We’ve all grown up being entertained and educated by the lovable characters of Sesame Street; Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Oscar and Cookie Monster are all a part of our childhood memories. The kid’s show has been on the air for 44 years, and although the purpose is children’s entertainment, there have been plenty of controversies surrounding the beloved series; including famed Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, who resigned after allegations that he had sexually abused underage boys. Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney used Big Bird’s name during a debate against President Obama which ended up creating a huge social-media buzz (generating 17,000 tweets per minute according to Policymic.com).
Some people have even accused the show of brainwashing children towards left-wing beliefs. As reported by The Atlantic Wire, author Ben Shapiro had this to say, “Sesame Street tried to tackle divorce, tackled ‘peaceful conflict resolution’ in the aftermath of 9/11, and had [gay actor] Neil Patrick Harris on the show playing the subtly-named ‘fairy shoeperson’,” writes Shapiro. And since 95 percent of Americans have watched the show by the time they’re three years old, well, the levels of brainwashing must be astronomical!”
If people were concerned about Neil Patrick Harris being a shoe-fairy, the latest cover of the New Yorker is sure to put some feelings in a knot. Bert and Ernie are seen on the cover of the magazine sitting on the sofa watching a still image of the Supreme Court (symbolic of the historical overturning of DOMA and Prop8 in California this past Wednesday) with Bert’s arm around Ernie who is laying on his shoulder.
Sesame Street writers have always denied that Bert and Ernie are a gay couple, explaining that they “do not have a sexual orientation,” although in an article by Digital Spy, they say the “couple” have long been celebrated as gay in pop culture.
Whether or not you agree or disagree with speculation that Sesame Street is brainwashing children, or whether or not Bert and Ernie are gay, cover artist Jack Hunter sums it up best, “It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” he told The New Yorker's Culture Desk. “This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate.”
This is a time to celebrate. And you know what they says, “Haters gonna hate.”