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Million Puppet March for PBS November 3 in Washington

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by Phillip, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    It's official, this is happening Saturday November 3...

    Million Muppet March planned to defend 'Sesame Street' and PBS

    Plans to save Big Bird, the fuzzy yellow character on U.S. public television's "Sesame Street," from possible extinction are taking shape in the form of a puppet-based protest next month dubbed the "Million Muppet March."

    The demonstration is planned for Nov. 3 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., three days before the general election.

    Before the presidential debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney had concluded on Oct. 3, two men who had never met each floated the Million Muppet March idea on social media. They immediately united to defend public broadcasting.

    Romney pledged during the debate to end the U.S. federal government's subsidy for the Public Broadcasting Service despite his professed love for Big Bird, one of the characters on PBS's 43-year-old children's educational program "Sesame Street," which features the Muppets.

    Michael Bellavia, 43, an animation executive from Los Angeles, and Chris Mecham, 46, a university student in Idaho, separately came up with the Million Muppet March idea in response.

    Big Bird, played by actor Carroll Spinney in an 8-foot bird costume, is strictly speaking not a member of the group of puppet characters known as the Muppets.

    Bellavia bought the Internet address www.millionmuppetmarch.com during the debate and discovered Mecham had already started a Facebook page by the same name.

    Within 30 minutes of the end of the debate they were on the phone with each other, planning the march.

    "I figured, why just make it a virtual show of support? Why not take this opportunity because it seemed like there was already a growing interest in it and actually make it an active, participatory event," Bellavia said. "I literally just said, 'It's happening.'"

    Both men consider themselves fans of "Sesame Street," perhaps the best-known program on PBS, which received $445 million of $3.8 trillion in federal budget outlays in 2012.

    Coming from rural Idaho, Mecham said he was aware how important public broadcasting was in sparsely populated areas that receive no other signals over the air.

    "Romney was using Muppets as a rhetorical device to talk about getting rid of public broadcasting, which is really so much bigger than 'Sesame Street,' " Mecham said. "While he was still talking I was thinking of ways I could express my frustration at that argument. Before the debates were over I had put up the Million Muppet March Facebook page."

    The two men said they immediately decided to work together.

    Mecham is a writer who is studying political science at Boise State University out of his interest in healthcare policy.

    Bellavia is president of the animation studio Animax Entertainment, founded by former Second City actor Dave Thomas.

    They may fall short of attracting a million people, or Muppets, to the event, but they do hope to create what Bellavia called a "lovefest" featuring skits and musical performances with Muppets.

    "It does seem like we might get close to the biggest ever assemblage of puppets in one place," he said, "and probably the most ever puppets marching on Washington."

    The Million Man March was a gathering held on the National Mall on October 16, 1995 to promote civil rights, with an emphasis on African Americans, and was led by rights advocate Louis Farrakhan.


    Muppet fan 123 likes this.
  2. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Oh brother...

    Just what we need...

    Occupy Sesame St.
  3. Aaron

    Aaron Active Member

    There is really no reason for this.
    Pinkflower7783 likes this.
  4. RobintheBrave

    RobintheBrave New Member

    Agreed. The phrase "beating a dead horse" comes to mind. Especially since they're trying to "defend" PBS against legislation that hasn't even been formally proposed yet. This isn't about celebrating the Muppets; it's about making a political statement just before election day.
    Pinkflower7783 likes this.
  5. Briarosethorn

    Briarosethorn New Member

    Your right, its not about celebrating The Muppets, or Sesame Street. However, I think it is an important political event for people who are interested in making sure Sesame Street, and other PBS programs can remain on air commercial free (it is possible that it wouldn't go off the air if government spending stopped, but this event could help reassure that it wouldn't.) Honestly, I can see this turning into another political thread, so I'm just saying right now, if anyone finds such conversations annoying, this may not be a good thread to read :)

    I'm disappointed that I can't attend (I live in California), but I think its a great idea! I hope a lot of people show up!
    Muppet fan 123 and CensoredAlso like this.
  6. Pinkflower7783

    Pinkflower7783 Well-Known Member

    Oh good grief it never ends. :rolleyes:
  7. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    ...Which of course just makes it all the more "Muppety"
  8. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Good luck to the both of them, but i fail to see how this will help anyone or anything in the end.
  9. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm, I wonder if the Michael Steel Muppet/Puppet from The Daily Show will join the protest.

    Hibbledy-jibbledy! Nailed it!
    LouisTheOtter likes this.
  10. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I think it's a nice idea. I've talked to far too many people online (not here) whining about how PBS is "wasting their tax dollars." What's tragic is these people most likely grew up on Sesame Street or their children did. I hate when people benefit from something and then just toss it aside.
    Briarosethorn and Muppet fan 123 like this.
  11. MuppetsRule

    MuppetsRule Well-Known Member

    Agreed wholeheartedly. They are using the Sesame Street characters and the Muppets to make a political statement. :wisdom: :grouchy: They couldn't really care less about the Muppets. They are just being used.
  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I agree to that, mainly because there's just SOOOOO many more worthy causes that Romney and the Republicans stand on that deserve these protests that never actually do anything anyway.

    But I stress, this was the closest thing to a gaffe Romney had in that debacle, of course they're going to run with it. Still, I wanted Leher to rush the stage and spit on his face for basically saying "I wanna get rid of your job, loser."

    Seriously. Where is NASA's Million Scientist March?

    They're forced fed propaganda about what PBS really takes in. I don't know where I saw it, but 7% think they get 50% of the government's budget (!), and 30% think they get a less cartoonish, but still exaggerated number (I forget which). I understand conservative/libertarian "I don't want to pay for anything ever" bit, but how come when it comes to PBS or some other institution that gets less than a cent per person they blow a gasket, but when it comes to Exxon, GE, or anyone else getting billions of dollars in "subsidies" (read: Corproate Welfare), they're suspiciously silent? I don't know about you, but I don't WANT my money going to people who make more money than I do so they can pad their profits.

    But PBS... oh yeah! We need that four hundred million. That adds up to not even closing off part of the debt.
    CensoredAlso likes this.
  13. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    See we're comming to another thing where the Muppets name is going to get used, and they are not coming out and saying anything about the issue. Anyone remember the Henson/Chick-Fil-a issue. everyone started doing signs and things with the classic Muppet Show Muppets saying they support or don't support a certain issue.

    Romney said Big Bird's name in the fisrt debate and everyone is going crazy. They wanted to cut funding to PBS for a long time and nothing has come of it. Evreyone needs to slow down and wait and see what happens before we go running around doing useless protesets, you want to do a million person march, do it to get The Muppet Show Seaosns 4 and 5 on DVD then you will have my support.
    Cindy and Pinkflower7783 like this.
  14. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Remember it? It's just like THIS issue, it won't go away.
    Pinkflower7783 likes this.
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    And also like both of them, there's a deeper problem in both issues that NO ONE wants to talk about.
  16. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I don't like that they're calling it a "Million Muppet March" when from the sounds of the article it's really a "million puppet march". People need to know that not all puppets are Muppets (even when the Jim Henson Company owned all of its creations).

    I would be interested in seeing some drawings that try to get in a million Muppets marching. It would make a good Muppet TV special.
  17. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Sesame is not going to support this, even when Big bird was on SNL he did not say anything about what was said durring the debate. Sesame did come out with a statement, which was a good one I might add, but that should be it and is all that this is.

    This issue is not something that the people at Sesame are considered with (I hope) they are considered with teaching kids on how to be ready for pre school, and other issues that affect kids. Look at all of the work that Sesame has done to help our service families since these wars have began. Sesame has been helping kids cope with what can be the tragities of war, and I hope they are able to contiue with other issues that kids these days have to face.

    This is just two people trying to make names for themselves and their party and using Sesame and the Muppets to help them do so. Nothing more and nothing less.
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    This may not be sanctioned by Sesame Street, but it's not exactly sanctioned by the president or the Democratic party either. it's a joke gone too far and a dead horse that's been beaten, but it's not under the advisement of any politician. Let's get that straight.

    Second of all, I do agree there are many valid concerns about Romney, this just isn't one of them. Reps have always been after PBS, mainly because they can't use it to manipulate a political base. They have non-strawmen right wing commentators on their round table shows regularly, and apparently that's not good enough. Maybe because they talk to people like adults, but that's all about showmanship and ratings for the big boys.

    Third... where the heck is the One Million "I already give a chunk of my paycheck to the oil companies to fill up my car, why give them another chunk to bribe them to create jobs?" March? PBS is constantly wronged, and I swear that they DO get slashed budgets all the time (the constant pledge weeks of programming directed specifically at those on social security is kind of a tip off), but no one ever raises a stink about where we really waste money. How about a One Million "You paid HOW much for a Toilet seat?" March? or a One Million "For the love of PETE! Stop hiring your incompetent, inbred relatives at high pay" March?

    And lastly, like I said... I wanna respect Sesame Workshop for trying to not take sides, but it just gets clearer and clearer they don't want to look like they are choosing side. That Fox News joke really gave them bad PR (two years down the line), and they're trying to shy away from anything that makes them look biased... even though they'd benefit from a certain side that doesn't want to slash the funding. I say good for them, yes... but at the same time, don't bite the hand that feeds you a single digit percentage of your overall take.
  19. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Here is kind of what my point is about Sesame Street. It's more then a show, the people that work on the show don't just punch a time clock and go home. They honestly care about the people that they reach through the show.

    On the last Muppetcast there was some feedback about a fan that had the wonderful chance to visit the set of Sesame and had Mr. Kevin Clash give them a tour. Now I'm not going to go into all the details of why she was there or what took place but it is a very touching story and how not just Kevin but everyone that was there treated this fan and her condition.

    Here is a link to here blog post about the visit:

    This shows that it's more then just a kids show. It is a help, a healer if you will to people not only kids who love the show and what it stands for. The last thing that the folks at Sesame need to be concerned with is what one party says in a debate, but how better to help servre their fans.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Sesame Workshop does great things all over the world, and you better believe they get flack from extremists in other countries for it. There are objections that are outright disgusting from people who want to make sure kids grow up to be as angry and vengeful as the easily controlled adults. The guff the Israeli and Palestinian versions of the show gets is brutal. The show is meant to touch everyone, regardless of background. That's right.

    Still, when it comes to the political attention the show got, there's a simple matter of people not knowing when passive aggressiveness goes a little too far. Obama's campaign should have stuck with it just as an inner joke and letting the joke die after the second day. Then the GOP got even more passive aggressive about it, even though Romney was the one that brought it up in the first place.

    I don't see how an independently formed march is any problem on one side or the other. No one listens to these things with exceptions I won't talk about.

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