Moan, moan, moan! All la-lah in Po-land . . .

Never thought I’d have a rant about Teletubbies. But this was what emerged when I joined Bill Everatt for his Underground Edition on Sunday night . . .

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Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are four rather lovable creatures known as Teletubbies. But Tinky-Winky is thought in some circles to be a disgusting pervert, the most heinous, the most frightful, the creature from hell, the antichrist. Why? Because it’s thought he – if he is a ‘he’ – might be, wait for it, gay.Well, get you, Tinky Winky ducky, you’re a poof. And the whole world wants you to fall down a gaping active volcano and burn to death screaming and writhing. Or worse.Well, that’s what you’d believe if you took any cue from some PC-riddled idiot in Poland – a Catholic country, don’t forget, so there’s probably something of excessive religious zeal mixed in, too. This is the child-rights ombudsman. Just hold onto that a moment. Child-rights. And this person thinks that the suspicion that Tinky Winky might be gay – a suspicion begun some time ago because he, she or it carries a handbag – could promote ‘inappropriate attitudes’ among children and, wait for it again, ‘promote’ homosexuality.
Gosh, what a black and evil world this is, when cuddly propaganda such as The Teletubbies is used to this dreadful, atrocious, shocking end. Surely the work of the devil himself.

The irony is that there’s obviously someone of the Catholic tendency who has an ounce of sense left, because the country’s deputy speaker, said to be a conservative Catholic, has told the ombudsman not to be such a berk, because it makes the office of child-rights ombudsman look silly.

What gets me is this nonsense about ‘inappropriate attitudes’. Inappropriate to what, exactly? If Tinky Winky’s accessory were in the shape of a huge erect phallus and he were seen hanging around down at the docks waiting for dishy sailors, I could understand it. But I’d have that reservation if he were kerb-crawling in his car looking for a bit of the opposite sex. That is what’s known as behaviour, Mr or Ms Ombudsman, not being one thing or the other. Now behaviour could be seen to be inappropriate. But being?

But, anyway, Tinky Winky is not seen picking up sailors: he’s a doll-like figure who has a handbag. I had a boss once – the programme controller on a radio station I worked on in the Midlands – who was tall, handsome, had a beard, was as heterosexual as a prize stud bull, but carried a handbag. It was a so-called ‘man’s’ handbag, yes, and he looked a prat. But he did it. Lots of men carry handbags – well, back then I seem to remember a few. This was in the eighties. They may have gone out of fashion by now.

I don’t carry one. Not because certain idiots think you’re gay if you carry a handbag, but because I just think I’d look a prat.

Then there’s this oft-trotted-out line about ‘promoting’ homosexuality. How, might I ask, do you promote something that is a fact of nature – as much of a fact of nature as gravity? Did Isaac Newton promote the idea of gravity to a gullible, impressionable public when he pronounced on it? Perhaps children should have been sheltered from such facts.

Then there’s this business of a child-rights ombudsman. Child rights? Goodness, it’s the right of every child to have his or her mind opened up to all the possibilities that are going to be presented to him or her during the course of his or her life – and they include sexual ones. They’re going to have sex. They’re going to find it enjoyable. Some will find the company of their own sex preferable. Fact of life. Fact of nature. Get used to it. The only reason these kids might stand to lose out if it turns out that they’re gay is that there’ll be idiot Christians and those of other religious persuasions making them feel like committing suicide, as so many do already, because of their shame – shame that shouldn’t be instilled into their impressionable minds in the first place.

I despair.

In this country, at least, we’re moving on, thankfully, from condemning people for their sexual orientation. There’s a right-wing almost militaristic element among conservative Christians in the USA that needs its collective brain looking at, and a few over here are similarly in need of psychiatric care – preferably the sort that takes place behind bars with a good deal of hard labour.

One of those who’ve criticised Tinky Winky – and this was some time ago – was one Jerry Falwell, the right-wing, vicious, nasty, malevolent Christian in the United States who died a couple of weeks ago, still hating all gay people with a hatred that it’s hard to match – although he would have told you he loved the so-called sinner but hated the so-called sin. But he was a shite of the first order. Now I know you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead and should speak only good. OK. Falwell’s dead. Good!

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About Andrew John

Andrew John is a writer, editor and broadcaster with Celtica, providing, among other things, a weekly moan on a topic in the news. He spends much of his life moaning and criticising, and is crap company at parties. But just humour him. He's not a bad bloke, really.

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