Worse than a sharp stick in the eye

If for any reason you happen to be seeking a show stupider than Dora, look no further than the almost amusingly execrable Super Why. The show’s ostensible intention is to promote reading; its actual effect is to present reading as painfully difficult and computers as extensions of our senses — on top of which it promulgates confusion by having the characters arrive at tortuously complicated solutions to irritatingly simple problems. In the episode I watched, a girl needed to tie up some ice skates and didn’t know how. She and her friends went into a book — weirdly, a mixed up version of Rumpelstilskin — not in order to read it but in order, through some magical computer manipulation, to find letters that would automatically spell out a word that would help them. Half an hour of hard work later the word turned out to be “learn.” Can you beat that? So then they’re all like oh yeah! learn! and in the final thirty seconds one of them teaches the girl how to knot the laces.


4 thoughts on “Worse than a sharp stick in the eye

  1. Worse? or equivalent for those with two eyes? Perhaps more ruthless. Odysseus was not really nobody, as your screens are, and though he might have taken advantage of my then childish mind, he did not abuse children — at least not after getting his fill of it at Troy.

  2. Worse? Oh, there is much worse to come! There’s the whole world of “girl-TV” yet to come. Zoe101 (Brittany Spears pregnant baby sister), Hannah Montana, HighSchool Musical, Barbie Princess, and much much more.

    Will teach your little one how to be “a girl” in the 21st century. How to date boys. How to act around peers to be popular. How to be pretty. How to play down intelligence. Avoid these programs at your peril. Don’t watch, and you are isolated from the current zeitgeist and what all the other girls are talking about. Do watch, and it can be much worse vs. a sharp stick in the eye.

    Where do these programs come from? Who’s making them? WHY??? I never watched such programs!! I grew up being clearly told there was no substantial difference in ability between girls and boys. (I bet you can imagine where I stand on the Larry Summers debate (!)).

    So what does one then need “girl TV” for? Why is it so darned popular? We parents – formerly the children of the ’60’s and on, can do anything we want. We are liberated from being homemakers, pandering to husbands, and being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. We are the fortunate generation. It’s so cool – I now have “it all”- happy children, full-time enriching career, competitive opportunities, and marital bliss.


    Whatever!! Maybe trying the “girl-TV” way has something to recommend after all.

  3. Poly, honey, my best analysis is that you *are* the screen — or anyway, the screen is you. What’s TV but a one-eyed monster that lures us into the darkness with the promise of cheese, traps us, and then eats us? So hush up.

    Tami, yes, this is my problem. I have no idea what to do about it. Let her watch, in moderation, and criticize it — that’s the method I’ve been following. But I could throw away the TV. I really could — since I certainly don’t need it myself. I think, anyway, that I will retard her cultural growth moderately by shunning cable. Anything trendy she wants to watch she’ll have to get on DVD. But I am heartsick about the crap that’s soon going to be filling her mind whatever I do to stop it.

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