Friday, July 06, 2007

Mr. Rogers responsable for spoiled kids? What about advertizing?

That's what this article, from the Wall Street Journal, says. The article is essentially a bunch of people saying why they think Mr. Rogers had a bad effect on children. No studies, not even that much reasoning, just a bunch of people saying "Yeah, I think Mr. Rogers fucked them up":.


"Don Chance, a finance professor at Louisiana State University, says it dawned on him last spring. The semester was ending, and as usual, students were making a pilgrimage to his office, asking for the extra points needed to lift their grades to A's.
"They felt so entitled," he recalls, "and it just hit me. We can blame Mr. Rogers.""

"In America today, life often begins with the anointing of "His Majesty, the Fetus," he [not the LSU professor] says. From then on, many parents focus their conversations on their kids. Today's parents "are the best-educated generation ever," says Dr. Rosenfeld. "So why do our kids see us primarily discussing kids' schedules and activities?"


"You're special." On the Yahoo Answers Web site, a discussion thread about Mr. Rogers begins with this posting: "Mr. Rogers spent years telling little creeps that he liked them just the way they were. He should have been telling them there was a lot of room for improvement. ... Nice as he was, and as good as his intentions may have been, he did a disservice."


Wow. Leaving aside for the moment the idea that more children are spoiled or self centered now than in the past, something that sounds like a grand cop out for parents who don't know what the fuck they're doing, let me ask you this: is it more likely that a long running children's show on PBS had this extreme influence on a generation of kids or that a multi million dollar advertizing industry, that's admitted it targets children as young as pre-school age, bombarding kids with messages to consume, to want things, to get mom and dad to get them things, is responsable?

What about all those commercials with hordes of kids running around screaming about a new product, or the ones that feature really fast bright lights, fast cutting, bright colors, everything tripped in a sensory overload designed to get kids really excited about whatever it is the company is selling?

My money is on the multi-million dollar advertizing agencies, who buy up all the ad space on every channel that has kids' shows every day, especially saturday mornings.

There's a difference between Selfish and Special. Selfishness is something that kids figure out on their own, Specialness is something that they have to be told about.

Not to put a damper on that nice thought, but I notice that the article was written by a guy named "Jeff Zaslow". Why does this not surprise me? There's been a spate of books an articles recently attacking the idea of individualism as a good thing---not attacking the bad parts of individualism, like not caring for others or caring about society, but attacking the basic notion that it's good to think of yourself as being a unique individual....and guess what? It seems that much of it has been written by people of Polish descent. Some of the most reactionary, anti-humanistic, fucking stupid, small minded, provincial crap has come out of conservative Polish authors. It's disconcerting to think that this is one of Poland's exports to the world.

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