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Mr. Ratburn Did What Now?

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 21, 2019 22:32

3 users

Alabama Public Television has effectively banned the Season 22 premier of the kids TV show Arthur, because [spoiler].

I would like to start out by saying that I had absolutely no freakin' idea PBS's Arthur was still on television. Considering my little brother, who turns 29 this year, was into that show when he was in second grade, I would have just assumed it had a run and was canceled sometime around the early-00's.

I was wrong.

To top things off, not only is Arthur now the second longest-running animated television show in America, it's also creating some controversy. Again, apparently.

To be fair, this shouldn't be controversial, and in most of the country it isn't. But for the folks at Alabama Public Television, the taxpayer-funded PBS arm in the Heart of Dixie, nothing could be more offensive than an episode of a popular children's show promoting, according to evangelist Franklin Graham, the "LGBTQ agenda."

The episode in question is titled "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone." In said episode, Mr. Ratburn, Arthur's teacher for the last three decades, marries his partner, some dude named Patrick.

Cool. No big deal. I always kinda thought the character was gay.

The episode aired on May 13th, a week-and-a-half ago, apparently everywhere except Alabama. As of this writing, Alabama Public Television has yet to air it, and according to programming director Mike McKenzie, they have no plans to do so.

His statements to the media about the episode and APT's refusal to air it have been diplomatic, stating that Mr. Ratburn's wedding portrays a positive message, but many parents who trust APT will not see it that way "either because their children are too young, or because of their beliefs."

Less diplomatic have been criticisms of the episode by the likes of Franklin Graham, One Million Moms, and radio host Sebastian Gorka.

One Million Moms put together a petition, calling for PBS to no longer air "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone" or any other episodes that portray same-sex relationships. The petition laments the episode's narrative, normalizing and glorifying gay marriage, and chided PBS for introducing so-called morally incorrect content to children.

At the time of this writing, the petition has over 18,700 signatures.

On his radio show "America First," ex-Breitbart editor and former Trump Deputy National Security Advisor, Sebastian Gorka called the episode a depiction of "a war on our culture."

This is ridiculous. Who cares that Mr. Ratburn married a dude? I, and apparently others, are more stunned by the fact that new episodes of Arthur are being produced.

But the derision toward the episode by some of hard-line conservatism's most-recognizable totems is, while expected, troubling. It's an example of a culture still having difficulties coming to terms with our general acceptance of LGBTQ peoples and our work to elevate them from second-class citizenship.

Homosexuality is an abomination according to some adherents of a 2,000 year-old religion created by people who followed a man who once got so hangry, he cursed a fig tree.

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 21, 2019 22:32

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(CBS Local) — The season 22 premiere episode of the long-running animated series “Arthur,” which revolved around the same-sex...

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