After a former Sesame Street writer, clearly pursuing his own agenda, came forward in an interview to “reveal” that the Muppet duo of Bert and Ernie were a gay couple this week, the man behind the two iconic characters felt it necessary to come forward and throw cold water on the idea. Frank Oz, the man who created Bert and puppeted some of the most beloved figures in the Henson library (as well as Yoda from Star Wars), tweeted on Tuesday that Bert and Ernie were not gay. Naturally, this has upset some folks who desperately wanted to claim these cherished childhood characters as their own.
“I created Bert,” Oz said. “I know what and who he is.”
Oz came forward after writer Mark Saltzman told the LGBT publication Queerty that he wrote the Sesame Street characters as a homosexual couple.
“I remember one time a preschooler [in San Francisco] turned to her mum and asked, ‘are Bert and Ernie lovers?’ and that, coming from a preschooler, was fun,” Saltzman said. “That got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them.”
You’ll not be shocked to learn that Saltzman himself is a gay man.
In his response on Tuesday, Oz said, “It seems Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert & Ernie are gay. It’s fine that he feels they are. They’re not, of course. But why that question? Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only gay? There’s much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness.”
Yeah, but not when you make that your entire identity, to the point where it not only defines who YOU are but how you see everything else in the world. This is apparently this social illness that Saltzman suffered from, and we can only guess it has infected legions of Twitter users, some of whom took great offense to Oz’s denial.
“Why the need to define people as gay? Uh, because we exist. I’m gay. 100% gay,” said one idiot. “Always have been, always will be. I’ve known since I was 7, and was told what the word meant. Yes, there are a lot of bi and pan people out there, but there are also A LOT of gay people.”
Who, uh, said there weren’t?
“You may have created him, but you don’t seem to realize or appreciate what he meant to thousands of little boys growing up,” wrote another genius. “You digging in your heels (and wrongly conflating romantic orientation with sexual orientation) with what seems like disgust is abjectly disappointing.”
Well, frankly, it is a little weird (if not “disgust”ing) to rush forward and claim two Muppets as part of your silly little identity politics game.
Oh, and word to the wise: If you’re trying to have a serious discussion about these things with people who aren’t part of your stupid little clique, you might want to shy away from phrase like “pan people” and “conflating romantic orientation with sexual orientation.” People don’t care about your nonsense as much as you think they do.