Sunday, December 19, 2010
I suppose the word "Existential" and the phrase "Youth Programming" are relatively contradictory terms.
Recently, I stumbled across this old clip from a 1985 claymation feature entitled "The Adventures of Mark Twain". In a nutshell, the plot basically navigates through several existential journeys, weaving its way through the fibers of Christian doctrines. The concept of heaven, creationism and the meaning of humanity as a whole are questioned throughout the film. Mark Twain is the Captain of the ship and Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher are the passenger/students, poised in curiosity as our vessels, seeking truth through the eyes of a child. Upon release and due to public outcry, the film was banned from airing on many television channels across the country out of fear that the subject matter would taint the minds of children.
Needless to say, watching this clip inspired me to watch the entire film. Watching the film inspired me to question the entertainment that is offered to our kids. If we can saturate our kids with Jesus-praising vegetables, sexual innuendo, violence and consumerism, why can't we give them the option of critical thinking? Every media outlet with their claws in the "youth market" aka our kids, binds the mental development of our children by telling them what to do, how to think and how to feel. I know I'm not saying anything new...
As creepy as this clip is, I appreciate it. I appreciate the fact that it is scary and it cuts against the grain of what is taught. If it raises questions in the mind of this adult and inspires a blog post, imagine what it can do for children. We can turn off our televisions and read with our kids, which most of us should be doing, and build discussions leading to critical thinking. However, there's nothing wrong with the moving image. It's a great educational tool and particularly helpful if it's poignant and relevant.
With all that being said, let's bring back thoughtful entertainment to our kids. It doesn't have to be about Satan or destruction all the time, but we should move forward in creating and supporting thought provoking programs for our children. Why do we permit idiotic television and cinema to become entertainment cornerstones in our children's childhood memories? Are we trying to shield our kids from the inevitable truths they'll have to face (which can be ugly and very frightening) or are we just as asinine? Perhaps its a combination of the two, but the latter speaks a harsh truth, doesn't it?
...After all, someone pays for the cable and puts shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and "Meet the Kardashians" within the highest viewer ratings...and it ain't the kids.
Enjoy the clip.
Posted by Kelly Paradise at 10:58 AM