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With gay abandon

If the mainstream is getting comfortable about accepting old taboos, frustrated puritans will search high and low to find them lurking in the unlikeliest of places.

india Updated: May 30, 2007 23:06 IST

Call it a backlash against backlash. If the mainstream is getting comfortable about accepting old taboos, frustrated puritans will search high and low to find them lurking in the unlikeliest of places. It turns out that Poland’s child rights ombudsman is seriously investigating whether Teletubbies, a British television for infants showcasing rotund, colourful and furry figures, promotes homosexuality. How so? Do they show these figures with aerials on their heads and television sets in the tummies snogging away while listening to The Sound of Music soundtrack or the strains of George Michael? Nope. Apparently, one of the characters, Tinky Winky (hmm, not exactly a masculine name for a supposedly male Teletubby?) carries a handbag. A dead giveaway, that.

The Poles clearly are not the first to spot something very camp in Tinky Winky. In 1999, two years after the series was first launched in Britain, American televangelist and pastor of the aptly named Church of Lynchburg, thundered about Tinky Winky “modelling the gay lifestyle”. What happened was this: gays in America rushed to purchase Telletubbies merchandise — in the same way, perhaps, that many of us tuned in to FTV and AXN once Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi spread the word about the offensive programmes on the channels.

But hang on. A programme for toddlers embedded with subliminal gay messages? So a whole generation of male infants will grow up to see Batman and Robin, Holmes and Watson, Jai and Veeru, Laurel and Hardy as homosexual couples? Well, quite clearly the crusaders of political correctness gone completely cuckoo will beat them to those interpretations.