Thursday, June 03, 2004

We're still not ready for "Heather Has Two Mommies"

Whether or not you regard Play School's decision to air a segment about a child of a lesbian couple as political seems to depend very much on your politics. Such families exist, so why not show them? Clearly, only if you believe that such a family ought not to be shown.

40 years ago, showing a mixed race couple would have been just as controversial, but our society got over that prejudice, and we will get over this one. But at least the social conservatives have put their cards on the table. All this talk of de-facto recognition of gay couples as an alternative to gay marriage has been exposed as a smokescreen; what they really loathe is the idea of a lesbian family under any description.

Playschool might have stepped on a land-mine in the culture wars, but at least now we know where the front line is; for Play School to be "apolitical" means to shield us from the facts on the ground about the the very real existence of lesbian families, and you can only believe this if you think a lesbian couple is, at some level, wrong and sinful and inappropriate for children's TV. This is the underlying argument behind Richard Alston's rhetoric; it's not that Playschool has become "politicized", but rather, that in presenting a lesbian couple as normal the ABC has strayed on to the wrong side of politics. The real sin is that it has failed to bow to conservative orthodoxy.

Anyway, what's even more frightening is who's AWOL on the issue. I'm anxious to see what everyone's favorite Australian right-blogger, Tim Blair, will make of the issue. He must be feeling dreadfully conflicted, what with his idolising of ultra-libertarian blogger Instapundit, whose political philosophy dictates acceptance of lesbian families, and yet, his intense loathing of anything even vaguely "politically correct." Without wanting to sound obsessed with the guy, he's just... so... hilariously, infuriating stupid that it's guaranteed to be fun.

But what I'm really thinking of is Labor's head-ducking response. The Sydney Morning Herald quotes Labor's family spokesperson Wayne Swan saying this:

I haven't seen the program but I'd be concerned if a children's program explored issues of sexuality, because that's a matter for parents."

As the SMH points out, Labor is pro-gay adoption. Way to have the courage of your convictions, guys. I know you're paranoid about wedge issues and being flanked from the right, but will people really respect you when you're this spineless?

Note:Mr Gordon is worth reading on this too.

Update

Ever burning the midnight oil, Tim Blair has delivered while I wrote this piece. Classic Blair. Here's the full text of my comments:

Hello, year 7 social studies class. The topic of today's lesson is is "Analysing inane arguments from right wing blogger hacks." We will focus on a post by Tim Blair on showing lesbians on Play School. Consider the following points. Tim Blair says:

So it’s okay for lesbians to take pre-schoolers to amusement parks ... but whenever I invite pre-schoolers to watch my collection of lesbian DVDs I end up explaining myself in court. How is that fair?

Class, what are the ways in which the "I have two mummies" segment was not like showing lesbian porn to pre-schoolers? Do you think Mr. Blair is being entirely honest in his argument? If not, why not?

Tim Blair also says:

All family situations? Can’t wait for the domestic violence and child slavery episodes.

Class, in what ways might having lesbian parents not be like child slavery? Explain your answer.

Extra credit: Mr Blair often cites, with approval, arguments from Libertarian weblogs. Explain what a real libertarian would make of the issue, and how this differs from Mr. Blair's own position. How hypocritical is Mr. Blair anyway?