Readers of this page may recall our cynicism at recent reports that SpongeBob SquarePants, who we thought was just a treacly cartoon sponge-person, actually has lurid designs on young children. Last month, James Dobson, Focus on the Family's thoughtmeister, declared that SpongeBob's penchant for holding hands with his male starfish pal and his soft and swishy, er, squishy demeanor signals that he is really a homosexual cartoon sponge. Bob, he suggested, is an unsuitable, if not alarming, role model for kids.
Although we were initially skeptical, the more we thought about it, the more a subterranean world of deviance became evident in what parents long assumed were harmless children's classics. Dobson and the other family-values monitors who defend his SpongeBob "outing" are clearly on to something, and as a public service, we'd like to point out some of the more obvious examples:
* Bert and Ernie. Two guys, Sesame Street pals, longtime roommates, but who really buys those twin beds?
* Nancy Drew and her loyal sidekicks, Bess and the aptly named George. No wonder Ned Nickerson never gets to first base.
* The Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz." He wears a red hair bow, carries Dorothy's basket on occasion, sobs and faints and generally carries on -- unmanly in the extreme.