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MALTATODAY 18 September 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 18 SEPTEMBER 2022 COMMENT What are we skinning? Na- tionalist MP Edwin Vassallo's objection to an episode of Peppa Pig which introduces a character raised by a same-sex (lesbian) polar bear couple, on the grounds that this is, appar- ently, yet another example of "enforced ideological indoctri- nation" that is corrupting our children and robbing them of their essential innocence in early years. Why are we skinning it? Be- cause it's yet another example of elements of the Nationalist Party regaling us with mo- ments of true-blue nostalgia, when the world was simpler and all the more bigoted and patriarchal for being so, and when the dictates of the Church were considered to actually be gospel by a sizeable part of the Maltese population. Yes, I miss the days of stolid masculine leaders who en- forced our ideological norms with staunch conviction. Mintoff vs Eddie was such a re- assuring binary for many. It all started going downhill the moment brainiacs like Alfred Sant started cutting in on the action. We don't need no Har- vard education! Give me that perit action and that provincial village lawyer grit, and I'm hap- py as pie. This is why it's so important to fight for our right to remain narrow-minded and pig-head- ed in our simple ignorance (no pun intend- ed). That's right. If you keep the o u t s i d e world at bay, it cannot pos- sibly hurt you. Thinking along the lines of that mindset, it's no surprise that kids' cartoons become a covert threat. Much like the cockroaches that your adora- ble fluffy cat brings in as a gift under the cover of night, Pep- pa Pig and its ilk are insidious messengers for the outside world. When in fact we all want to be safe as houses, literally. What's the point of building houses, otherwise? We certainly seem to be build- ing a lot of them. It's some- thing Edwin Vassallo should consider. If society were in fact so corrupt, then why are we so keen on aggressively building the exact same structures that would keep the outside world at bay? We are even destroying large swathes of our true-blue na- tional landscape to do so, to say nothing of traditional vil- lage cores which would previ- ously be dwarfed by the Church and nothing else. Yes, now that you mention it, the threat of vi- cious polar bears – lesbian or not – feels rather remote, when considering more immediate risks. Do say: "Equating the mere ap- pearance of LGBTIQ+ characters in children's entertainment with explicit material is irrational on top of being reactionary: it as- sumes that all there is to the lifestyle is explicit sex, and it dehumanises gay people every- where." Don't say: "Poor Edwin clearly didn't get the memo, though. Shaking your fist at token gay characters in kids' cartoons is no longer the cool right-wing rallying cry. Now it's all about advocating incessantly on how fantasy elves and talking mer- maids should not, under any circumstance, be portrayed by black actors." Russian mercenaries in Ukraine OPINION PAGE 6 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON The Queen is dead... long live whoever is next PAGE 5 No 157 – Attack of the Lesbian Polar Bears RAPHAEL VASSALLO Air Malta is also 'too big to fail'… PAGES 10 & 11 EDITORIAL Too easy to say: 'Malta is full up' PAGE 2 CLARIA CUTAJAR Failing to enact the new Equality Act leaves workers vulnerable to abuse PAGE 12 Private military companies are used because they are cheaper over the long term, not requiring governments to pay for soldiers' retirements and health benefits

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