Wednesday, 25 July 2012

444: Gay Bert and Ernie 2

Contemporary with the last sketch by National Lampoon, though not a parody, is this more whimsical riff from the humorist Kurt Andersen’s 1980 book on modern life, “The Real Thing” in which he makes Bert and Ernie the subject for his brief essay on “Homosexuals”:


“Bert and Ernie, of ‘Sesame Street,’ are the Real Thing

“ . . . and that the two Muppets don’t flaunt their gayness — Big Bird is far swishier, and an old bitch besides— is very much to the point. Bert and Ernie conduct themselves in the same loving, discreet way that millions of gay men, women and hand puppets do. They do their jobs well and live a splendidly settled life together in an impeccably decorated cabinet.

“In fact, Bert and Ernie lead a far more ‘normal’ life than bilious heteros like Cookie Monster and Grover. Nor for these two lovers does the gay life have any connection with the sad wrinkle-room of aging fairies such as Captain Kangaroo's Dancing Bear and Fran's Kukla.

“Among theater folk today, as everyone is aware by now, being homosexual is thought no more bizarre than having a foam-rubber head, a two-dimensional face, or strings permanently attached to one's limbs. None of Bert's and Ernie's professional colleagues treat them oddly, in short, because gayness is just another friendly part of life on "Sesame Street.”

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