Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Future of America: Yo Gabba Gabba

Go Tell It on the Mountain
See Goodreads page here.
See Shelfari page here. 
  As children, we are always told to follow our consciences. We are told that if something we are doing doesn't "feel" right, the action should be immediately abandoned. However, the root of conscience is truly a human desire to be obedient--our parents lay down the rules of action when we are children, and our following these rules contributes to some kind of prize, some kind of reward. Our minds are as moldable as play dough at this early age, and once the play dough hardens, the shape to which it was molded by our early caretakers guides us through the rest of our days. A lot of psychology, I know. But psychology is really the secret to the workings of humans, not to mention one of the coolest-sounding "-ology's" by far.
     During the first half of the twentieth century and before, early caretakers were first and foremost immediate family members as well as teachers. The media had some influence, but not a lot because there wasn't much media geared towards the early childhood demographic, or  not much media at all for the majority of the time.  However, after about mid-century, media's influence on the early childhood age group increased and increased up to the present day, when shows such as "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Handy Manny" exist. Such television programs are meant to help teach character traits that parents would normally teach their children, but it can definitely be said that they take this responsibility a little too far. Therefore, the children of today are hit with a nuclear bomb of morals not even the greatest saint could fulfill. Can you live your entire life without lying? Can you never say a mean thing about another person? Can you find the good in everyone you meet?
     Do you think these expectations are a bit too idealistic? Well, that's unfortunate, because such is exactly what children of my generation are being trained to do.
     A very similar phenomenon occurs in Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin. Our main character, John Grimes, is the son of a preacher (the one who doesn't practice what he preaches--I mentioned him in that post about Facebook) . A battle occurs within John, a battle waged against what he learned in childhood and the truth he has come to know as a teenager. You see, his father taught John that  one must  hate all white people and  follow God by never showing pride, but John is quickly discovering that being proud and having respect for certain white people is exactly how he can obtain a better life. The roots of the aforementioned are taught to him when the white principal of his elementary school compliments John on his handwriting at the age of six, making the boy feel almost invincible. Such psychological battle pervades the entire novel.
     Is being proud at times negative? Yes. Were all white people trustworthy in the 1920s? No. However, some pride is necessary for success, and some white people could be trusted, and this trust could launch someone towards success. Likewise, we must recognize that a generation of people whose consciences defile them whenever they hurt someone's feelings or tell a small lie is a generation of people who cannot reach success in the real world.
     I'll give you a final example: you know how both parents and a large majority of children's television focus on the importance of sharing everything? Because keeping things for yourself is very selfish and naughty and will get you coal from Santa Claus. Well, sharing everything has another name in the adult world, and that name concerns something utterly unsuccessful: communism.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Arthur's still good, even if it's only on at bizzare times (7am and pm, which is either before kids should even be watching tv, or in the case of the latter, homework/get ready for bed time.
    It stinks, because Arthur is such a good show.it teaches kods things, but with beliveable characters/storylines and without preachiness/indoctrination. They've covered everything from food allergied to Asperger's Syndrome.
    Sidenote on the Asperger's episode: it used to be called "George and the Missing Puzzle Piece", but they changed the title to "When Carl met George."


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