

Ultimately, isn't it up to the parents to decide what their children watch on TV (as well as when)?
posted by xena at 2:10 PM on June 18, 2002


My issue isn't the program itself... it's how Nickelodeon is blindsiding parents with information that they may not be aware of.

seems to me that your issue is the program, whether you see it that way or not. as ColdChef pointed out (or maybe i'm paraphrasing or inferring) you don't seem to have any problem whatsoever with the constant exposure children get to heterosexual relationships, whether it be on Nick or any other station.

Just like in school you need a note from your parents to go the sex-ed classes,

you do? not where i am (ontario). i took it in school and gave no such note.

Yes, I also agree that parents should monitor more closely the things their kids are watching, but Nickelodeon has sold itself to parents as a safe channel for kids.

i haven't seen the show but the implication of this sentence is that this show is somehow unsafe for kids. please explain.
posted by dobbs at 2:13 PM on June 18, 2002


Ultimately, isn't it up to the parents to decide what their children watch on TV (as well as when)?

Yes, but I think parents ... parents who use a TV as a babysitter, that is ... blithely assume that Nickoledeon is just 'kids stuff'. (or on preview, what dobbs said)

That demographic isn't lost on Nickelodeon, I'm sure.

Expressing a desire to have more warnings or notification about this program is akin to finding your kid's been using the 'net for NetMeeting naked shows. You expected something different? Should have participated in your child's education in and usage of the technology, then. Too late now!
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:17 PM on June 18, 2002


as ColdChef pointed out (or maybe i'm paraphrasing or inferring) you don't seem to have any problem whatsoever with the constant exposure children get to heterosexual relationships, whether it be on Nick or any other station.

Sort of. Look, I seriously doubt that the show is a homosexual "how-to" show. what I was trying to say was, "would you be offended if it was just a show about non-specific parenting?" If not, then you need to look at what you find "unsafe."
posted by ColdChef at 2:18 PM on June 18, 2002


It should be the parent's decision about what AND WHEN to teach their children about any sort of sexual relationships.

I disagree. These kids have to live and function in our society, whatever their parents may or may not choose to tell them. They should consider information from all sources, and they will, so it's silly to pretend otherwise.
posted by rushmc at 2:21 PM on June 18, 2002


i think this could be a fascinating special for modern day people of all ages to see, especially with linda ellerbee hosting (who i've enjoyed watching since NBC's "Overnight").

But my question is, if 100,000 complaints aren't enough to stop Nick from broadcasting this show, then how many complaints are enough?

1 million? 2 million?

and if 100,000 complaints aren't enough, then I don't ever want anything that I enjoy to be pulled when a half dozen soccer moms or religious nuts gather up a few hundred yahoos to write letters.
posted by tsarfan at 2:25 PM on June 18, 2002


blindsiding parents with information that they may not be aware of ??????
Ummm, I got kids, and the television doesn't babysit for me. Unless it's a show I know, or prerecorded, I watch it with them. I have this device next to my chair called the r-e-m-o-t-e that lets me change channels if something that I don't want my kids watching comes on.

Besides, Bloodsport is on tonite, good family edu-tainment all around.
posted by patrickje at 2:27 PM on June 18, 2002


You could have a good point if the show is about, or even broaches the subject of gay sex. However, it doesn't sound like the show even comes close to addressing the subject of sex, let alone what happens between partners behind bedroom doors. Sex (including sodomy) occurs in the bedrooms of a lot of married heterosexual parents, yet you imply that you would have no problem with not being "warned" about a Nick special on heterosexual families. Would you have a problem with not being warned about a special on parenting in minority inner city households? Do you feel that Nick should warn you about a special on parenting in France? Unfortunatly your desire for such a warning about a special on gay parenting does make the the homophobic label fit. Meanwhile, I do agree that it would be nice if the nick site included descriptions for shows with vague titles like "Nick News Special Edition," but that's just so I can avoid shows about parenting in France :)
posted by dchase at 2:28 PM on June 18, 2002


The children's network received 100,000 emails and phone calls to protest against the programme, which will be shown tonight in the US.

First, this number comes from Ananova. Second, it includes emails. And we KNOW those can be inflated.

Still, it's just as easy for parents to change the channel as it is to write an email or make a call. Wait, no. It's easier to change the channel.
posted by ColdChef at 2:28 PM on June 18, 2002


In the washington post article linked above, nickelodeon denied that there have been that many complaints. They say they have received a "fraction" of that number. 100,000 is TVC's number.

More fine reporting from ananova!
posted by palegirl at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2002


if 100,000 complaints aren't enough

How many unique people are actually behind those 100,000 complaints? I'm willing to bet it's a small fraction of that, stirred up by the Traditional Values Coalition or like-minded groups to email dozens of copies of the same letter. There's no guarantee that what we're hearing is even within an order of magnitude of the real number.

er...what ColdChef said, basically.
posted by dougb at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2002


Wow. So I guess the posters here would judge me homophobic for not wanting my 5-year-old son to watch this show. Or they would judge me a bad parent if I wasn't attentitively watching TV with him when the show came on. (I'd be guilty of using the TV as a babysitter.) Or I'd be judged foolish for wanting to decide what and when to teach him about sexual relationships because my 5-year-old "should consider information from all sources," in rushmc's words.

Is that an accurate summary of the judgments you guys would make against a parent such as me?

How many of you have children? Some of the posters here seem to be addressing the issue in theoretical and philosophical terms instead of real-life how-to terms.

Yesterday my son asked the meaning of "gay." I dunno, it seems a little early for that.

I now await the verdicts of people who would judge me (and parents such as me) homophobic, bad parents and impractical.
posted by Holden at 2:34 PM on June 18, 2002


apparently from what i've heard it's about "different types of families" or something along that line. teaching kids that all families are not like their's necessarily. i don't' see how that is bad, or how it should be treated with a warning. years ago people would think a show about single-parent families were bad, and how that was deviant etc. (actually i'm sure the family research council still thinks that...) but now we see this as backwards. explaining to children that people are different it one of the main goals of children's programming i would think, think of sesame street... i don't think this goal should come with warnings and disclaimers.
posted by rhyax at 2:39 PM on June 18, 2002


So I guess the posters here would judge me homophobic for not wanting my 5-year-old son to watch this show.

No, I wouldn't. But I'd ask you to consider why you feel uncomfortable answering his question about what "gay" means. It's your kid. You set the boundaries.
posted by ColdChef at 2:43 PM on June 18, 2002


Are you saying that a warning is required because it's controversial and might cause people to think a little more than usual? What are you saying?
I'm saying that the only things that I have really heard about it is from outside media sources... I couldn't even find any information about it on their website. Nickelodeon has sold itself as a network primarily for kids, right? They should then consider what the parents would want their kids to learn. I'm all for free thinking... but I also want to choose what I will allow my young child to be exposed to at this time.

Who do you mean by "they"? Gays? Gay activists? The network execs?
In that reference I mean "they" as in the Nickelodeon network execs.

seems to me that your issue is the program, whether you see it that way or not. .... you don't seem to have any problem whatsoever with the constant exposure children get to heterosexual relationships, whether it be on Nick or any other station.
Not really... I've had the discussion with my daughter about same-sex relationships, and choose for her to not be exposed further to it at this time. And yes, actually I do have issues with her being exposed to the constant bombardment of sex which is why I am careful to monitor what she watches.

Re: "safe channel for kids" i haven't seen the show but the implication of this sentence is that this show is somehow unsafe for kids. please explain.
Not that the show is unsafe for kids... perhaps I worded it too vaguely in the initial post. What I meant is that parents assume that Nick is safe to let their children watch unattended, so even if there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the show, the parents may not know what is actually being watched.
posted by darian at 2:46 PM on June 18, 2002


Yeah, I didn't know about it, but now I'll watch the show. I adore Linda Ellerbee. If I had a kid (not in vitro), old enough to be allowed to stay up until 9:30, and they wanted to watch it, then I would let them. But then again, the TV in this house isn't easy accessed by kids. By design. There are books, crayons, paints and projects all over the place...but the TV is a not part of the regular routine.

But, my kid is going to be exposed to "non-traditional" families right from the start. I have lesbian friends, homosexual friends, straight married couple friends, hippie bus-dwelling touring around the country friends, single parent friends, childless friends, pretty much, they're all just friends.

To quote Depeche Mode: People are people. I don't see where the freakout factor is coming from really. Nick doesn't hype any of their news shows any more or less than they've hyped this one...just because it deals with gay folks, people seem to think there should be a warning banner. I call bullshit on that.

I doubt Nick is going to be glorifying the sexual aspect of the parenting...any more than they would if they were discussing single parents and dating. Some kids do have two moms or two dads...should the children of those relationships be shunned because other parents aren't comfortable with the concept of homosexuality?

And it seems to me that when your kid asks a question, you should answer the question honestly...even when the answer makes you uncomfortable. I mean, no reason to break into full-on details...but is it so wrong to tell your son when he asks "What does gay mean?" to say that "Gay is when two similar people love each other...like two mommies or two daddies instead of one mommy and one daddy." Ignoring the question because it makes you uncomfortable just teaches the child that there are some things they can't discuss with their parents.
posted by dejah420 at 2:50 PM on June 18, 2002


Perhaps they will start the show with a disclaimer - like they do on the news when they air something graphic and potentially disturbing.

"WARNING -- the following program features viewpoints that may differ from your own!"
posted by Dirjy at 2:55 PM on June 18, 2002


Yesterday my son asked the meaning of "gay." I dunno, it seems a little early for that.

So did you tell your son that, Holden? I'm quite curious as to your response to his question. It's seems apparent that it's not "a little early for that" if your son's asking you questions.

Of course, you don't have to define "gay" by the mechanics of gay sex, you can define it by the emotions involved which, really, are no different from those of heterosexuals.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:56 PM on June 18, 2002


I *heart* dejah. Will you be my mommy?
posted by ColdChef at 2:57 PM on June 18, 2002


are you seriously saying that a topic like this couldn't generate 100,000 freaked out Americans who would email or write or call or do lots of things that take more time than turning the channel?

it is good to be skeptical of sources and email campaigns that are drummed up from the religious right, but look around, our country has A LOT of religious and non-religious parents who might be okay with homosexual topics being discussed on HBO or CNN, but Nick?

i think the numbers are closer to the hundred grand, and still i ask, if that isnt enough to change programming on this topic, then i never want an uptight old lady and her knitting club to ever be able to boot one of my shows off the air.

this is a precedent that im watching very carefully.
posted by tsarfan at 2:58 PM on June 18, 2002


Holden, how would you react if your son asked you what married means? The show isn't about sexual relationships. It's about families - parents and kids - and the issues that arise when the parents happen to both be of the same sex. I have two daughters, and while neither of them have asked me what gay is, I'd probably respond to my eight year old (I don't think the two year old would ask) that it's when two people who happen to be both boys or girls love each other and want to date or have a family. If you take the sex out of the equation, then I don't see what the problem is other than the fact that the nick site's schedule page sucks. The tvguide site does have a synopsis: "Rosie O'Donnell and Rev. Jerry Falwell discuss nontraditional families, focusing on households headed by gay parents. The issue of hate crimes is addressed, along with recommendations for how to promote tolerance among people from different backgrounds." as did my Sunday Boston Globe.
posted by dchase at 3:01 PM on June 18, 2002


Nickelodeon has sold itself as a network primarily for kids, right? They should then consider what the parents would want their kids to learn.

Nickelodeon and all the other 'kid-friendly' networks broadcast thousands of messages for kids to learn every day -- from gender roles to social norms to 'see this new movie/buy this new crap.' I would argue that many of these are more offensive to me as a parent than the 'news' that homosexuals exist. Why would none of these messages warrant the same consideration or advance warning?


parents assume that Nick is safe to let their children watch unattended...

Speaking as a father of two, that's just bad parenting.
posted by Dirjy at 3:08 PM on June 18, 2002


Still, it's just as easy for parents to change the channel as it is to write an email or make a call.

Which suggests that it is not their children's viewing habits that they wish to censor but other peoples'.
posted by rushmc at 3:10 PM on June 18, 2002


I like you, dejah420. You may continue with your breeding program.
posted by rushmc at 3:10 PM on June 18, 2002


What I meant is that parents assume that Nick is safe to let their children watch unattended,

It's worth reiterating nramsey's point that this is being shown at a time when Nickelodeon is usually showing their "Nick at Nite" sitcom lineup.

You remember "Nick at Nite?" Where they air shows such as "Three's Company?" The show where Jack pretended to be gay in order to share an apartment with two women? Which was constantly used as a source of amusement throughout the series? Nick at Nite also airs the sexually charged "Cheers."

Nickelodeon is showing a show with sexual themes at a time that they usually air shows with sexual themes. What's the issue?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:14 PM on June 18, 2002


Just to clarify, my wife (the recipient of the 5-year-old's "What does 'gay' mean?" question) answered in a fashion that Dejah420 and Wolfdaddy and dchase would approve of.

Still, it bugs me that he asked. It seems too early to be hearing this word and trying to grasp the concept before one is in first grade. The kid thinks he's going to grow up and marry his mom, for goshsakes.

When I was my son's age, one of my mother's best friends was the pastor of her Unitarian church, a gay man who lived with his partner in Fort Worth's only high-rise apartment building. Mom and I visited often, and I specifically remember having dinner there for my mother's 33rd birthday, meaning I was 6. (I had fun that night playing with Walter's shoeshine machine -- one of those things that had a red rotating brush on one side and a black rotating brush on the other.)

Yes, I was exposed to all types of people from an early age, not just white heterosexual Baptists. But (with the huge exception of black people) at ages 5 and 6 I wasn't aware of labels to denote and compartmentalize people. Walter and his partner just were -- I didn't think of them as gay or different. It's fine to start learning how to label and pigeonhole people later in life, but it seems a bit much to plug this news show into the Cosby Show time slot during the summer break from school, when little tykes are watching. That's "tykes" with a T.
posted by Holden at 3:14 PM on June 18, 2002


...they choose to slip a program like this into the mix without really notifying the parents...

My wife and I watch Nick @ Nite fairly regularly (can't get enough of ol' Heathcliff Huxtable), and I must say they've promoted this show more than you make it seem. There's a commercial shown throughout the Nick @ Nite lineup with Linda Ellerbee & Rosie O'Donnell and a bunch of kids promoting the show, and they even have a disclaimer at the end of it. Considering Nick @ Nite's target audience is unarguably adults, I don't know what else Nick could do to notify parents.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 3:17 PM on June 18, 2002


Holden, I can't get a handle on you-- you seem to be contradicting yourself.

All I know is that when I have kids, they're going to be dealing with the issue from day one.
posted by palegirl at 3:19 PM on June 18, 2002


Still, it bugs me that he asked.

Holden, to answer your question, i don't have kids. however, i was a kid once. and i remember this:

i didn't ask my mom (dad split early) and had no clue what "gay" meant. i just knew that then (the mid-70s), calling someone gay was an "insult". so one day i was calling this kid gay and he told me to stop (he knew what it meant and assumed i did too). i didn't stop. instead, i got the crap beaten out of me.

were i more like your kid, i'd have been saved a beating. or, if the kid who beat me up was more like your kid (and his parents were not homophobic) he wouldn't have seen it as an insult.

if your kid asks you a question like that, take advantage of his curiousity. educate him.

i can understand your disappointment at children asking questions at an early age because it shows that "our" children are being exposed to things (drugs, sex, etc.) at ages we think "too early." however, we'll be worse off if we don't teach them properly when they inquire.
posted by dobbs at 3:37 PM on June 18, 2002


Still, it bugs me that he asked. It seems too early to be hearing this word and trying to grasp the concept before one is in first grade.

Would you be bugged if the question he had asked was, "What does 'straight' mean?" How about "What's a faggot?" The fact that your son is asking about the meaning, specifically, for gay at the least implies that he hasn't been exposed to derogatory and prejudicial epithets yet (though 'gay' can be used in derogatory fashion, I note), so the more positive/honest knowledge you instill in him now the better able he'll be to come to his own determinations about the subject as he grows older.

You're never too young to learn, and I honestly believe that if one is old enough to ask the question, then you're old enough to expect and deserve an honest answer from the people you trust the most. In this case, that's you and your wife.

I asked this same question around the same age (I may have been six/in first grade) and the answer I got led me to feel betrayed and lied to by my parents when I ultimately came out of the closet at 14. My parents told me that I was too young to ask the question, that it was a dirty subject, that 'nice' people didn't talk about things like that. It led to me to resent my parents more than an average teen would, I believe.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:41 PM on June 18, 2002


I *heart* dejah. Will you be my mommy?

Of course punkin. Now, eat your vegetables, wash your hands...and what is *that* doing in the sink?

;)
posted by dejah420 at 3:57 PM on June 18, 2002


Yesterday my son asked the meaning of "gay." I dunno, it seems a little early for that.

Hm. I have distinct memories of knowing what "gay" meant before kindergarten. Mind you, I didn't have the least inkling about sex, but I knew that "gay" meant that a boy loves a boy the way mommy loves daddy. There was no need to know the...mechanics involved, any more than there was for me to know what my parents were up to in order to understand that their relationship with one another was different from their relationship with me.

That, I think, is the source a great deal of misunderstanding of homosexuality: the assumption that it is all about sex. It is perfectly possible to understand the idea of a homosexual relationship without having to broach the subject of homosexual intercourse. If your child was to ask you what the difference was between mommy-daddy love and the love daddy feels for, say, daddy's female friend, you wouldn't need to explain about who daddy has sex with, would you?

You know, as a kid, I watched "Three's Company" for years before I caught on that Jack was supposed to be gay, and even longer before I started catching all the sexual innuendo. Kids will figure things out when they are ready.
posted by _blackjack_ at 3:59 PM on June 18, 2002


For anyone reading this and planning on watching, the show airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time, NOT 9:30.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:36 PM on June 18, 2002


My father tells me that he didn't know what homosexuality was until he reached college. I, on the other hand, knew what it was when I was about, oh, nine (which I believe was when I started reading Mary Renault's novels about ancient Greece). As far as I've been able to tell, most kids these days know what "homosexual" and "gay" mean somewhere between second or third grade, if not earlier. It seems to be the parents to whom this is news.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:55 PM on June 18, 2002


I agree with dougb, "WE" and here is my two cents worth: When I was in Paris, Fr. I was watching "The Abyss" (French original version) on came many short info commercials about 1-900- sex with the full shot actions, makes the back pages of pr0n look g rated. And yes as a guest I had no clue to using the satellite system and was stuck enjoying them. Anyway, when I mentioned these info commercials to my host because I was sure this was a local channel which it was and got on my USA of soapboxes, about the fact that children could view them. My host said, "what time was this?" 10pm I said. And my host went on to say no one forces children to watch TV". And here was the best part, he said, "who in the USA has their children watching TV that late." Again I said, "but the children." Then my host explained for the most part that in France any "child" up that late would be under the supervision of an adult as in being around a family so what is the problem of sex on TV. My reply, "Oh I wish our society in the USA thought of the children like that as in watching TV is not in the best interests for kids that late. Thus my respect to the French and their love for the children. Basically it is cable so they can air what they want, and if this show did come on while "kids are present" well I sure hope that supervision would prevail. Unless this is what the parents want to parent, nothings perfect, yet we can't monitor everything unless your Bush. I'm just saying.
posted by thomcatspike at 5:17 PM on June 18, 2002


WolfDaddy, unfortunately, he heard "gay" used in a derogatory fashion. As in, "Oh, that's so gay."

You ask a great question: If he had asked, "What does 'straight' mean?," my wife and I would have been absolutely flummoxed.

I don't plan to watch the show, but I'm curious about something. If Elllerbee interviewed Jerry Falwell for a program on gay families, will she interview David Duke for a program about interracial families? Why does she think Falwell has anything illuminating to add to the subject?
posted by Holden at 5:54 PM on June 18, 2002


Holden - Five year olds that I know use the word "gay" in playground trash talking - i.e. "You are sooo gay" in 2002 means pretty much the same thing as "You are sooo wierd" meant in 1972. I find it disturbing that the "gay = bad" concept has filtered down to preschoolers, but it has. If he heard it from another kid, I seriously doubt the person he heard associated the word with homosexuality.
posted by swell at 6:01 PM on June 18, 2002


I just don't like the fact Rosie is on it. 3 months ago she wouldn't admit she was gay, now she's teaching the world to accept gays? Sheesh.

Though it's about time someone addressed "gay" or "fag" as an insult. I propose "fundie" or "Southern Baptist", instead.
posted by geoff. at 6:02 PM on June 18, 2002


Believe it or not, I actually wrote the speculative above post before reading your latest that confirmed it.

(cue Twilight Zone theme music)
posted by swell at 6:06 PM on June 18, 2002


As in, "Oh, that's so gay."

One thing to consider is PC-speak has removed just about every word from our vernacular that might upset or offend anyone but for the word gay, which I note was never used in playground trash-talking when I was a kid--words like "fag", "cracker", "nigger", "kike", "retard" and "slope" were used instead. We had a lot more choice back then, I guess. Not to sound like I'm reminiscing over my epithet usage as a child and getting wistful over it, just considering how the language has evolved over the last 3 decades and how it has subtle effects on us all.

Would Ellerbee interview David Duke for a program about interracial families? I bet she would.

3 months ago she wouldn't admit she was gay, now she's teaching the world to accept gays?

Oh, please, like it wasn't common knowledge. I first heard she was gay when she was a vj for VH1. She's never said "I'm not gay" after all, has she?
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2002


- here in the UK, 'gay' also has the added meaning of 'out-of-style', weird, naff, etc. (still, that's one up from dirty, I guess). Time to reclaim it's meaning...

- Holden doesn't seem as unreconstructed as all that, he seems to be struggling with a new and difficult situation. At least, that's what it seems to this gay boy. ;)

- All of us parents worry about our youngsters growing up healthily: psychologically, it's important to be exposed to all types of folk, and to accept those that do you no harm as of equal worth, is it not? I'm very glad my 14 year old has had plenty of exposure to straight folks all of her young life!
posted by dash_slot- at 6:16 PM on June 18, 2002


They began the show with the following monologue by Ellerbee:

"The following program is about tolerance with specific emphasis on families where one or more parent is homosexual. It does not deal with issues such as 'how do you know if you're gay?' It is not about sex. It does not tell you what to think. However, it might be a good idea to invite a parent or grownup you trust to watch this program with you. You might find this show a good starting place for a discussion about your own family's beliefs on this subject."
posted by palegirl at 6:24 PM on June 18, 2002


I can't believe that this discussion has gone on this long and no one has shouted..."TROLL"!
posted by dewelch at 6:31 PM on June 18, 2002


I can't believe that this discussion has gone on this long and no one has shouted..."TROLL"!

Um, because it's not a troll? At least not in the straight sense, that is *wink*.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:47 PM on June 18, 2002


If the consensus is that most people know they are gay from a very early age, isn't a nice idea to show kids that being gay is a normal thing to be?
posted by sperare at 7:25 PM on June 18, 2002


Er...most people that are gay know they are gay from a very early age ...
posted by sperare at 7:26 PM on June 18, 2002


I watched the show and I was really impressed with how it was presented. I think it was tasteful, I think it was informative, I think giving kids a venue to express their own ideas, concepts and even intolerance is a good thing.

(Not that the intolerance is a good thing in my opinion, but I don't share the same fundamental Christian faith that a segment of the kids were raised to believe. But because I don't find that belief contextually logical in my world, doesn't mean it isn't valid for them and their world. I feel slightly sorry for them, because they've chosen to "not associate with gay people because the bible says it's wrong"...which means they'll miss out on a lot of really groovy people. On the other hand, the cloaked Islamic girl had a really groovy response, which was: "our religion teaches that homosexuality is wrong, but it also teaches that intolerance is wrong. Thus, we try to abstain from it ourselves, but we do not shun others who don't share the belief that it is wrong.)

I'm not a big Rosie fan, but she stayed pretty much out of the limelight. If Falwell was on, it was during the brief period when I had to go shoo a Kirby salesdrone away from my door.

Most of the discussion was by the kids with Ellerbee positing a question, then letting the kids run with it. I was impressed. I think the kids comported themselves incredibly well, I think anyone who watched it would have taken some valuable thoughts away with them, and gods willing, it opened up some reasonable discussions with kids and their parents tonight.
posted by dejah420 at 8:16 PM on June 18, 2002


It was a great show. I think that it should be shown at schools. My favorite line "A family is a group of people who love each other." We have defined and redefined the word family in this country so many times that I can't believe that there actually are people who think that the only kind of good family is one with a mom and a dad and kids. That is a family that is in the minority in this country. 2 out of every 3 marriages ends in divorce. Many children are in foster care and/or being cared for by an extended family member and a growing number of children in this country are parented by a gay person. If a person loves, cares for (financially and emotionally), is kind to and attentive to a child and is consistently there then that is a plus. Who cares if they are single, married, interracial, older, biological, adoptive, gay or straight. It's about the love for the child.
posted by bas67 at 8:31 PM on June 18, 2002


I thought all of the kids seemed indoctrinated to whatever view they were there to present. I always find it creepy when young kids start talking about teasing in terms of damaging the self-esteem & therefore development of other kids. The christian kid sitting next to Rosie said that (not an exact quote but very close) Although some successful children have emerged from homosexual households... then he stumbled on trying to explain what exactly that meant. Rosie suggested that he meant "well adjusted." I felt really bad for him. He was obviously a kid sent on someone else's mission.
posted by palegirl at 8:53 PM on June 18, 2002


Yeah, I see your point Palegirl...there were one or two times when the indoctrination showed through pretty heavily...and they weren't sure how to defend what they'd been told to say/believe. But, overall, I found those instances to be low in number. And the little boy in glasses who had two moms was obviously angry at the little Christian girl, but he kept it under control...or they cut the program well enough to not display too much of his exasperation.

But, the careful selection of words and vocabulary...I see that a lot working with bright kids. They want to impress, and they want to be taken seriously...hence they use a language style that is rather foreign to their normal mode of speech.

It's like when you're writing a thesis, or a term paper, or defending a theory...what have you. You tend to write up to the level of the audience, and that takes significant skill and practice before it doesn't sound stilted. Of course, that's just my opinion...I could be wrong. :)
posted by dejah420 at 9:52 PM on June 18, 2002


it seems a bit much to plug this news show...when little tykes are watching.

I find the statement above insulting. Seems to me the implication that it's "a bit much" to expose kids to the reality of gay families can't help but be insulting. Forgive the bluntness, Holden, but your discomfort doesn't make me the problem.

Folks who think it's "a bit much" to expose kids to tolerance for something as completely natural as homosexuality need to get over themselves. Thank goodness the folks at Nickelodeon had the guts to air this thing.
posted by mediareport at 10:27 PM on June 18, 2002


upset, angered, and outraged parents :

no amount of television debauchery is going to corrupt your children...

they've just learned the worst from you.
posted by Satapher at 10:39 PM on June 18, 2002


What everyone hear is jousting about IS the physical act of gay sex. It's simple; while homosexuality isn't a negative, exclusively homosexual couples cannot biological have children. Family, shambly--if you don't want to talk about sex in Metafilter, then there should be no wonder about why some people are uptight about it. Here's an idea (besides picking on Holden): What audience was this program aimed at? Why did Nick show it? By the way, kudos to Linda Ellerbee.
posted by mcchesnj at 11:45 PM on June 18, 2002


Family, shambly--if you don't want to talk about sex in Metafilter, then there should be no wonder about why some people are uptight about it.

Who doesn't want to talk about sex on Mefi? People just don't want sex discussed on Nickelodeon.

Mcchesnj, I'll bite.

There are many legitimate ways to "acquire" children, all of which were invented by heterosexual people who cannot conceive and nobody questions their legitimacy. Many women missing their reproductive bits (as Rosie O'Donnell is, incidentally) adopt children. Some people inherit children. I don't have to list the various ways that adults wind up with kids, do I? Your gay sex doesn't create families argument is specious.

As for your questions as to the motivations of the Nick News producers, I'd like to first ask if you watched the program. So far, everyone posting in this thread who did watch it found it to be non-objectionable. Ellerbee said several times that she didn't want to tell anyone what to think and she encouraged children watching to discuss the issues with a trusted adult or parent. You seem to imply that this program was an underhanded attempt to further somebody's agenda. It wasn't. It was aimed, as are all Nick News specials, at children who may be confused or troubled by current events and was meant to give them the language and facts they can use to understand the world better.
posted by palegirl at 12:18 AM on June 19, 2002


exclusively homosexual couples cannot biological have children.

Well, that settles everything.

Here's an idea (besides picking on Holden)

Oh, please. As Dobbs pointed out, certain people are assuming there's reason for concern when their kids are exposed to a show that portrays tolerance of homosexuality in a positive light. But none of them have even attempted to justify that assumption. Let's hear it.
posted by mediareport at 12:45 AM on June 19, 2002


exclusively homosexual couples cannot biological have children

Yeah, right. And my 100% heterosexual parents adopted me because they decided to abrogate their god-given right to procreate out of a sense of compassion for those less fortunate.

No. My parents were biologically incompatible, mating-wise. They adopted me, selfishly (like that's a bad thing), to compensate. Go get a clue. Heterosexuality is not a guarantee that you will or can procreate. Homosexuality does not equate with sterility.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:52 AM on June 19, 2002


I don't have a concern for children being exposed to sexuality. I did watch the program, and thought it was well done. Nick should be applauded for having the guts to show it.

Your gay sex doesn't create families argument is specious.

It wasn't an argument. My main thrust was that the underlying reason for some peoples uneasy reaction to the show was that at its root, it addressed sex. I felt this was being ignored by many posters, who would have probably felt the same way had it been about some type of hetero sex topic.
posted by mcchesnj at 2:58 AM on June 19, 2002


I didn't know that Nickelodeon was in the sex education business.

They should let that area be covered by others, and not go down that road.

Given the average age of children who watch that channel, I would think they would not want to do it.
posted by a3matrix at 4:17 AM on June 19, 2002


a3matrix-
did you read ANY of the posts?
posted by das_2099 at 5:57 AM on June 19, 2002


Several posters on this thread seem to be in denial of what sexuality is about. For most adolescents discovering their sex drives, it's not about procreation, is it? They just want to get their rocks off, just like you/I/he/she did when a teenager (and probably still do today!)

Is it too much to ask whether that is sometimes expressed with whoever is around that you may be attached to?

What I'm saying is, many self-identified 'straight' people have had homosexual experiences when younger, and may not have come to terms with that. Equally, I can vouch for the fact that many self-identified 'gay' people have heterosexual experiences when younger - and that can have longterm repercussions, too. But its all good, where no harm is done. When the majority of society accepts that - the essential positivity of sexual expression - discrimination will wither.

In the mean time, we've all got a lot of work to do.
PS: The forces at work on 'straight' kids - portaying the 'other' to lead away from the true path - how come that didn't make all us gay kids straight, given the overwhelmingly straight portrayals in the culture we absorbed?

PPS: Mediareport: some informative links there, thank you.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:16 AM on June 19, 2002


Now, this discussion has made me wonder all night, if I'll end up on some site, because I was arrested as a sex offender. For what, sitting with me kids watching some 70's movie with some form of nudity, and the movie was rated PG. Example Airplane II.
The show was about family, not about having sex. So what is there to discuss: If your morality in a home is based on sex?. Answer: no, family.
No, this is not bait, I'm taking the fence in this discussion on being one's self. I think it was great they wanted to discuss family regardless how I feel.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:15 AM on June 19, 2002


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