The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

500 views, puppets and boobs…

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At some stage this morning, someone clicked on The Dissemination of Thought for the 500th time. While it may not seem like an astronomical number in the overall scheme of things, it surprised me a little bit. When I originally began TDoT, it was meant to serve no other purpose than to record random – and often incredibly abstract – musings for my own benefit. But people began to read it, and the evidence would suggest that some of you actually enjoy doing so. Personally, I’m a little disappointed that we’ve reached five-hundred views without any hate mail or death threats. Given that we’ve come this far, I should probably celebrate by writing something worthy of a Walkley, but I’m not going to. Instead, we are going to discuss Sesame Street and breasts.

The argument about marriage equality reached a ridiculous new level this week, with the launch of an online petition, the main objective of which is to convince the powers that be at Sesame Street that Bert and Ernie have been living in sin for far too long, and that wedding bells should be heard in the not too distant future. While I strongly advocate same-sex marriage, this is farcical, and I’ve identified two main issues that stand in the way of a union between Bert and Ernie.

Issue 1: Bert and Ernie aren’t actually gay.

While everyone seems to assume that they are partners, it’s not actually the case. Sesame Workshop released a statement saying “Bert and Ernie are best friends” and that they were “created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.” Essentially, people have seen two characters of the same sex who are great friends, and decided that the gay label fits. Why? For some, it helps to promote a cause. For others, it’s just easier to throw an ignorant, blanket label on something, without determining whether or not the label is justified. People can infer what they want from how Bert and Ernie interact, but they haven’t been developed as gay characters, so in my book, they aren’t. Yeah, they share a bedroom, and at times, a bed, but that proves nothing. Hell, they don’t seem to have jobs, so sharing a small apartment with one bedroom is obviously going to be the most cost-effective way to live.

Issue 2: Has anyone noticed that they are puppets?

This is an important point, so pay attention. Bert and Ernie are fucking puppets. They spend their days with someone’s hand up their asses. While I’m sure that there’s an incredibly inappropriate joke in there somewhere, everyone seems to have lost sight of the fact that Bert and Ernie are basically nothing more than foam, felt and other puppety materials. Yes, I am aware that puppety isn’t a real word. No, I don’t care – it sounds cool. A puppet is a tool of entertainment, and more importantly, an inanimate object. As such, it doesn’t have a sexual orientation, unless it has been developed as part of its character. Had the creators of Sesame Street cultivated Bert and Ernie as being gay, I couldn’t wait to see Elmo be the ring bearer at their wedding.

Lisa: Dad, what’s a Muppet?
Homer: Well, it’s not quite a mop and it’s not quite a puppet…

When I’m wrong, I’m usually really wrong. When I wrote about the perils of amateur tattooing back in October, I naturally assumed that ”penis” and “tattoo” were going to be the strangest words that I ever got to use in the same sentence. And they probably would have remained so, had The New York Times decided not to publish a story about the octogenarian who got a boob job. Stop the press, we have a new winner. Apparently cosmetic surgery is all the rage amongst those enjoying their golden years, including Californian great-grandmother, Marie Kolstad.

In all seriousness, this shouldn’t be a newsworthy story. Apart from the shock value of picturing breasts from the era of penicillin discovery, who fucking cares what someone decides to do with their own body? How many breast augmentations are done daily without global media coverage? A twenty-something friend of mine had one performed years ago, and when she came out of surgery, there wasn’t a solitary journalist to be seen. So what’s different? Age. We can’t seem to embrace the notion that people of the same vintage as our parents and grandparents want to look good and feel great about themselves. If these older individuals want to seize – or possibly rediscover – their sexuality, more power to them – I’d just prefer not to read about or imagine it. Regardless of age, people have the ability to be viewed as sexual beings, with clearly defined sexual orientations, unlike puppets.

So here we are, at the conclusion of this inane post. You made it. One can only hope that when The Dissemination of Thought pushes past 1,000 views, we won’t be philosophising about puppet nuptials or repressing the thought of 83-year-old nipples. Speaking of the latter, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and assume foetal position in the bathroom with a bottle of vodka.

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