For years, advocates of the gay rights movement have said that their goal is to make the world a more tolerant place for homosexuals. They have just as adamantly claimed that they had no intention of educating young children in the complexities of human sexuality. Not so in Hollywood.
Take, for example, the new animated film Boxtrolls, created by studio Laika. The film is a riff on the old Mrs. Doubtfire morality that suggests that all families are created equal, no matter what their composition. “Families come in all shapes and sizes,” the narrator of the preview says. “Even rectangles.”
This is not the studio’s first foray into same-sex material for children – in ParaNorman, one of the characters was a gay jock who comes out near the end of the film for no apparent reason.
Travis Knight, the 39-year-old president and CEO of Laika, says that this isn’t activism. “We’re not in any way trying to be activists,” he says. “We’re just trying to be who we are. All art and all artists have a point of view, a way of looking at the world. We want to make films that are bold and distinctive and enduring and actually have something meaningful to say.”
That is nonsense. Activism is pushing a point of view in your work. That’s what Knight says he’s doing. He should embrace his mission, so we can all have an honest conversation about material that is appropriate for children and material that is not.
The truth is that Hollywood is fighting a battle not only to normalize homosexuality, but to combat what it perceives as the power of heternormativity in society – the idea that the default relationship is heterosexual. Heteronormativity, according to many of the left, leads to discrimination against homosexuals. And the left has always believed, going back to Rousseau, that re-education of children is the place to start when leveling traditional societal institutions.
That’s why The New Yorker, in an obvious form of trolling, celebrated the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the Defense of Marriage Act by showing a shot of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street watching tv, Bert’s head on Ernie’s shoulder, a picture of the Great Heroic Justices on the screen. The left universally celebrated this hijacking of beloved children’s characters, and labeled anyone who objected a homophobe.
It’s a form of rope-a-dope for the left, actually: they portray a children’s character as gay, wait for a rube right-winger to suggest that no children’s character should be gay, then point at the conservative and call him or her homophobic. The left has done this with the Teletubbies as well as SpongeBob Squarepants (CNN reported that Tinky Winky of the Teletubbies had become “something of a gay icon” a solid two years before Jerry Falwell criticized the Teletubbies).
Now, the left no longer even feels the necessity of playing games about the sexuality of children’s characters: it will simply create gay chidren’s characters. That’s their prerogative, of course, but it’s also just another sign that Hollywood is happy to stoke the flames of a culture war raging throughout the country, and driving a deeper wedge between Americans who are happy to live together, but don’t want their neighbor’s values shoved down their throat at the theater.
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