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The Simpsons Speak to America

The Simpsons TV show has been running for years and had yet to really tackle the issue of homophobia. Wikipedia's main article today talks of a recent episode revolving entirely around this. In the episode Homer's Phobia, Homer meets a gay man but then distances himself when he finds out because he thinks the man's sexuality could negatively impact his son Bart.

I could care less that The Simpsons are doing a gay episode, in fact I think they're somewhat behind the times if it's taken this long to speak to America on issues of homosexuality. What's fascinating to me is that the Fox Network originally didn't want to air the episode because it was considered too racy. Fortunately there was a shake up with production executives and new execs at Fox released the show. Homer's Phobia went on to win four awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) and a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding TV - Individual Episode".

I can't believe Americans still live in a society where network executives are afraid of anti-gay backlash. TV has an enormous influence on Americans and can help them, even through satire, realize that being gay and hanging out with people who are is the same as hanging out with straight people. It's astonishing really that there are still many many Americans who haven't yet realized this themselves. If Homer's cool with it, maybe they can be too.

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