Note to the right: avoid youth entertainment

NOTE TO THE RIGHT: AVOID YOUTH ENTERTAINMENT…. Periodically, conservative groups and activists decide to get worked up about what young people are reading and/or watching. The results tend to be pretty embarrassing.

Perhaps the quintessential modern example was Jerry Falwell going after Tinky Winky the Teletubby, but that merely started a lengthy, larger campaign. One religious right group went after “Shrek.” Another targeted “Shark Tale.” James Dobson launched a broadside against SpongeBob SquarePants, while Fox News’ Neil Cavuto perceived “Happy Feet” as political propaganda. The “Harry Potter” series has been targeted any number of times by conservatives complaining about witchcraft.

I guess it was only a matter of time before the Christian Coalition discovered Twilight.

Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America, which called for a ban on the Potter series, says she’s considering a similar campaign against Twilight because even though it’s pro-abstinence, it’s also pro-vampires.

She says vampires are definitely not good role models, and she blames Hollywood.

“We can let our voices be heard, and anytime you do that you have an effect one way or another,” Combs says. “These Twilight books are very disturbing books for family values. Teen marriage is not the standard, but the part that is more troubling is the vampire. It’s just not normal for young people to idolize a vampire.”

For the record, I’ve never seen or read any of the entertainment these conservatives don’t like, so I’m not really in a position to defend the materials. But when someone on the right starts raising fears about young people “idolizing a vampire,” it’s a reminder that conservatives sometimes have too much time on their hands.

As for the Christian Coalition’s efforts to regain influence and relevance, raising the specter of banning Twilight books probably isn’t the way to go.