As if it wasn?t enough that PBS, the bastion of culture at the broadcast level, fired the host of the toddlertainment, ?The Good Night Show.? Reason given: The sweet thing, by the name of Melanie Martinez, who is beloved by moms and kids alike, appeared in her ancient history as an actress in two videos spoofing public service announcements that advocate teenage sexual abstinence. Even PBS admits there was nothing pornographic about the videos.
(Why, since truth must be told, at least on this site, we ourselves just finished presenting an extended spoof of abstinence, which most responsible medical experts also feel obliged to ridicule as inadequate, in itself, to the problem.)
The lass is a 34-year-old who is married and the mother of a 3-year-old. As the host of ?The Good Night Show,? she introduced cartoons and demonstrated arts and crafts. ?I had the best time making it,? she said. ?It was two glorious seasons that I filmed.?
On a positive note, PBS received thousands of complaints about the dismissal, mostly from parents.
PBS?s own ombudsman, Michael Getler, noted that firing her had ?too much of a whiff of after-the-fact loyalty oaths and purity checks on performers who do lots of different things.?
Do not the magnates at the head of PBS realize that the harsh justice meted out by them, who, as representatives of culture are obliged also to represent tolerance, sets an example for children that is far more deleterious than the Melanie Martinez way-back-when spoofs of a specious remedy for teen pregnancy.
Now, however, events have taken an even more distressing turn. Now PBS, conducting a review of all children?s entertainment with the same moral ferocity, has alighted on Cinderella. They are incensed that she allowed herself to lose one of her glass slippers and be seen barefoot at a public occasion like a party.
Cinderella has claimed innocence on the ground that she lost the slipper when she was making a hasty exit so she could get home on time.
But the watchdogs at PBS have not been assuaged. Would such behavior meet with approbation in the most conservative regions and byways of contemporary America? Never! And no sense saying such moral rectitude is limited to a relatively small segment of the American public. Would her bare foot meet with approval in, for instance, a nation in the repressive grip of Muslim fundamentalism? Never!
As a result, they have issued a proclamation: ?Cinderella and her ultimately racy story are hereby banished from PBS from this broadcast day forward. Out of consideration for the children who watch our especially infantile programs and their parents, who trust that our content will never assault their own moral sense, we can no longer permit a young woman who allowed herself to be seen in public displaying a bare foot put even one toe on any stage on which PBS might produce a program for children. Therefore, Cinderella is hereby banned from any production funded by PBS. This proclamation is irreversible.?
My, oh, my, what is a tolerant person to do when such appeasements of moral excess reach even as high as the cultural icons who conduct our public broadcasting system?
Shame on them ? and a cinder on their otherwise generally praiseworthy record, too.
Short note about the author
Tom Attea, humorist and creator of NewsLaugh.com, has had six shows produced Off-Broadway. Critics have called his writing "delightfully funny," "witty," with "great humor and ebullience" and "good, genuine laughs."