Monday, March 17, 2008

The opposite of the big bad wolf

A PBS Kids rant

I usually try to avoid a show on PBS Kids called Super Why. But this morning, this was on and I couldn't look away. The underlying message radiating from this seemingly innocuous show was confusing and disturbing.

Super Why uses a superhero team (think Justice League for word nerds) to teach reading skills. In short: there's a problem, the super-readers get together to change the story by changing a word in the story and, of course, save the day. They even do a dance and sing a song at the end. You really shouldn't watch it while you're eating. It really is that bad.

Today's episode was based on the big bad wolf and how to get him to be nice. I thought they would just change "bad" to "good," but instead they changed "big" to "small." The little pig then talks to the small bad wolf and convinces him to be nice. Huh?

Why, when faced with a bully, would you make him smaller before trying to persuade him to be nice?

Seems vaguely statist to me. Cut the big bad wolf down to size in order to make him easier to deal with. For instance, big corporations are never good, they're always demonized. If they're cut down to size with government regulation and excessive taxation, well, then that will make them nicer. Never mind that small companies with limited profits don't employ very many people.

Of course, it's possible that I'm just being paranoid or that my English major analytical mind kicked into overdrive. Being at home with monkey boy all day long does strange things to my brain.

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