Religious Right activists leave no stone unturned in their hunt for hidden homosexual messages in pop culture. Ever since Jerry Falwell outed the purple Teletubby, lesser Religious Right minions have been eager to uncover the next nefarious plot out of Hollywood to corrupt America's children.
Thankfully, the American Family Association is on the case. Recently the Tupelo, Miss.-based group headed by the Rev. Donald Wildmon issued an alert warning parents about Dreamworks Studios' release "Shark Tale."
Many view the animated film as just innocuous entertainment for children, an attempt to play off the success of "Finding Nemo," an undersea adventure that raked in big bucks for Hollywood.
But the AFA is sure "Shark Tale" is really homosexual propaganda designed to brainwash children into believing that it's OK to be gay. As evidence, the groups notes that the plot centers around Oscar, an outcast fish in the urban metropolis of the reef, and Lenny, a shark who doesn't quite fit in with his family of mafia-style hoodlums.
"It is when Shark Tale turns its attention to Lenny that it veers toward an undercurrent of approval for homosexuality," warns Ed Vitagliano, news editor of the AFA Journal. "While it is difficult to prove intent when a film does not explicitly make a character 'gay,' the story and dialogue demonstrate an implicit approval of homosexuality."
Lenny's mannerisms and voice, it seems, tend towards the effeminate but "that's not the worst of it." Masculinity in this shark culture depends on meat-eating, and Vitagliano notes that Lenny is a vegetarian – an obvious allegorical stand-in for homosexuality.
Make no mistake. This is not a joke or a parody. The AFA is serious. From the perspective of the Religious Right, a movie about fitting in and finding your place in society, common enough themes in children's literature and movies, must be a gay plot. .
The AFA's attack on "Shark Tale" follows a bulletin issued earlier this year by the Traditional Values Coalition, which saw a gay plot in "Shrek 2." The film, TVC soberly warned parents, was rife with cross-dressing. The group warned of a "she-male" bartender voiced by talk show host Larry King, noted Pinocchio's habit of wearing women's underwear, and pointed out that the film contains a wolf dressed in grandma's clothing. The TVC was appalled that instead of condemning this deviant behavior, Shrek and his talking donkey sidekick casually associated with these seedy characters.
Oddly enough, the Religious Right has yet to expose the obvious homosexual indoctrination running rampant through one of the most popular children's films in the country: Pixar's "The Incredibles" features an entire family that wears spandex and masks. Dressed in these costumes, they run around town showing themselves off. Paging Jerry Falwell...
And why has the Religious Right overlooked Winnie the Pooh? That silly old bear isn't even wearing pants!