Postcards from Buster

Postcards from Buster
Originally uploaded by duckydale.
I�ll admit that when I saw the first headline as this story began gaining scandal momentum a while ago, I thought it was going to be a story about Buster from �Arrested Development� and how the show might be actually sending him off to war and there was going to be an episode called� �Postcards from Buster.� Little did I know. This is a PBS Kids show which is odd for me to be talking about but what can ya do? �Postcards from Buster� is a handheld camera 1st person account of Buster�s travels. Buster is apparently a very popular cartoon figure in children�s entertainment today. He wanders the US documenting diversity and culture, sending these video postcards back for all to see. There are little animated segments but the majority of the show is POV shots as if you were Buster. So why did I watch this? Well, a big stink has been drawn to a specific Buster episode in which he goes to Vermont and visits two lesbian families. The show is not about their families being lesbians, that is actually never brought up. The main family has 3 kids with 2 moms. Buster comments: �Gee you have a lot of Mom�s� and that�s really the extent of the discussion. They are portrayed like every other family Buster meets. The focus of this episode is really Vermont�s �Mud Season� and their Maple Syrup and cheese industry. They visit farms and dairies, that sort of thing� Not Wiccan-Pagan Lesbian Night Clubs so what�s all the fuss about?

U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' criticism of an episode of the Public Broadcasting Service children's series "Postcards from Buster," in which the animated bunny visits the children of two lesbian couples in Vermont. "Many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in the episode," Spellings wrote to PBS.
"For years, PBS has been slipping pro-homosexual messages into its programming," said Robert Knight of the Culture and Family Institute. "Along comes Secretary Spellings, who takes action as a servant of the people instead of a timid, go-along bureaucrat. Good for her."

After Spellings' statement, PBS said it would not distribute the episode to its 349 stations. Boston-based WGBH, the show's producer, is providing it directly to more than 20 fellow stations.

"We consider it the responsibility of public television to give children and parents the resources they need to understand the world they inhabit -- without excluding any segment of our society," WGBH said. "The major goal of 'Postcards from Buster' is to help kids understand the richness and complexity of American culture."

Nancy Carlsson-Page, an education professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., has emphasized diversity awareness in a career spent training early-education teachers. She said Spellings was wrong to suggest that a certain category of family -- those headed by gays or lesbians -- be excluded from images shown to children.

"All children, whatever family composition they have, should see the full, diverse range of families," Carlsson-Page said. "Otherwise, when they encounter a different kind of family, they'll think that family is lesser, that it doesn't count."

Linda Hodge, president of the National PTA, said she strongly supports classroom initiatives promoting tolerance and combating bullying. However, she suggested some programs could backfire if they focus so explicitly on harassment of gays that those students feel singled out and labeled.

Hodge's bottom line: "Every child should feel safe and welcome in school."
For GLAAD's Joan Garry, a lesbian raising three children, the controversies hit home on a personal level.

"There are millions of kids living in households with two moms or two dads, and millions of other kids who know those kids," she said. "I wonder what James Dobson would say to my own children. What would be the respectful, Christian thing to say to them?"


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