Monday, June 23, 2003

The Child’s Television Workshop

Kid’s TV can rot your brain. All TV can rot your brain, but children’s television does it in an insidious Pollyannic fashion that slowly eats away at what is real until you actually start believing there’s a magical place where black people and Hispanics and whites live together in peaceful harmony, and bad guys wear masks and all you have to do to make them stop being bad guys is shout, “Swiper, no swiping!” Our television sits behind me as I type. We have a laptop set up in the corner of our little living room. I can look out the window at our driveway and a corner of our lawn. I frequently try to type here while Nate watches TV. I’m getting him in the habit. He watches Dora the Explorer and Blue’s Clues, Bob the Builder and Gulla Gulla Island, not in that order.
I fix him lunch and then we sit down and watch a little TV before he drowses off and we do our nap ritual. Sometimes he’ll be fixated by the TV and I can creep over here to check email or write some of this crap. It usually doesn’t last long. He’ll come over and just drag me away, or he’ll insert his head between my left elbow and the edge of the desk, often resulting in him bumping his head. He’s not above hurting himself to get attention. I’ve set up an old Mac of mine so he’s got something like what Daddy plays with to play with.
Today, hungover as I am, kid’s TV was welcome rot. I just sat on the couch and vegetated with him. It’s educational, I tell myself. For him, maybe. For me, I frighten myself by singing along, by actually enjoying the lessons that are being taught in their surreptitious way. Listen to your parents, do what you’re told and you’ll be rewarded, problems can be solved in three easy steps and in less than half an hour. It’s infectious.
Wait a second…someone just pulled into our driveway…

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