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Political Correctness and Child-Raising

I am constantly amazed at the common sense, or lack thereof, which is shown by the “powers that be” when they decide what is good and what is not for us and our children.

It was bad enough when Australia and London ganged up on Santa Claus, insisting that his bad manners and obesity were harmful to women and children. In Australia, they want Santa to say “ha, ha, ha” instead of “ho, ho, ho” because they believe the hearty “ho, ho, ho” will scare children and that women will be offended by the negative connotation of the slang, “ho.” Additionally, in London they are encouraging Santa’s to slim down in an effort to discourage obesity in children. Why do we think that changing centuries of myth and legends to accommodate political correctness will make any difference in society?

Santa laughed “ho, ho, ho” long before the individuals that have decided it is offensive were even born. The same women they fear will be offended by that hearty “ho, ho, ho” were once children who enjoyed all the traditional Santa characteristics. Give us credit; we have enough common sense to know that he isn’t talking about us! Additionally, a mythical character that dominates a child’s world approximately six, maybe eight, weeks out of the year is not going to have an impact on their long-term health goals. A skinny Santa is not going to change a child’s eating habits.

Now, as reported by The New York Times’ Virginia Heffernan, the “gods” that rule television and decide upon the ratings of programs have deemed early Sesame Street episodes as fit for adults only! Why? Well, don’t be too shocked but supposedly Bert and Ernie are gay, the Cookie Monster is obese and Oscar is chronically depressed. Elmo needs Prozac. The adults who were kind to the children had ulterior motives (pedophiles and kidnappers!). Big Bird was apparently on drugs since he was the only one who could see Snuffleupagus. And let us not forget that farmers used their hands and a bucket to milk cows – how unsanitary! – and cows ate grass, not hormone-enriched grain. What are we doing?

Sesame Street first aired in 1969 and the message it meant to send to its viewers was that learning was fun! It was certainly not attempting to corrupt our youth. If Sesame Street should be rated for “adults only” then we need to take a good look at most of the programming on TVLand, because it must be worse! Andy and Barney with the “fun girls” are obviously condoning prostitution. Lucy, for all of her attitude and spunk, is quite subservient to her husband, Ricky. They spend an awful lot of time on Gunsmoke in Miss Kitty’s saloon, drinking and playing cards. It seems that television shows of “long ago” were more risqué than we ever gave them credit for being!

The problem lies in the fact that we – society – are more willing to lay the responsibility for our poor judgment and our unwillingness to change at the feet of anyone besides ourselves. But we go too far when we try to place the blame on Santa’s shoulders or condemn Sesame Street as being an “adults only” show. Wise up! If we want to change society’s view of women, the health of our children, or set good examples of interpersonal relationships, we are not going to succeed in our current methods. We are going to have make changes that last every day of the year and that rely upon sound common sense, not propaganda.

Shame on us; I hope that Santa puts those responsible on his Naughty list.

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