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Culture Beat / Sep. 19, 2018

Bert & Ernie: A Case of Mistaken Puppet Love

A show writer insists he thought the pair was gay. The show and the puppet’s creator say he’s wrong.

Never content to let things be, homosexual activists make it their mission to undermine all cultural institutions. Even PBS’s long-running kids show, “Sesame Street,” isn’t safe. Mark Saltzman, a writer on the show from 1984 to 1998, set off the most recent kerfuffle by saying he always thought the characters Bert and Ernie were gay, just like Saltzman and his “roommate,” film editor Arnold Glassman. “I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were [gay],” he opined. “I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as ‘Bert & Ernie.’”

Activists immediately celebrated this supposed vindication of something many have long insisted. Normal Americans rolled their eyes.

“Sesame Street” denied the claim, saying in a statement, “As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most ‘Sesame Street’ Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have sexual orientation.”

Likewise, iconic puppeteer Frank Oz set the record, er, straight. “It seems Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert & Ernie are gay. It’s fine that he feels they are. They’re not, of course. But why that question? Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only gay? There’s much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness.” He later added, “I created Bert,” said Oz. “I know what and who he is.”

Why the need to define people, he asks? Because the homosexual identity is bound up in pathological narcissism, and that means affirmation is absolutely essential. Thus the desperate need for “Pride Month,” legal privileges and religious-liberty-crushing demands, and homosexual characters on screen.

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