Won't you tell me how to get to Sanity Street
"Sesame Street" and "adult content" in the same sentence? If you think it sounds ridiculous, hold on to your hats - this next item is sure to have you either laughing at its absurdity or crying about what it says about where this country is headed.
A warning at the beginning of volumes one and two of Sesame Street: Old School says, "These early episodes are intended for grown ups and may not suit the needs of today's preschool children."
Now, I may be slightly longer in the tooth than many of you, and I most certainly did not grow up watching Sesame Street as a child. But from what I know about the program, there's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on this show that's "intended for grown ups." In fact, I defy any sane adult to sit through an extended viewing of this show without driving one or both of their feet through their over-priced plasma screen TV.
So what in the world are they talking about? And what, pray tell, is the difference between what "suits the needs" of preschool children in 2007 that what suited the needs of preschool children circa 1969? Have the producers of the Emmy-laden children's educational program lost their minds by putting such a warning on this DVD?
In a word: yes.
The sad truth is not that the content of those inaugural episodes of Sesame Street is inappropriate, but that political correctness in this country has reached such silly and strident levels that it can even deem innocuous content on a children's program as ill- suited for the very audience it was created to target.
By now I'm sure that you're just dying to know exactly what parts of the original Sesame Street are so inappropriate that parents needed to be warned about them. Well, as long as you promise to read this sitting down, I'll tell you. Ready? Here we g
First off, the Cookie Monster. Yes, that's right, the big blue piece of shag carpet that munches on all manner of cookies. There's a scene in the show where, in a spoof of another famous Public Broadcasting System legend Alistair Cooke, the Cookie Monster appears with a pipe - which he later eats.
According to Carol-Lynn Parente, an executive producer of the current incarnation of Sesame Street, this "modeled the wrong behavior." It seems pretty silly, but according to Parente, PBS went as far as to re-shoot those scenes for the release of the DVD without the offending pipe. In the end, the parody was dropped from the DVD entirely.
And while the miserably cranky and contrary Oscar the Grouch still makes the cut, Parente admits that in today's climate, he and his garbage can would likely never have made it in front of the camera.
Pipe-eating monsters and garbage can dwelling misanthropes - both of whom, I'll remind you, are puppets - were deemed inappropriate enough to merit this "adult content" warning. Yet at the same time, excessively violent TV shows and video games make the cut. It doesn't add up.
But it's not just on Sesame Street that political correctness is running amok. Keep reading for a gem that's happening around Pennsylvania Avenue
Shame on him! Clarence Thomas accused of hiring on merit
We haven't heard Clarence Thomas's name that much for about a generation. The veteran Supreme Court Justice who was accused of sexual harassment charges during his confirmation hearings is back in the news. And you won't believe why.
Recently, it was pointed out that only 30 percent of Thomas's law clerks are women. Thomas claims that the low percentage of women in his office has nothing to do with his battle against sexual harassment charges 16 years ago. "I don't hire women law clerks," Thomas said when asked about the situation. "I hire the best law clerks. And it turns out that 30 percent of them happen to be women."
Thomas went on to explain that "if a woman graduates from law school and I say I'm going to hire her because she's a woman, that seems dehumanizing to me." It's a tough point to argue.
But am I alone in thinking that in this situation, Justice Thomas can't win for losing? Let's say he has a staff that's made up of 90 percent women. Wouldn't the very same group then whisper that perhaps Anita Hill was right all along? Or that maybe Thomas has something against women?
If the government functioned on the same principals of "meritocracy" as Thomas supports, our country would be running much more smoothly. The fact that people can question the motives of someone who hires on the basis of merit says a great deal about this country and where we're headed.