The new U.S. education minister has ridiculed PBS for an as yet unaired episode of "PostCards from Buster" that depicts two lesbian characters.
Questions of appropriateness have been brought up mainly over the debate as to whether children at such a young age should be exposed to the subject,
but also as to whether funds that went toward the making of the episode should be refunded, as the money is received from public tax dollars. PBS
(Public Broadcasting Station) is a publicly funded organization that receives it's funding from "viewers like you". A similar situation took place
several years ago in a controversy involving the Teletubbies, and a character named "Tinky Winky", and his seemingly ambiguous nature. However, the
main differences between the two events are that in the situation involving the Teletubbies, there was no apparently intentional placement of a
homosexual character into the show, yet in "PostCards from Buster" there is.
The not-yet-aired episode of "Postcards From Buster" shows the title character, an animated bunny named Buster, on a trip to Vermont -- a
state known for recognizing same-sex civil unions. The episode features two lesbian couples, although the focus is on farm life and maple sugaring.
A PBS spokesman said late Tuesday that the nonprofit network has decided not to distribute the episode, called "Sugartime!," to its 349
stations. She said the Education Department's objections were not a factor in that decision.
"Ultimately, our decision was based on the fact that we recognize this is a sensitive issue, and we wanted to make sure that parents had an
opportunity to introduce this subject to their children in their own time," said Lea Sloan, vice president of media relations at PBS.
PBS gets money for the "Postcards from Buster" series through the federal Ready-To-Learn program, one aimed at helping young children learn through
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I can understand that homosexuality is a very sensitive, and polarized topic on the U.S. today. It makes sense that although many people would
initially feel this is some form of discrimination against the gay community, we must all remember that it is a very touchy subject, and that a
station that receives public funding to produce episodes must be sensitive to that. Parents should be able to decide on their own when to tackle the
subject of sexuality, and hopefully when they do, it will be done with logic and reason.
[edit on 26-1-2005 by Banshee]