Friday, April 4, 2008

Warning to Parents: The Past Can Harm Your Children

As social perspectives evolve, the way in which we choose to raise our children is also always changing. What was once perfectly acceptable, now raises concerns over any number of factors affecting our children. Spanking, playpens, and even tap water were all pretty widely used a few decades ago; now, not as acceptable.

It's kind of like hitchhiking.

These changes are also readily apparent in childrens programming. In case you're interested, Sesame Street has put out a series of DVDs from their first years on television. These DVDs, however, come with an interesting warning: not suitable for children.


Well, the times have changed and things like Gordon striking up a conversation with an unknown child and inviting him home for cookies and milk is not a scenario parents might want to encourage when their own children are approached by a strange, albeit nice, man. Other no-nos that appear on the videos include overeating of sweets (shout out to Cookie Monster), riding bikes without helmets, and a wide variety of socially unacceptable behavior of both adults and children.

Which brings me to another great example of, oh, how the times have changed. This comes to me by way of the sensational Stacey (who I probably need to buy something pretty, given all the material she's supplied me with):

Riding the wave of all things Horton, a family friend gave Stacey an old VHS of four Horton "episodes", portraying the popular Horton series. The movie was made circa 1965, but still proved entertaining for their daughter who loved the Dr. Seuss books. The last episode was a retelling of our own family favorite, Horton Hatches an Egg.

The Horton cartoon animated everything you might expect from the book: the bargaining with lazy bird Mayze, Horton's dedication to keeping the egg warm despite the awful weather, and Horton's eventual capture by hunters who thought they could ship him to America and make a lot of money on the odd occurrence of an elephant in a tree.

And that is where the movie really dates itself.

As Horton is put on a ship and sets sail to America (apparently we appreciate peculiar pachyderms more than Europeans), a fish jumps out of the water. The fish, bewildered by the image of a sea sick elephant, perched on a nest, does what any normal fish would do.

He pulls out a gun and puts a bullet in his head.

Hmmm...I don't remember that part in the book.

The result: Stacey and her husband Tony have agreed to pre-screen all movies made before the millennium, and their daughter needs to be constantly reminded that not all marine life bear arms.

1 comment:

Abbie, Paul, Drew and Charlotte's Web said...

There was a time when the "Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Show" was THE most violent show on TV...ahhhh, the good ol' days.