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« Should Public Schools Teach Relationship Preservation? | Main | Television Can Undermine Even the Best Parents »

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


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Monster Will Get You


I think the issue with changing Cookie Monster to accommodate the (necessary) change in kids' nutritional priorities is that it misses the whole point about Cookie Monster.

CM represents the lack of self control. He shows kids how ridiculous it is to be a monomaniac. By stripping him of his obsession, we don't suddenly teach kids to "eat healthy," we instead stop teaching them that it's silly to be obsessed with any one thing.

It's his obsessive nature that makes Cookie Monster a monster, not his love of cookies per se.

My own "snarky ode" is here.

The conservative noise machine will always focus on minutae because it is an essentially groundless system of political philosophy. It never seeks progress, it never evolves but is simply tied to some pastoral notion of a better past. In conservatism, principle takes precendence over reality.

Mark my words, the momentum of conservative backlash is about to experience its own backlash.

Elisson: I agree that Cookie Monster's out of control nature is part of the appeal as well as the lesson. I don't have a problem with Cookie Monster in either incarnation. I just thought those attacking the changes PBS made were overwrought.

Jim: My hope is that we take the best of both sides and forge something new and improved. It is time.

If you watch very closely, you'll see that cookie monster doesn't actually eat any cookies.

Oh yeah, I remember! The crumbs always fell to the ground.

The problem with having Cookie Monster cut back on cookies is that doings so negates the whole idea of Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster is an allegory, if you suddenly take away his gluttony, he is no longer an allegory for temperance.

By using characters like Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster as allegories, PBS is teaching a part of literacy that is as important as ABC's. It bothers me that even the adults in charge of educating children have so little respect for either children's abilities or literacy that they think that allegory and other time tested techniques of art and literature are useless in teaching children.

I agree that obesity is enough of a problem that it deserves some specific information, but there are other character on the show that kids are supposed to emulate already, they could help teach the nutrition lessons - there is no need to chip away at Cookie Monster's power as an allegory or cut back on literacy education.

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