According to The New York Times and a number of other news sources, ABC executives have forced comedian and actor Robin Williams to abandon plans to perform a song making light of James C. Dobson’s (the President and CEO of Focus on the Family, a conservative non-profit organization) efforts to label a children’s cartoon – the popular SpongeBob SquarePants – as “pro-homosexual” for appearing in a video promoting tolerance.
CBS News reports:
The song included the lines:
"Pinocchio's had his nose done! Sleeping Beauty is popping pills! The Three Little Pigs ain't kosher! Betty Boop works Beverly Hills!"
"Fred Flintstone is dyslexic, Jessica Rabbit is really a man, Olive Oyl is really anorexic, and Casper is in the Ku Klux Klan!"
Other objectionable lines included, "Chip 'n Dale are both strippers," "Bugs Bunny's a sexaholic," and "Josie and the Pussycats dance on laps."
ABC’s decision showcases a continuation of the conservative backlash stemming from Janet Jackson’s unfortunate breast “accident” during the Super Bowl halftime show a few years ago. Stepped up and arbitrary fines by the FCC – largely targeted at radio broadcaster and self-appointed King of All Media Howard Stern – have had a trickle-down chilling effect across all broadcast media in terms of creativity and content.
When performers and artists are stripped of the ability to be risky and edgy and risqué, a decline in creativity and quality art is the natural result, to the detriment of us all. Certainly there should be some reasonable standards of decency – particularly for shows aimed toward families – but the line has been continually blurred and spilled over under the Bush Administration, propelled onward relentlessly by conservative organizations and activists like James C. Dobson and his Focus on the Family.
The inability to lampoon the very forces that are fueling the engine of censorship in the United States is disturbing indeed.