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No U.S. visit for HIV-positive Muppet

Discussion in 'Sesame Worlds' started by Phillip, Jul 17, 2002.

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  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Indeed. But I don't think they're still considering it.

    Well... then we have to go back to the whole culture gap between Africa and the US. In Africa it effects more kids than it does in the US. HIV/AIDs in Africa affects quite a large number of adults and Kids. In the US, while kids are affected by such, it seems more like an adult problem. By and large it affects more adults than kids.

    While it would be great to see SS handle an episode or special where a child has to deal with a sickly parent (doesn't matter what the ailement), I could not see them doing something as bold as this. Political dislike of the military specials aside, that's the boldest thing they've done since the 2002 Hooper's Store fire episode (we all know what the episode was made for, and speaking apolitically I appaluded them for that). We could then let this thread slip into the same topic the "SS not for Kids" thread, but it would be redundant.
  2. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    All valid points, but there are still the ones who have it in the USA and it is not necessarily a decreasing occurrence and we may as well begin learning more about it now instead of waiting until we end up in the same shape as Africa. It's quite widespread enough here that we could stand the education.

    Just in Memphis, TN, alone:
    http://www.friendsforlifecorp.org/documents/ShelbyCounty2005HIVEpiProfile72006.pdf
  3. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Point taken, but compared to Africa, all of the people here that have it would be a speck, whereas Africa's people that have it would be a big spot.
  4. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    Spot or speck, folks need to know. I am stupid about it, never having learned anything about it (except how not to get it) and what few things I've learned watching TV shows--but, that's not always reliable information.

    It would educate me as much as the little folks. I agree, I'm not ready for it to be on PBS except maybe if it were a special, but a straight to DVD episode wouldn't be bad. On DVD, you have the option/choice to buy it or not, and I feel the education would be honest, pure, and sincere.

    Ever see "A is for Asthma" on their website? Asthma can be dangerous, but they handled it very well. It's just not as controversial as AIDS.
  5. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Sesame Street is not really meant to be controversial in its contemporary form, which is why I don't think doing a subject on AIDs would work.
  6. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Point taken, but how can one cover a complicated and controversial issue such as AIDs without really going into the other aspects of how it is caused? Sure, Africa was able to do it, but would our PC-controlled current system be able to deal with it?
  7. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Actually, it's quite simple. Sesame Street teaches kids how to read and write without throwing the entire book War and Peace at them. There are equally simple ways to demonstrate generally healthy practices of what to do if you skin your knee and that you can hug someone with HIV or AIDS.

    Ultimately HIV is a blood disease with several ways it can be contracted. The primary one in kids is having it passed down from birth. Of course this doesn't always happen when a parent is HIV positive, but that's another discussion.

    Sex, in any form, shouldn't be a topic of discussion on Sesame Street and doesn't need to be one in approaching the topic of HIV for that target age group.

    I still think a send-away video (like the recent one for families of armed forces who have returned disabled) would probably be the best way to go in the current climate. Sesame can open all the new corners of the street, introduce cute new characters and promote Elmo's specials all they want, but there is little that sets their current product apart from others these days. :(
  8. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    This I cannot dispute and is part of why I wish the old Street were back and...well...Unpaved.
  9. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    The new Old School box sets serve as reminders of how many edges have been sanded down and dulled since I was a kid. I know they come with a warning that the old episodes aren't for today's kids, but you know - I think the old episodes contain valuable information, entertainment and perspective missing from today's Street. Sesame is still the best educational show around, but it doesn't shine like it used to and still could. :)
  10. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Agreed, and we cannot all lay blame on Elmo, although he was probably a key factoid in the Street turning into the Stepford thing it's been recently.
  11. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Member

    Speaking as a former AIDS educator and a parent, it's easy to talk about AIDS with kids. I have a harder time explaining why they see people smoking ("don't they know it's bad for them?" "are they a bad person?" "are they going to die?") than AIDS.

    Generally speaking, kids don't ask for more than they are ready to hear. Little kids will talk about a baby growing in mommy's tummy-- that's a part of their reality as there are often younger siblings or friends about to have younger siblings. They don't ask how the baby got there. If they do, they rarely ask for more than "when parents love each other, sometimes a baby grows." A lot of kids know about adoption but I've never heard a young child ask why a parent adopted versus having a biological child.

    Kids know people get sick. Kids know about washing hands, not sharing cups and utensils, covering when they cough.... They know all those things are about staying healthy and not sharing germs. It isn't hard to explain that different illnesses get passed in different ways. You don't have to get into the details of all the ways a disease can be passed.

    When my oldest was about three, we were at a mall play area and one of the kids had a bleeding cut. The kid was there with an elderly grandparent who wasn't concerned about the cut-- it didn't need stitches or anything, but the kid was leaving little trails of blood on the climbing structures and mats. Like most of the parents there, I got my kid and explained that we needed to leave. I explained that sometimes germs can be in blood and it wasn't safe to play anymore because the play structures needed to be cleaned. Not a big deal.

    I am still irritated and embarrassed about the response to Kami in this country. Congress held a hearing about this. Forget homelessness in America, forget kids without healthcare, school shootings, social security-- let's worry about an orphaned child puppet with HIV on another continent. There's really no excuse.

    If you want to get into what makes SST the way it is today, look at the preschool TV world. When SST premiered it had no (real) competition. Today I know plenty of kids who have never watched it-- their parents watched it but now they plop their kids in front of the Disney channel, or Nickelodian or Cartoon Network.

    That's what's behind the baby SST DVDs-- it isn't about making quality TV for babies (an oxymoron if ever there was one). It's about branding. Getting the kids hooked on the characters and the parents into the SST habit before they're lost to Dora and Blue and the Disney princesses.

    We can argue that SST would find a larger audience by going back to its roots, but we're the choir (as in preaching to). We love the old SST and we understand the value and the rarity of that kind of quality. A lot parents, intelligent, thoughtful parents, turn on cable and stay there. They don't know what SST is doing today because they've never bothered to look.

    If we want better television (better TV for kids, better programs for adults-- whatever) we have to stop consuming the crap. If we (the collective we) weren't watching it, they wouldn't be making it. I know way too many people who complain endlessly about how bad shows are (kid shows and other shows) and yet they continue to watch them and continue to turn them on for their kids. They buy the merchandise for their kids. Nothings going to change that way.

    It's frustrating because we're in the minority and that makes it hard to be heard and hard to be counted. SST doesn't have to work too hard to get us to watch. We're also not their market. They need young kids and parents and that is a constantly changing group (the kids outgrow SST and a new set has to be brought in). SST is trying to compete and they're competing against all the fancy bells and whistles that grab attention. In a toy store, kids gravitate to the electronic toys with the fancy gadgets and buttons. Those toys generally don't have a lot of staying power (kids get bored with them pretty fast once you get them home) but it's hard for a wooden car to compete with a shiny remote control car that honks and spins at the press of a button.
  12. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    That post is very valid. And yes, in order to get good TV back, we need to stop watching the stuff that talks down to children or makes us adults cringe at how poor it's handled. But sadly, that is mostly all that is on TV for the current generation, aside from reality shows that are no better quality-wise, the obviously biased news reports that tell things from only one view and it's station-dependant on which view one gets, or the far worse MTV-style stoner-like shows that a lot of people our own age seem to have taken a shine to. Me personally, when I have children, I'll be sure to show them the good old days of entertainment and not the fodder corporations have shelled out since 1996.
  13. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    You can bet that my niece and nephews are getting the Fraggle CD set and some plush Doozersn for Christmas. I did get a Sesame Beginnings DVD for the smallest and to see what it was about. The baby Cookie Monster just looked too cute on the cover.


    But I also got the oldest nephew an animated Spider-Man DVD and the girl The Great Mouse Detective so there's some entertainment balance. I could never get any of the princess stuff. I leave that for the other family members. I'd rather give her something a little more fun. Fairly soon the DVD gifts will accompany a book to read. ;)

    Yes, I spoil them a little, but that's what uncles are for - and they've got enough Muppet figures. :D
  14. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    That's what a lot of family members are for nowadays.
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    A send away, dealing with HIV type video is its best bet, I concur. I don't see a show like SS really covering something that heavy. Heck, they never even did anti-drug episodes back in the heyday of anti-drug message related programming- and yet the Muppet babies and Winnie the Pooh (and ALF, and the Chipmunks, and Scrooge McDuck's nephews, and Bugs Bunny) starred in a TV special about it.

    Seems like something older kids would be concerned with. I can't see SS dealing with it. But perhaps Arthur would be a better venue. Seems like that reaches a slightly older audience that would possibly be more mature to understand it (considering kids hit the jump off point at SS at age 4 or 5 now).

    But there's nothing stopping them from a send away tape.
  16. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    You mean this thing, sponsored ironically by body-clogging McDonald's and the father of today's incombent president? :D
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Indeed I do.

    I will say, I think SS can still do bold things, like those military send away videos and that episode they made after September 11 where Hooper's store caught on fire and Elmo had to deal with his fear (Bringing this up apolitically as an example. No comments on it please). And I think they should remake the lead poisoning video (due to you know what). But AIDS may just go over kids' heads. That is unless they have infected parents....

    Even still, I wonder if SS is the right venue for such a hard topic. Especially considering the demographic now...
  18. wwfpooh

    wwfpooh New Member

    Agreed, for though things went over our heads back in the day, it is nothing when compared to spoon-and Elmo-fed fans nowadays.
  19. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    That film always made substances look adventure filled and exciting to me! LOL! Of couse they are not - and should be avoided! It's hard to tell what's worse for a person these days - substance abuse or McDonald's food! :eek:

    Greasy fast food can act much like cigarrettes and slowly build up like a time-bomb while substances tend to be spontaneous and unpredictable.

    As far as kids understanding HIV and AIDS, it isn't that they need to understand everything, but there are some good simple lessons: safety with cuts and scrapes, hugs are okay, sharing a sandwich is okay, being friends with an HIV positive kid is okay, that having HIV doesn't mean being or looking sick or that a positive person is going to die even though it is still serious.

    The problem, however, is that many parents still don't understand this information! :grouchy:
  20. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member


    That's what I've been wanting to say! Froggy knows what's in the Bear's mind, even when he can't find it to say it...wait, there it is...in my hat...
    :o


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