A letter from Mrs. Cottontail...

…to Education Secretary Margaret Spelling: This is one bunny mother who’s hopping mad over your treatment of little Buster, just because he went sugaring with some children with two moms. Why not pick on those misbehaving Peanuts kids instead?

BY Kimberly Gadette

February 18 2005 1:00 AM ET

Dear Ms. Spellings,I’m writing to you about Buster Baxter, star of the famed Postcards From Buster PBS children’s television show, who is currently up to his comely pink ears in hot water. (Which is a shame, since I know for a fact that his parents begged him to stay away from hot water ever since that nasty scene in Fatal Attraction.)As a well-meaning neighbor from a nearby warren, I’ve known the Baxters for years and can attest to the fact that his mom, Bitzi, raised him to be tolerant of all mammals. Darn the luck, she must have forgotten to teach him about reptiles.Buster tells me that you’re in a dither because of an episode titled “Sugartime!” in which he meets two sets of real-life mommies while learning about maple sugaring in Vermont. Not to split hares, but are you planning to go after all young ’uns who shake paws with people who don’t fall within your parameters of acceptable lifestyles? Will you be beating up the kids in Melissa Etheridge’s neighborhood? How about Rosie O’Donnell’s? What if Buster had visited ex-governor James McGreevey and his pal in New Jersey last summer?As a busy mother of 1,200, I do my best to teach my bunnies that families come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s take a look at SpongeBob and his friends below the sea. Oh, that’s right, you and your friends in Washington already did, didn’t you? Tell me—was it the fact that he lives under a pineapple (an obvious fruit) that caused such ripples of consternation?Ms. Spellings, if you have issues with nontraditional families, how about focusing on those latchkey kids from the Peanuts gang? Have you ever seen a parent in the picture? Now there’s something for you and your cronies to check out: a gang of loudmouthed kids running around the neighborhood, practicing unlicensed psychiatry and sadistic football play, causing God-only-knows what sort of mental and physical injury. I’d rather that those ill-mannered brats have two mommies than no mommies at all.Or why not pick on someone taller, such as Olive Oyl and her “nephew” (wink, wink) Swee’ Pea? Not only is she anorexic, but let’s face it, she’s a slut. First she’s with Popeye, then she’s with Bluto a.k.a Brutus (his parole officer calls him Pulverizer), then back to Popeye. Is she playing one against the other, or is it a three-way freeway? Though I’m a vegetarian, the thought of an Olive sandwich, heavy on the Oyl, with all that spinach flying this way and that—well, I’m nauseous.And what about the spawned bastard children from the head of Cryogenic King Disney, why haven’t you made mention of Donald Duck’s propensity for exhibitionism? The duck hasn’t worn a stitch below his waist for 71 years. Shame! Parading around pantless, and him with his three adopted nephews, for heaven’s sake! I quack, er, quake with fear when I think about him and his unmarried consort, Daisy “let’s-get-paid-for-some-more-foster-children” Duck.You’ve got homophobia? Well, heck, why stop with Buster’s show? It’s an all-you-can-out smorgasbord out here! There’s Bert and Ernie, Tom and Jerry, and don’t forget Mr. Pretty in Pink, Mr. Fey of the Great White Way, that oh-so-dandy-lion, Snagglepuss.If it sounds like I’m heating up under my whiskers, well, Ms. Spellings, I am. Buster works hard to help support his 1,499 siblings, and heck, that’s quite a lot of lettuce for any 8-year-old bunny-boy to bring home to his family. And now, with this dark cloud gathering over his head, I question his long-term survival. He’s shedding. He’s jumpy. His eyes are red (well, yes, they usually are, but you get the picture).As a caring friend and neighbor, I know from experience. My own father, Peter, was never able to bounce back from that overblown fracas involving Mr. MacGregor and that mediocre garden of his. Once sullied in the worldwide media, it’s hard to get back on track.Leapin’ lizards, Ms. Spellings, please reconsider your objections. You’re not only hurting Buster, but all his young viewers who might have a chance to grow up in a world a whole lot more accepting than yours.I’d bet a fresh bunch of carrots that Buster is too young to have heard of Joe McCarthy.Wouldn’t it be swell if we could keep it this way?Hopping mad,Constance “Coney” Cottontail

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