“Moment of Joy” becomes one of the most talked-about illustrations in the storied history of the popular periodical!
In celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision allowing gay marriage, New Yorker magazine put Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie on the cover … together … embracing on the couch … gazing at a scene featuring the Supreme Court Justices on their television set.
Drawn by Arizona-based illustrator Jack Hunter, the picture is titled “Moment of Joy.” Producers for the children’s show said they wouldn’t be commenting on the portrayal. In 2011, the producers did just that, as they then addressed rumors about the characters’ sexuality, insisting Bert and Ernie are just friends.
The cover art was actually a re-purposed rendering that Hunter created last May, after President Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts that he supported gay marriage.
In the 2012 version, the “Sesame Street” characters are positioned in the same spot but instead of the nine Supreme Court Justices on their TV, there is a screen grab of President Obama from the interview.
The artist commented last year that he’s “certainly not the first person to speculate about Bert & Ernie’s more personal and private relationship. I thought they were well suited to represent how a lot of gay couples must have felt hearing Obama’s comments (to ABC’s Roberts) … after all, they’ve been together for almost 50 years … as ‘just friends’ or otherwise,” Hunter said last May.
Is this conversation really happening? About muppets?
During his interview with Roberts on May 9, President Obama said “I’ve just concluded that … for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that … I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Given their on-screen closeness, Bert and Ernie’s relationship has gone under the microscope but producers have denied anything but a platonic rapport. The fact they felt compelled to comment in the first place is amazing, but a subject for another discussion. When defending (are they really defending? another topic, another day) themselves in 2011, the “Sesame Street” producers stated “Bert and Ernie are best friends … They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves…they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
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