Friday, November 21, 2014

All Mascots Must Wear Underpants

You can’t make this stuff up.  All over the news this morning, picked up by all the agencies, is a bit of fundamentalist silliness from Poland. Apparently the good folk of Tuszyn - at least their elected officials - put their heads together in search of a mascot for a children’s playground, and came to the conclusion that whatever it was, it couldn’t be Winnie the Pooh because he’s a hermaphrodite.

Tuszyn, which Wikipedia informs us is a town of some 7,201 souls in Łódź East County, Łódź Voivodeship, less than two hours from the capital, is apparently still mired in the same mindset as the school board of Gilbert, Arizona. Remember them? They're the bozos who wanted to rip pages out of school textbooks that mentioned birth control.  In Tuszyn’s case, the problem is a naked teddy bear.  Both because he's naked and because he doesn’t have genitals.  According to one Tuszyn council member, "It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite."

Now you know God didn’t put hermaphrodites in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve to ride around on dinosaurs or the Bible would have mentioned it.  Guess if you were born with questionable genitals, you’re the same sort of people as those born with an uncertain gender identity.  You’re possessed, in other words.  Wonder if Tuszyn was a sister city of Salem back in the 17th century.

The good folk of this Polish village have not pursued the question of whether Winnie the Pooh suffered from 5-alpha reductase deficiency; androgen insensitivity syndrome, aphallia, clitoromegaly; congenital adrenal hyperplasia; gonadal dysgenesis; mosaicism regarding sex chromosomes; ovo-testes; progestin-induced virilization; Swyer syndrome; Turner syndrome; or Non-Klinefelter XXY. They simply dismissed him tout court.  

Dumb twits.

There is no intelligence requirement to serve on a town council, God knows, or there would be a whole lot fewer town councils.  But where did this dunderheadedness come from?  My first thought was, this is Poland.  It’s got to be a Catholic notion that hermaphrodites (hermaphrodites? Seriously folks? Hermaphrodites?) are bad folk.  I know, I know.  Nobody on the committee actually said “according to my religious beliefs.” But it's highly unlikely the members of the committee belong to the Rodzimy Kościół Polski,  a group of traditional Polish, pre-Christian folk who believe that nature, not religious scriptures is important, and have a kind of live-and-let-live philosophy which puts stock in independent thinking and empathy for one’s fellow creatures.  Far more likely they are members of the church that centers morality on what you do with those things you hide under your underpants and are not supposed to use unless you’re making babies for Heavenly Father. (I use the Mormon term for Big Daddy now that the Catholics have teamed up with the Mormons to save the family.)   

But then again this church, which has a demonstrated sexual dysfunction problem and an unhealthy fascination with the naughty parts, to say nothing of priest-pederasts, celibacy as virtue, opposition to abortion, birth control and women in power positions (if I'm not being redundant here), may not be to blame for this one.

The Aleteia Organization, a conservative web-based Catholic information provider which takes the usual anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-euthanasia church line, informs us that the Church has no official position on hermaphroditism.  At least it’s not mentioned in the Catechism.  No papal statements. No Canon Law addresses the issue.  

According to Father Stephen F. Torraco of the Eternal Word Television Network, a TV network that provides round the clock Catholic answers, “Everyone has a right to be a member of one sex or the other, and... everyone has the right to have the inconsistencies of his sexual anatomy corrected by plastic surgery and/or pharmacological therapy.”  

Since Winnie the Pooh has no genitals to begin with, however, Father Torraco’s advice would seem not to apply.  There is no mention of adding genitals.

So where did this prejudice against children’s sexless toys come from, if not the church?  

Could be they’re just a bunch of silly people worrying about the fact that Winnie doesn’t have a weanie for their own personal reasons. I’m not sure this falls under the rubric of some serious Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden type whistleblowing, (and for a longer list of whistleblowers in history, click here  ) but somebody decided to record the meeting and leak it to the press. And that means we can attribute the folly to particular individuals.    
Hanna Jachimska, for example, blames Alan Alexander Milne for cutting off the Pooh’s testicles with a razor because “he had a problem with his identity (sic).”  

And Ryszard Cichy believes the fact that Winnie is naked is inappropriate for children.  

One has to ask whether Ryszard has ever seen a doll without her/his/its clothes on.

As Timothy McGrath, the author of the story in the Global Post, points out, once you eliminate all the cartoon characters who don't wear underpants (and are therefore arguably hermaphrodites) you're pretty much left with Goofy. And even then, I suspect if you were to take down Goofy's pants, you'd see that no underpants are the least of Goofy's problems, genitally speaking.  

You know those responses people give you when you ask a question to which the answer is obviously yes? Is the pope Catholic? Is the sky blue, is grass green, does a bear shit in the woods? Those are easy answers. The real question is whether, when he's done, he pulls his pants back up.

Wonder if there is a catholic answer for that?

Pooh Bear credit

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