My childhood fixation with Sesame Street has extended well into my adult years, especially now that our daughter, like many toddlers, is obsessed with Elmo.
Yes, I am well aware of the crass commercialization the show has undergone in more recent (and post-Jim Henson) years, and I definitely agree that television programs can never substitute for good old fashioned parenting, but I will forever hold a fondness in my heart for the program — it is, after all, what taught me English in my earliest years growing up in a Chinese speaking household before pre-school. Sesame Street also offered me my first glimpse of my future home, China.
This week marks the show’s 40th anniversary and The New York Times marks the occasion with an interesting article describing how the Sesame Street (and American society) has changed, as well as the criticisms, misconceptions of the show and its international impact over the years.
"The show’s original intent was to present enjoyable and beguiling preschool education to poor children who did not have access to decent preschools while bringing diversity to children’s programming … The pedagogy hasn’t changed, but the look and tone of “Sesame Street” has evolved. Forty years on, this is your mother’s “Sesame Street,” only better dressed and gentrified: Sesame Street by way of Park Slope."
Elsewhere, The Christian Science Monitor chimes in with an op/ed about some recent controversy over an Oscar the Grouch sketch that takes a jab at the conservative leaning Fox News.
The show may have changed over the years, but the politics remain the same …