Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why I Hate Children's Television

A note from Galley Friend A.W.:

The kids are watching a recent Dora The Explorer special episode ("Dora Saves The Crystal Kingdom," if you're interested). I just watched a scene in which Dora wanders upon a knight warding a giant dragon off with a sword. To intervene and stop the fight, Dora decides that the best course of action is . . . to take away the knight's sword! Pulling a lasso from her trusty backpack, she lassos the knight's sword, leaving the knight defenseless. At that point, the dragon looks confused for a moment, and then becomes friendly. Dora, the Knight, and Boots the Monkey climb on to the Dragon's back, and they all fly off together, best friends.

I would not necessarily argue that young children should be exposed to the power theory of international relations ("the strong do what they can; the weak do what they must"). But they shouldn't be plied with this insanity, either.

It's vaguely unsettling when children's TV offers inherently ridiculous views of the world--talking birds and talking worms who are friends, for instance. You need not tell a 3-year-old that birds actually eat worms: Some truths are hard enough that their revelation should be delayed. Nothing wrong with that.

But while we're eliding these hard truths, we have a duty not to teach untruths.


William T. Sherman said...

You ever notice that "Swiper" the Fox (the only bad guy in the whole show) is one of the few characters on Dora that speaks with an American accent?

Gotta get that gringo guilt complex started while they're young.

Unknown said...

Whe I was a kid it was plain and simple with series called Watch With Mother. No untruths except talking flower pot men and a weed. Good wholesome stuff.