"I ought to clobber you" - Lucy van Pelt

December 6, 2010

We have a number of friends with kids E's age or slightly older, and almost all those kids know far more about pop culture than E does. Particularly Star Wars, for some reason.

Despite being steeped -- and I do mean steeped in pop culture, though (particularly Star Wars) somehow we have managed to keep E shielded from the bulk of it. He knows about Thomas the Train, and Pooh, and recently Blue the Dog and Lightning McQueen the Car have made their way into our lives, but all in all I'd say he's a kid who is pretty well shielded from the bulk of what the big old media machine has to offer. Some days I think that's terrific. Modern technology (Tivo, Netflix, the plain ol' DVD) have enabled us to keep commercials almost totally out of his life (when he sees a commercial he almost always complains to us and asks us to turn it off). Moving him to preschool increases his exposure somewhat, but not as much as I'd feared. But other days I fear he's actually just culturally a little naive for his age, and I hope that somehow he's not being left behind by not having a detailed knowledge of Star Wars. (See, I can worry about anything.)

Then, there are moments like tonight, when we're done in by nostalgia.

Over the years, we've collected a pretty comprehensive collection of all those holiday movies we (and you) loved as kids. Rudolph (with its rampant sexism and celebration of conformity), Disney Santa cartoons from the 30's and 40's (featuring racism and a shockingly high level of child abuse), and ... good ol' Charlie Brown.

Believe it or not, Charlie Brown is the worst of the lot. The Halloween special added a few new phrases to E's vocabulary, but not ones that were necessarily problematic. The Thanksgiving special led to him calling people Blockheads and sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and complaining (in Peppermint Patty's famous phrase) about the lack of Pumpkin Pie. But the Christmas special -- the one which is more or less regarded universally as the best of the lot -- is the one that may have caused us to swear off Charlie Brown all together, and its not even due to the nativity.

Its the violence, you see.

Tonight E, in a moment of frustration over the torture we are causing hm by dosing him with eyedrops twice a day (more on that later) and making him pick up his toys, turned to his father, held up his tiny fists and said "I ought to clobber you." And that -- THAT -- did not go over quite as he had hoped. I suppose I can be thankful that he tried it out on us first rather than on his buddies at preschool, but I still never really honestly thought that Charlie Brown, of all things, would lead my son into threats of violence.

And who knows what pop culture has instore for us next.


Amber said...

Well, I think E will find the things that interest him and self-educate on those things. It sounds like he already is. I think 4 is when the girls started getting "in" to things. It's about the age when they talk to friends about things and want to seem like they have a shared knowledge and/or know something special or more.

I have to add that we sort of - in our interest and theirs - towards more acceptable (in our opinions) of the options out there. Star Wars and comic book heros were more okay with us than a lot of the things out there, but were things that other people know about, too. And they are interested in (sometimes VERY interested in).

In school they are going to hear about and talk about shows and "stuff" that you don't watch/do at home. R and Z could carry on "knowledgeable" conversations about Bakugan and things like that that we just simply don't allow at home. I'm forever grateful that for the most part they haven't been really, really interested in something we didn't approve of. Avatar has been the thing we had no exposure to at home that they really, really were interested in and after months we finally let them start watching the show once a day - but it's actually pretty good in the scheme of the horid programming for older kids out there.

Part of why I think they focus in the areas they do is because we like them and share those interests, so it's also something special with mom and/or dad, too. Something to think about.

Our family loves (and owns some of) the old specials, too. At least at the girls' ages they can a little better understand that things on tv are not always okay to repeat.

Don't worry.