Nickelodeon Just Outted Spongebob

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It’s Pride Month and that means lots of brands are tweeting about how much they love and support gay people in the markets where that won’t cause them issues with the local governments or popular anti-gay sentiment.

You can basically apply this to every brand. It’s why I like to remind people they’re not making some great moral stand by not eating Chik-Fil-A, whatever company they are eating food from is undoubtedly just as bad and probably treats their employees worse.

One of the more interesting Pride tweets this month was from Nickelodeon, featuring three LGBT characters; Korra from The Legend of Korra, Schwoz Schwartz from Henry Danger and… Spongebob?

Korra made headlines when the ending of the Avatar spin-off confirmed the heroine was both bisexual and embarking on a relationship with her friend Asami. Schwoz Schwartz is played by a transgender actor, Michael D. Cohen. But Spongebob, that’s news to me. I mean, kind of, I’ve seen the show and he’s pretty… flamboyant, it wouldn’t exactly be a surprise.

In fact, fifteen years ago some conservatives got mad at the show and said it was promoting a “gay agenda,” whatever the hell means. I’m pretty sure it involves brunch, but beyond that, I have no idea, they don’t let us bisexuals into the meetings.

At the time of the dust-up, Spongebob’s creator Stephen Hillenburg denied it, because that’s what corporations did in 2005 when someone said they were portraying gay people in a positive light. Hillenburg’s said at the time, “We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual. We’re just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show.”

Now, when he said that, that popular usage of “asexual” didn’t refer to a sexual orientation defined by the lack of sexual attraction, so what Hillenburg was saying was “it’s a kid’s cartoon, Spongebob isn’t a real person and he’s not going to f**k on the show so who cares?”

This actually means very little to what the show Spongebob Squarepants is like, but it probably meant a lot to some fans of the show. You’re not suddenly going to see Spongebob paint his pineapple in rainbow colors or start dating another male sponge or fish or whatever goes on in Bikini Bottom. Mister Krabs is a crab and his daughter is a sperm whale, so it’s just a free-for-all down there anyway.

Sure, it’s a hollow marketing tactic from an international brand and ViacomCBS doesn’t actually care about LGBT issues or really any cause or concern other than making money for their shareholders, but, I don’t know, letting kids who love Spongebob and maybe feel a little different from their peers feel like their favorite cartoon feels like they do sometimes isn’t a bad thing. Just don’t expect to see that reflected in the product they make the money on, that has to be sold to markets where access is granted by homophobes and they’re not committed enough to be good guys to jeopardize a single cent.

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2 years ago

“said it was promoting a “gay agenda,” whatever the hell means. … letting kids who love Spongebob and maybe feel a little different from their peers feel like their favorite cartoon feels like they do sometimes isn’t a bad thing.”
Yeah, when conservatives talk about a “gay agenda”, that’s what we mean: trying to convince people that homosexuality is normal and a good and wonderful thing. And that anyone who disagrees should be charged with a “hate crime” and penalized.

2 years ago

Sorry Charlie, it’s the Left who loves silencing their perceived enemies through thought-police techniques (doxxing, cancel culture, hate crime laws, ad infinitum). We have no interest in that. Keep spewing your depraved anything-goes bullshit and we’ll see who wins the culture war.

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