The Saddest Pumpkin in the Whole Wide World!


On Saturday, there will be something called "The Million Puppet March" in Washington, D.C. The goal is to preserve the inalienable right of Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Ira Glass, and other folks to receive federal subsidies that are simultaneously so small as to be meaningless and so vast as to be irreplaceable.

Here's part of the mission statement (emphasis in original):

We believe in public media.  We believe that a strong public broadcasting system builds a stronger nation.  And we believe that it is essential to provide adequate federal funding to our public broadcasters. 

Through federal financial support, we the people of this great nation demonstrate our commitment to providing all Americans, regardless of their location or economic situation, free access to the best quality educational and cultural programming available anywhere, improving learning outcomes, increasing cultural awareness, and informing our electorate. 

To the right is the Halloween offering of the organizers of the march, which studiously avoids the term muppet for what I guess are legal reasons.

A couple of years back, I spoke with WNYC's Brooke Gladstone about why PBS, NPR, and state-sponsored media was not such a good idea. Listen here.

And here's a related vid that lays out the case against tax dollars being used for art (and starts with a great quote from Kevin Spacey talking about how much Abraham Linclon loved the theater—though Our American Cousin, not so much):

NEXT: LA to Pet Stores: You Can't Sell Animals Unless They're Rescued (Nanny of the Month, Oct. '12)

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  1. Was taken?

    1. I would assume Muppet is trademarked.

      1. Yet clearly that trademark is valued next to nothing considering their dire need for funds from the public purse.

        1. I think PBS pays to use Muppets. COuld be wrong. But they don’t own it. That would be The Jim Henson Company.

  2. Does Youtube have no sound today? I was getting problems earlier when I tried to watch some Primus videos.

    1. Primus sucks.

      1. I said that to someone wearing a Primus t-shirt once. He looked at me dumbfounded. Obviously, not a real fan.

      2. No, YOU suck.

  3. Someone should tell the marchers, sponsors are advertisers.

    1. It seriously drives me nuts when NPR tells me they have no ads: brought to you by Angie’s List.

      1. PBS has what, around 8-10 minutes of commercials per hour? “Commercial” television has around 15. And I’m not counting pledge-drive hours, either.

        If PBS went private, they could stick with their current model and do just peachy, I think. There is something convenient about DVRing a solid block of commercial time and blocks of pledge-drive time.

        1. But then they might have to start making shows people want to watch. This is terrible I am told.

          1. Considering 90% of what they show is borrowed from the BBC, they aren’t making much in the first place.

            1. I honestly don’t even know what channel PBS is on.

              1. Psych 1, Psych 2
                What do you know?
                All your life is Channel 13
                Sesame Street
                What does it mean?

              2. I have multiple PBS channels where I live. There’s the regular PBS, with some extra digital channels, then there’s the university PBS, with other extra digital channels. The latter has a dedicated crafty/foody channel, which isn’t bad.

                I like some of their programming, like NOVA (sponsored by the KOCHS!!!!!), some of the various one-off documentaries, some of the BBC programming, and Fred Fucking Rogers.


                  1. I love Mr. Rogers. Assassin turned minister/children’s spokesperson.

                    1. Little-known fact: Capt. Willard in Apocalypse Now was based entirely on the real experiences of Fred Rogers in Vietnam.

                2. I also have multiple PBS stations. NOVA is pretty good, I like ACL too most of the time. Just don’t listen to the musicians interviews at the end.

                  1. They run what look to my eyes quite a lot like infomercials on one of their extra channels. With Dr. Fuhrman and that Dr. Wayne Dyer dude.

                3. Sounds like here where PBS programming is broadcast through UNC. And, yes, the Cook’s County Kitchen is not a bad program. The fried chicken episode is a must watch so my transplant neighbors don’t blow it when they invite me over.

              3. I love PBS. It is pretty much the only thing on broadcast TV that is ever worth watching (and I’m not paying for fucking cable). That said, I think they could do fine without federal funding.

            2. Rogers didn’t serve. He was always in entertainment.

              1. That’s a goddamned lie. He saved my dad’s life by killing an NVA with a tie.

                1. “What the NVA was doing with a tie I haven’t a clue.”

    2. But they’re called “sponsors”, so it’s different! Really!

    3. “This Old House” is one giant product placement.

      1. Bob Vila was the original Billy Mays.

        1. OT but my son was Billy Mays for Halloween last night. Apparently Billy Mays is a folk hero for the under 15 crowd.

          1. I highly recommend searching your sons room for cocaine. Once you find it, call me and we’ll meet at the nearest house of ill repute.

            1. I’ll bring the hookers.

            2. Hey, that’s not Oxiclean!

              1. I thought he was selling Oxicaine.

              2. Oxiclean is probably the ultimate buzz.

                I will tell a true story here that reminds me of.

                I once had a kiosk in a mall, and my mom had a kiosk also and a friend of hers as well. Her friend was a total lush. I was only in my late 20s and my moms friend was mid 40s and always getting drunk at work and hitting on me.

                She would put vodka in different product containers to hide it and get soda to mix it with.

                One day she had vodka in a wool wash bottle on a very dead Sunday afternoon. So she was down at my kiosk and we were drinking this vodka out of a wool wash bottle. And one of the other bored kiosk vendors came by, an Asian lady that we knew, probably in her mid 40s like my mom and her friend, the lush hornball.

                So she comes by and I was a little buzz because in between swigs of wool wash, I was sneaking off to a nearby bar and having beers. So I pulled out this bottle of wool wash and asked the nice Asian lady if she wanted to join us in drinking wool wash, and I took a big swig right out of the bottle. You should have seen the look of horror on her face and she told me ‘you can’t drink that!’, lol. So she went and told my mom that I was drinking some sort of detergent and was going to die, lol. Funny shit.

                1. Did you nail the lush or not? Your storytelling skills need work.

                  1. Not a cool story, bro?

                  2. Fuck you, Epi. My story telling is epic, so don’t trash it or I won’t tell more of them on boring threads like this. No, I didn’t and she tried to rape me!

                2. Yeah, what Epi said.

                3. Was the drunk cougar hot or not? Your story fucking sucks, brah.

                  1. Was the drunk cougar hot or not? no, but she had booze. You guys don’t have any sense of humor.

            3. He couldn’t have nailed her, because he worked with his mom at kiosks at the mall.

              1. He couldn’t have nailed her, because he worked with his mom at kiosks at the mall

                I didn’t work with my mom. I had my own little business, you know, free enterprise and all that shit. And that was one of the best places ever to pick up women, until they invented the internet.

                1. Anyway, the funny part was the look on this ladies face when she thought I was actually drinking wool wash. You would have to be there, but it was fucking hilarious.

                  1. If you didn’t nail the lush, you shouldn’t have told the story. I believe everyone is in agreement with me that this was a cougar-fucking story FAIL.

                    1. Why the fuck wouldn’t you nail the ugly drunk cougar? Have you no regard for the listeners to your stories?

                    2. Throw yourself on that grenade, so we get a good story!

                    3. Ok, Warty, next time I tell a story about alcoholic women in their 40s, I promise that there will be nailing.

                    4. THAT’S BETTER.

                    5. Only thing is, Epi, it wasn’t a fucking cougar nail thread, you guys have a one track mind. Only 99% of life is about nailing cougars, there are other things, geessh. I should have known better.

                      The crazy lush tried to rape me one day. She asked me to come out to her van to help her get some boxes of merchandise that were heavy and then when I got there, those weren’t the package that she had in mind and she grabbed me and tried to drag me into her van. After that I stayed the F away from her as much as possible. If she would have been hot, I could have nailed her at leisure, right in the mall aisles if I wanted since she tended to stay in a perpetual state of drunk/horny.

                    6. You declined being raped in a van? by an ugly drunk cougar What the fuck is wrong with you?!?!?

                    7. See, I’m so upset that Im; put’ting ! punctuation marks in the wrong. place WHY HAVE YUO DONE THIS TO ME HYPERION@#

                    8. You declined being raped in a van? by an ugly drunk cougar What the fuck is wrong with you?!?!?

                      Not enough beer and wool wash that day? Look, she was at least a case of beer fugly, ok?

                    9. Why do you persist in telling a story that does not involve you nailing a cougar? Have I not made myself abundantly clear?

                    10. because it isn’t every day that you have someone running to your mother to protect you from the evils of drinking wool wash. I was laughing about that shit for years. It’s still one of the funniest things I’ve personally experienced.

                    11. What about your mom? Is she hot and/or slutty?

                    12. She’s 70 now Warty, I surely hope that you wouldn’t find her hot, but I dunno, you are Warty after all.

          2. Apparently Billy Mays is a folk hero for the under 15 crowd.

            It’s thanks to Billy Mays and the miracle of Cipotlaway that people can eat at Chipotle without ending up with blood stains in their underwear. And for that, we salute you, Billy Mays.

        2. Bob Ross was always shilling for fluffy little clouds too.

          1. Bob Ross would be a good costume if you could do the voice.

            1. If I’m going to have a whitefro, I’ll go as McEnroe: The Borg Years. It’s more fun, and “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS” is easier than imitating Bob Ross.

              1. If I’m ever in Seattle for Halloween, I’ll dress as Borg.

                1. That would be appropriate considering you’re my arch-enemy.

                    1. Dibs on going as a Borg.

                    2. All Borgs should go trick-or-treating as a team. Bj?rn, “the”, Larry Springborg, various cyborgs, etc.

          2. Don’t forget The Count and the damn number 5.

          3. He was special forces in the ‘Nam and could kill you with his bare hands if he wanted to.

            1. His war paintings are his most haunting work. The trees in them that he painted in 20 seconds are just amazing.

              1. He used to paint dead gooks (his wording) for the CIA’s propaganda efforts. After a while, their faces appeared before him enough in dreams that he had to go strictly to pleasant landscapes.

                His captain, Fred Rogers, talked him into doing television. Capt. Rogers, of course, was a highly decorated Special Forces assassin.

                I’ve also heard–this is unconfirmed–that they also served with another future TV performer, Hugh Brannum. Who was Frank Zappa’s father.

                1. Hyperion, now this is epic storytelling.

              2. He adapted his “wet-on-wet” painting technique in order to more accurately portray the gore of battlefield disembowelment. Secretary McNamara saw some of Ross’s work and was so disturbed, he began Ross’s discharge paperwork himself.

  4. federal subsidies that are simultaneously so small as to be meaningless and so vast as to be irreplaceable.


    1. Quantum spending, as it were.

      Schroedinger’s lockbox!

  5. This is too stupid not to be a parody.

  6. Will the million muppet march be periodically interrupted by pledge drives?

  7. So they are admitting that they are all puppets that need the State to continue keeping its hand up their ass to firmly control them?

  8. “Million Muppet March” is a very accurate description of this protest.

    1. Well, except for the “Million” part.

      1. Just because one muppet has his hand up the ass of another muppet doesn’t mean they don’t count, you bigot.

        1. I’m picturing a binary tree made up of muppets and muppeteers, each fisting two others, stretching across the National Mall.

          1. Doesn’t this mean that all the puppet makers will be in one spot at one time? A once in a lifetime opportunity to rid mankind of this scourge once and for all?


            1. Argh. Insert “giant paper-mache” before ‘puppet’.

              1. It works either way.

  9. Through federal financial support, we the people of this great nation demonstrate our commitment to providing all Americans, regardless of their location or economic situation, free access to the best quality educational and cultural programming available anywhere

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! *inhales deeply* BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!11!!!!!!!

    *wipes away tears, struggles to catch breath* Oh man, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. Thanks, “Million Puppet March”.

  10. Isn’t trivializing the Million Man March, an important event in the civil rights struggle, essentially racist?

    Is that what the black man’s struggle for equal rights is to these people–do they think black people are just a bunch of silly puppets?

      1. Well, apparently these people imagine themselves so immune to charges of racism that they feel like they can trivialize the the struggle for civil rights with the struggle for…puppets?!

        These progressives should be ashamed of their racist behavior, and they won’t learn anything from this if we don’t call them out for it.

        1. Do you think there are people who think that Fred Rogers was a racist? Or Bob Ross?

          Say, what is it with PBS and all of these pristine, peaceful people? Are the Kochs behind this?

    1. I want to see Cookie Monster at the door of PBS demanding “Subsidy now, subsidy tomorrow, subsidy forever!”

      1. I’d donate to PBS to see that.

  11. I can’t believe no one’s done it yet.

    We believe that a strong public broadcasting system builds a stronger nation.

    You know who else believed that a strong public broadcasting system builds a stronger nation?

    1. I want my,
      I want my,
      I want my NTV.

      1. Incorrect, only Super Grover believes that. Grover himself is an anarcho-syndicalist. He takes it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

        1. I thought Grover was in a autonomous collective?

          1. You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes–

          2. I thought he served two non-consecutive terms. Or is that some other Grover?

              1. I always figured Kermit wielded some sort of supreme authority. I mean, he does seem to be the face of the Muppet empire.

                1. Well, I didn’t vote for him!

                  1. You don’t vote for Supreme Muppet!

                  2. The Miss Piggy of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Kermit, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your Supreme Muppet.

  12. Speaking of PBS, they have been reduced to reality TV. They have this show now called Market Warriors where a bunch of antique experts go to flea markets and compete. That is fine enough. The show is watchable and has this hot southern blond (complete with the top shelf southern white girl name Miller Gaffney) I find quite charming.

    But this needs taxpayer funding why?

    1. Now that surprises me. I figured they’d steer clear of that crap to avoid people saying exactly what you are.

      It shocks me that people think the debate is between PBS and no PBS. PBS could keep going almost exactly as it is without a dime of government money. It’s the perfect example of totally unnecessary government spending. What makes the whole business even worse is that neither party seems at all interested in reducing the funding of PBS and NPR, despite the rhetoric.

      1. Where I live I have three PBS stations, one for VA, Maryland and the District. There are nights when all three are running what amounts to informercials selling music to boomers. It is rediculous. There are only a handful of shows that actually fulfill that PBS mission,

        Leher Newshour,
        American Experience
        American Masters
        Great Performances
        Masterpiece Theater

        That is it. And Masterpiece Theater is just rebroadcast BBC. If it went away BBC America would be showing the same shows. You don’t think Downton Abby wouldn’t have gotten picked up? It is bad enough they want our tax money. But they don’t even bother to do their jobs anymore.

        1. And they don’t even play Dr. Who anymore, I don’t think. That’s all BBC America. And it sucks. Give me Tom Baker back.

          1. The new one is really lame.

          2. Dr. Who had two justifications in its entire existence: The theme song and Tom Baker.

            1. And Elizabeth Sladen. I always have liked prim English birds like her.

            2. Tom Baker is great, but I like Jon Pertwee and Peter Davidson at least as much.

              1. While I hardly ever watched the show even when Baker was on, that’s heresy.

                1. Baker was great because he inhabited the character so well. But the other guys I mentioned were actually pretty good actors. I think that everyone can at least agree that those three were the peak of the show.

        2. PBS has some good programming still, and has introduced the country to some great British stuff like Python and The Prisoner. But we don’t need to subsidize it. Even discarding the whole libertarian mindset for a moment.

          1. They served a great purpose introducing all of us the British Television, in 1981. But with the internet and satillite TV, that need has kind of passed.

            And why don’t they produce their own docs anymore? Can they find a film maker not named Ken Burns? They used to do NOVA and Free Minds Free Markets or whatever that Milty Friedman show was. What do they do now?

            1. I’ve been watching Free TO Choose (that’s teh Milton Friedman thing) on YouTube recently. It is pretty great. I wish people could make a show like that now. You get a half hour documentary by Friedman first, showing his pint of view, then a half hour discussion of the video with people of varying views. And it is usually a pretty good discussion.
              I’ve also been amazed at how little the debates on things like public education and welfare have changed. Education especially. The exact same arguments were being had 30 years ago.

              1. You know, with all of the money baths the Kochs have, why don’t they start a libertarian-biased news network? Before anyone says it, a lot of that would appeal to people who watch Fox News–in other words, it’s not just for the pure libertarian audience, all sixteen of us.

          2. Not NOVA but Cosmos. Cosmos was freaking classic. They rebroadcast those on the Science Channel a while back. And they had aged really well. Still good.

            1. They still have NOVA, of course, but it’s not as consistently good as it used to be.

              I agree, some of the stuff they did as one-offs, like Cosmos and Free to Choose were excellent. And they did demonstrate the possibility that not-for-profit TV might be worth doing as an alternative, at least before one million channels and the Internet. But even so, that doesn’t require government subsidizing.

        3. I like Frontline, but I’ve never watched it on PBS. Always online.

    2. Cute. But, disappointingly, there are no titty pictures anywhere to be found. Fuck you, PBS.

      1. Just wait until they lose their federal funding under EVIL WILLARD. Then, perhaps, your dreams will be realized. PBS After Dark.

        1. “PBS After Dark.”

          People are wondering why I am laughing in a quite evil manner…thanks for that.

          1. It would be all fun and games until Judy Woodruff started getting her kit off.

          2. That alone could finance the entire PBS empire.

          3. I just had this weird vision of commercial PBS doing NOVA with Katy Perry narrating.

            1. While jumping on a trampoline?

              1. Whoa. It’s like you’re in my head.

        2. Is that the one where David Hasselhoff moonlights as a private dice?

          1. Come on now, there are hundreds of thousands of angled surfaces on the human body that you can print numbers on.

            1. ?Como se dick “dados?”

      2. You have to have the whole experience. It is her accent and manorism that make her sexy. She is just the classic southern soriority girl you always wanted to bang but never could quite meet or get that far with her.

        1. I saw a couple of girls like that at Vanderbilt, when I was down there for a rugby match. Just wasn’t going to happen, but they sure were something to look at and listen to!

        2. I don’t know, her smile makes it look like she just one lip stick misapplication away from being the Joker.

          I still have a fondness in my heart for the fine folks at the PBS station who brought us Overdrawn At The Memory Bank with the late Raul Julia. And there’s a great drinking game via Frasier for those who watch Antiques Roadshow.

          Of course if any of these shows were good they could surely support themselves.

          1. OatMB was a fucking weird show, man.

            1. I’ve only seen it on an episode of MST3K.

              The best line was in a scene where there was snow failling: “This is the amount of pure cocaine you would have to snort to enjoy this movie.”

              1. *snow falling*

                Fucking typing, how does it work?

    3. But this needs taxpayer funding why?

      Same reason Yanni and boomer nostalgia rock concerts do, I guess.

  13. “Vote 4 Art”

    What kind of fucking retard needs the government to “validate” art?

    The same retards who believe the government should “validate” their personal relationships, I guess.

    1. Yeah, that’s a weird one. People have made art at all times and under all circumstances and now all of a sudden government funding is absolutely necessary. It’s just the leftovers from European nobles as patron of the arts.



    1. I’ve shared this song parody and image before, but it just seems so amazingly apropos now.

  15. Urkobold locks my computer up tighter than Fort Knox; screw you, Bjorn.

    1. Really? Why? It’s not like we have ads or anything. Is it Blogger?

  16. We believe in public media. We believe that a strong public broadcasting system builds a stronger nation. And we believe that it is essential to provide adequate federal funding to our public broadcasters.

    Well, they certainly live up to the name “puppet”

  17. Really? Why?


    1. Now I’m pissed. No wonder we have circulation numbers in the double digits.

      1. It used to give me problems too, but losing the black background seemed to help.

        1. As much as I resent the universe itself for having to admit it, it was Episiarch’s idea. If nagging and whining constitutes an “idea”, anyway.

          Not like I have much time to post lately, anyway.

  18. i forget where I heard this (and maybe the more intrepid researchers here could confirm) … but i recall someone once saying something like 80% of the revenues PBS ‘generates’ is entirely from Jim Leher’s News Hour

    Basically, they are the one ‘profitable’ program, and everything else is a pile of subsidized shit

    Which makes sense, because the News Hour is fucking awesome

    Bill Moyers on the other hand … ugh. Just what the world needs= Johnson’s former press secretary pretending to be a sanctimonious moral nanny. By the way Bill = all your bosses’ ‘great ideas’ bankrupted the nation within your lifetime! Kudos

    1. Yeah, News Hour is easily the bets news program on TV. Not that that is a very high bar. But it is very good.

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