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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tolerance? Diversity? Don’t be sick!

Doug Clark The Spokesman-Review

Thinking back on what I saw on the screen last Thanksgiving in a dark Seattle cinema, the signs should have been obvious.

The shrill, affected voice. The flamboyant behavior. The singing. The tap dancing …

And, hey, what heterosexual marine life lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Now the truth is known.

SpongeBob SquarePants is so gay he could host a “Queer Sponge for the Straight Manta Ray” makeover series.

The superstar cartoon celebrity has been outed.

To paraphrase a national news story: A number of leading Christian fundamentalist lunatics are claiming a multicultural children’s video starring SpongeBob and other imaginary TV characters promotes the acceptance of gay and lesbian families.

I feel so stupid.

When my daughter’s boyfriend dragged me to “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie,” I drifted off to sleep after a half-hour.

From what I recall:

King Neptune’s crown is stolen and the crime is framed on the innocent Mr. Krabs. To save him, SpongeBob and Patrick, his very close friend (which now takes on a whole new meaning), embark on a dangerous mission to …

ZZzzzzzz …

Obviously I should have stayed awake and paid more attention to what SpongeBob has going on under his square pants.

This isn’t the first time the alternative lifestyle of a children’s TV character has been exposed.

A few years ago, the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s gay-dar went off about Tinky Winky, the purse-carrying member of the “Teletubbies” show.

“He is purple – the gay pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol,” stated an article in Falwell’s National Liberty Journal.

And by now, everyone has heard the rumors about the “real” relationship between Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie.

They live together. They take baths together. They sing about rubber duckies …

I never believed a word of this until I saw them dancing together at Dempsey’s one night.

Now it’s SpongeBob corrupting the moral decency of America.

He probably smokes coral reefers, too.

“We see this video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids,” said one of the wackadoo holy rollers in the news story.

The children’s video is called “We Are Family.” In it, SpongeBob and other apparently sexually confused pals (Barney the Dinosaur, Big Bird, Clifford the Big Red Dog …) sing that old disco hit, “We Are Family.”

“We are family.

“I got all my sisters with me.

“We are family.

“Get up everybody and sing.”

The whole idea behind the video, states the We Are Family Web site, is to “speak the message of diversity and tolerance to elementary school children nationwide.”

Expose our young to tolerance and diversity?

How sick can you get?

All this got me to thinking how ignorant I am when it comes to the subject of homosexuality in the Sponge Kingdom.

For the record, I personally believe what takes place between two consenting sea creatures is their own swishy squishy business.

But for purposes of science, I placed an emergency telephone call to Susan Malm, a life sciences instructor at Spokane Community College.

Malm confessed that she had never understood the fascination with SpongeBob.

Many of us in the straight world feel this way.

But as far as sponge hanky panky goes, Malm says these primitive aquatic critters can reproduce both “asexually and sexually.”

It’s even worse than the morality police imagined.

SpongeBob SquarePants swims both ways.

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