Oh my, but humans are a confounding lot. We blithely justify violence in the media and in nearly the same breath cry out to censor sexuality without realizing that we have it backwards. We put potheads in prison for decades but let violent multiple offenders out of jail after less than a month allowing them another chance to kill someone. We shop at Wal*Mart because we buy into the deceitful claims of lower prices but then use the money we saved to buy a 13mpg SUV. We shout loud and hard about giving our children a well-rounded, real-world education but then, completely ignoring the real world, we fight to remove a children’s book from library shelves because it suggests that two living parents are better than an incubator, even if they both happen to be the same gender.
A new picture book published by Simon & Schuster, entitled And Tango Makes Three, is based on a true story of two male penguins in a New York zoo that adopted a fertilized penguin egg and raised the chick together as their own. If you’ve seen March of the Penguins in its entirety, then you know what that egg means to them*. And yet, there are people so worried about the prospect of their children gaining hard evidence proving the fact (that’s right, fact) same-sex coupling appears throughout nature that they are willing to sabotage their children’s education.
Complaining about the book's homosexual undertones, some parents of Shiloh Elementary School students believe the book — available to be checked out of the school's library in this 11,000-resident town 20 miles east of St. Louis — tackles topics their children aren't ready to handle.
Topics they're not ready to handle? But explaining to them why we kill one another in droves is something they’re prepared for? Hmm. Again, something seems a bit backwards to me.
And Tango Makes Three is not some clever conspiracy by a quiet but determined Gay Mafia to recruit ‘em young, though you’d think it was based on the reactions of these ignorant boobs in Shiloh. To wit:
Lilly Del Pinto thought the book looked charming when her 5-year-old daughter brought it home in September. Del Pinto said she was halfway through reading it to her daughter "when the zookeeper said the two penguins must be in love."
"That's when I ended the story," she said.
Get that? When it turned out the two were in love, it was more than Ms. Del Pinto could abide and she ended the story. The tale was going so well until love entered the picture. Because, you see, to people like Ms. Del Pinto, romantic love is only possible between a male and a female; anything else is intolerable debauchery. I’m pretty sure my friends Myke and Kevin would strongly disagree. (UPDATE: Yup, sure enough.)
I must commend Shiloh school district Superintendent Jennifer Filyaw for showing true patriotism for the Land of the Free by refusing to move the book. She felt that would constitute censorship and she was right. Standing up to a bunch of eristically religious hens in order to defend freedom makes her a hero in my book.
I’m going to buy And Tango Makes Three and proudly add it to my library. Heck, I might even volunteer some time at a daycare to read the story to impressionable tots because I can’t think of a better lesson to teach budding young minds than the importance of the inclusive nature of love.
*The scene in which the father penguin fails to get the egg off the ice in time brought me to wailing tears. I get choked up just thinking about it.