Monday, 14 June 2010

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Compton Street?

We all know that Twitter is de rigeur for any celebrity wishing to air their dirty laundry in public. Courtney Love famously begged her daughter for a reconciliation in a rambling series of 140-character missives. Lindsay Lohan documented the end of her adventures in Lesbeteria on the micro-blogging site. And Tila Tequila - well, the less said about that train wreck the better.

So it was interesting to see the blogosphere all abuzz this week with the news that a household name has taken to Twitter to announce their status as an out gay man. If you thought the news about Ricky Martin was the entertainment industry's least surprising revelation, this one will have you wondering why it was ever considered a secret in the first place.

Over the weekend, Bert, one of Sesame Street's long-term residents made the announcement we've all been waiting for, in characteristically oblique fashion:

Given that he and his perennial 'roommate' Ernie have been sharing a bedroom for over forty years, the clues were always there. Whereas Ernie is the playful, mischievous one, Bert has always been more conservative and reserved - which makes it all the more shocking that he would be the first of the two to announce that he's a 'mo. Perhaps he's a member of the muppet branch of the log-cabin republicans.

Likewise, whilst Ernie spends most of his time in the bathroom (playing with his rubber duckie - euphemism alert!), Bert is so unconcerned with personal grooming that he's allowed his monobrow to have full run of his forehead.

The makers of Sesame Street have always denied claims that the fuzzy fellas were more than just good friends, pointing out that Bert even serenaded his 'girlfriend' with a song. The fact that it was called "I want to hold your ear" simply confirms that Bert has been dealing with intimacy issues for some time.

Despite their denials, the Children's Television Workshop should be applauded for their commitment to progressive representations of modern life on the show. After all, Cookie Monster has struggled with substance abuse for years, and Big Bird experienced gender disclocation decades before Chaz Bono went under the knife.

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