Petpluto of Art at the Auction believes her parents handled the TV dilemma just right:
My parents came to the conclusion before I was born that I wasn’t to watch a lot of television, and certainly not a lot of commercial television. In fact, the one commercial television program we watched consistently was Sunday Morning. My parents believed strongly that commercials and consumerist culture infused people with negative opinions of themselves. They believed that if a person is indoctrinated with images about how your life could improve if only you had that game, that car, that hair color, or that jewelry, then that person would be less apt to see themselves as whole and worthwhile without it. Because of that, I mostly watched PBS. I watched Sesame Street, and Reading Rainbow, and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, and This Old House. When other girls had crushes on the New Kids on the Block, I was in love with Bob Villa (and thought The New Kids on the Block were really kids who were new to my particular block). While other girls were watching commercials about barbies or playhouses or easy bake ovens, I was watching Maria and Luis fix toasters and Linda and Bob and Susan and Gordon deal with Big Bird...The rest of the post (inspired by our series!) is an entertaining and informative read, so go visit Petpluto at her home. Of course, her post prompts the obvious questions - what was your exposure to television and other types of media when you were growing up, and how did it effect you? How can we help the smallest members of the next generation cope with troublesome messages in the media all around them?
Television watching was sort of an old fashioned event; instead of everyone going off to their separate spaces and watching what they wanted to, we sat in a central location and watched, well, generally what my parents wanted to. We would watch, and discuss what we saw. We discussed how the Japanese were depicted during World War II in Loony Tunes cartoons and that morphed into a talk about Japanese internment camps. Later, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was used to discuss things like sexuality, feminism, and pop culture references. Ken Burns’ documentaries were watched together. History was weaved into the very fabric of my experience, as my parents –both tremendous history buffs- would sit and talk for hours about Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. We would watch shows about them, and then visit museums and historical sites dedicated to them and others.
(image via Wikipedia)