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5 Times Ted Cruz Fought With Kiddie Entertainment

Forget school shootings. Ted Cruz wants to protect kids from Buzz Lightyear and Big Bird.
Forget school shootings. Ted Cruz wants to protect kids from Buzz Lightyear and Big Bird. Chip Somodevilla/Getty
One of the most interesting and less infuriating facts about Sen. Ted Cruz is his love for movies and TV shows. He seems to have a knowledge of pop culture on a par with the likes of Seth MacFarlane and yours truly, and can quote and reference Star Wars and The Simpsons in improvised quips and speeches with ease. Cruz would make an excellent trivia night partner if he wasn't, you know, Ted Cruz, the politician you'd most like to have a beer with so you could stick him with the check.

Cruz's knowledge and interest in pop culture is infuriating when mixed with his far-right leanings. He uses his clued-in powers to jump on "controversies" he contrives himself because he's so aware of how they will hit the right-wing market, and picking on children's entertainment is an unfailing key to riling up his base.

Add the fact that Cruz's filter between his mouth and his brain is thinner than a dollar store gauze pad and you can see why he's prone to have disagreements with cartoon characters and puppets. Here's just a sample of the fights our senator has picked with fictional characters, presumably because they can't talk back. 
1. Big Bird on Sesame Street
As a pop culture junkie, Cruz is also an early spotter of trends, which is why he was one of the first and loudest voices standing up for anti-vaxxers in the wake of coronavirus. He also seems to understand the Boris Johnson method of media attention: The craziest voice with the goofiest face gets the most attention. That's the most rational explanation we can fathom for why Cruz loves to pick on carefully arranged piles of felt.

Just over a year and four months into the pandemic, the official Twitter account for Sesame Street's signature character Big Bird, the abnormally tall, yellow-feathered character originally voiced by the late Caroll Spinney, posted on Twitter that he got vaccinated against COVID-19. Cruz retweeted the fake bird's message, characterizing it as "government propaganda" for children. Big Bird may have the brain size of a bird, but he had the sense not to respond to Cruz's obvious baiting. Thankfully, Westworld actor and activist Jeffrey Wright did it for him, and replied, "If Big Bird speaks on behalf of the government, what is it that you do exactly?"
2. Elmo on Sesame Street
Cruz seems to be working his way down the list of beloved Sesame Street characters to see how many he can insult before people start to wonder why he's so tuned in to a children's educational show. This time, he went after Elmo, which is actually sort of understandable. Parents across the world have been cursing the crimson Muppet's name ever since he inspired the most annoying and coveted children's toy in the history of manufacturing. Of course, Cruz seems like the kind of guy who would give a kid a Tickle Me Elmo just to annoy the kid's parents.

Cruz went after Elmo because the character also dared to try and teach families a lesson about health. Cruz replied to a scene from the kids' show on Twitter last June in which Elmo and his dad, Louie — who looks like The Dude if he had a 401K — talk about getting vaccinated against COVID. Louie addresses the camera and admits he still had questions about the vaccine and doubts about whether he was making the right choice, which he discussed with a healthcare professional. Cruz commended Louie's parenting skills, which is bizarre to begin with, then laid into Elmo for "aggressively" advocating for parents to get their children vaccinated.

3. Mickey Mouse and Pluto
Cruz has a podcast, which is annoying enough news on its own, and unsurprisingly, he uses it to continue his fight against fictional characters.

Ever since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that prevented instruction regarding sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools, the Republican Party began waging a heavy, steady war against The Walt Disney Company over its refusal to back DeSantis' legislation.

So, it's not a surprise that Cruz couldn't resist jumping into his party's Disney hate fest. The surprise is how he decided to do it. Cruz tried to characterize Disney's media as purveyors of pro-gay and -lesbian propaganda, saying during a live taping of Verdict with Ted Cruz at the University of Alabama that "in every episode now, they're gonna have Mickey and Pluto going at it" and that "you can always shift to Cinemax if you want that."

It's just weird that out of all the inarguably hot Disney characters Cruz could've chosen to star in his hypothetical porno, he went straight for the gay bestiality scenario by picking a mouse and his dog. Let's just hope and pray he never accidentally posts another porn link on Twitter

4. Pixar's Lightyear
We don't wish ill on anyone, but when Cruz is happy, it's hard to watch. For starters, he's got the congenial smile of an aged eel. It's the kind of smile you usually see right before you lose consciousness. On Cruz, it's a smile that precedes homophobic rhetoric.

Cruz's smile came out following the release of Pixar's Lightyear when he claimed on his Verdict podcast that the film "seems to be driving Hollywood's agenda" and wondering "why toys have to go at it." Cruz also claimed that Lightyear's inclusion of a lesbian space commander character named Alisha Hawthorne was for the purpose of producing a line of "lesbian toys" for children. It's not something we really wish to explore any further, but to keep it clean, Cruz's conviction that toys should be sexless and androgynous never came up in all of Barbie and Ken's decades-long union nor in Woody and Bo-Peep's on-and-off romance. To top it off, he reminded us again of the Mickey and Pluto one-on-one-and-done scene that lives on the cliff of depravity that seems to occupy his mind.

5. Antiracist Baby
Cruz is the reigning king of finding points that are not even remotely relevant and producing dumb takeaways faster than David Blaine can pull a live frog out of his mouth.

During the committee hearings for future Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Cruz threw out a weak-sauce "gotcha" moment by exhibiting books he deemed subversive and dangerous from a school library where he sits on a main board. One was a children's book called Antiracist Baby by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, which teaches children how not to be racist. Cruz pulled out two lines from the book and changed the words, like when he claimed the book told children to "confess when being racist" even though it clearly says on a display board behind him that people should "confirm when being racist." Then he asked Jackson with a straight face (or whatever you call a face that looks like Sam the Eagle having an orgasm), "Do you agree with this book being taught to kids that babies are racist?"

Jackson took a long pause and answered Cruz's questions without bursting into laughter. The question is silly, but it's not entirely without merit. Narrow-minded babies exist, and Cruz is one of the biggest. 
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.