Good day, Dorks!

This is your goth-loving dork-dating cruise director, Wendy the Webmistress. Well, folks I noticed that John hasn’t been able to update in awhile, and after taking a look at his schedule I can see why. So I figured to keep you all entertained until he stops in from parts unknown, I would give my hand at a Muskrat Rambling. How am I doing so far……..

Keeping up with a great tradition of procrastination, I actually meant to post this on Friday, but if you don’t already know, Mr. Rogers has died. Today’s Papers, a great news site I visit daily, had this to say.

All the papers front, or reefer, the death of Fred Rogers, host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, at the age of 74 from stomach cancer. Everybody lauds Mr. Rogers as a pioneer of children’s educational television. Less noted, however, is his consistent embrace of new technologies. Mr. Rogers not only started his TV program at a small station in 1954 and hosted a national show on public television from 1968-2001, he was also a public advocate of the VCR during the appliance’s contentious early days. (In the famed Sony Betamax case, allowing the use of the VCR, the Supreme Court actually cited Rogers’ testimony.) After he ended production on his famed show, he began experiments in storytelling via Web streaming and satellite-radio. Fittingly, on his Web site today, there are “helpful hints” for how parents should help their children deal with the news of his death.

Personally, my recollections of Mr. Rogers are of that neat train, strange look puppets, and the land of make-believe. It still amazes me to this day, the things that I learned while watching that program. It was good and wholesome and fun. In a time where being a parent means being the media police, it was something I would have loved my peusdo-kids to watch. (I don’t actually have kids, if I did I am sure that they would be quiet, well behaved, intelligent little brats. ;p )

Ok, so by now, you are all wondering why I am waxing so poetically about Mr. Rogers and the good old days. Good question. Mainly, it is because I was so disturbed by something I saw the next day. While innocently channel flipping through the Saturday morning offering of cartoons, looking for Batman Beyond, X-men or hell even the Justice League, I stumbled on to a travesty disguised as a cartoon for kids.

What pray tell would that be, you ask? It is a cartoon series called the Proud Family and it’s on ABC among other channels. Ok now, on the surface it looks like a pretty nice tame cartoon about family values and growing up. But like anything made by Disney, you have to look deeper.

The show I saw was about how Penny (the main character, a 14 year old girl) was persuaded into downloading music from the internet by a boy she like. Later, it goes on to show that one of the consequences was that a popular music artist went broke and couldn’t pay his bills so he had to give his big screen TV and Xbox back to the store. So then the police show up at Penny’s house to arrest her, and take away her computer. Also, the local music store has to shut down because no one is buying music.

Now without going into the whole debate on good vs. evil of downloading music, let’s stick with the point of my rant. What the heck is Disney doing? Wow, it this not like a 30 minute commercial disguised as a cartoon to promote their bottom line. Hello anyone, Bueller, Bueller! Since when do cartoons for kids become platforms for company’s profit agendas.

Maybe my memory is clouded with age (hey I’m only 26) or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but still. So I sigh and wish back to the simpler times of Mr. Rogers, when the worst sin a cartoon could commit was to be a ploy to sell toys, not educate an entire generation to the Disney way of thinking.

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