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cwest (1514)

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Journal of cwest (1514)

Monday July 15, 2002
06:03 AM

Sesame Street on AIDS

[ #6357 ]

I'm glad to see a few congressman with sensible feelings on this issue. The demographic for Sesame Street, at least in the US, is way too young to need to hear about AIDS. If US Sesame Street gets an HIV positive puppet, I'll be using some other form of visual stimulation for my children, without the help of Bert or Kermit.

The letter sent to PBS includes the following, which I do feel is appropriate and should be considered heavily by the broadcasting company.

"We would like to inquire as to whether there is other PBS programming, aimed at an older age group, which may be more suitable for such sensitive messages."

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  • The character is designed to be a "good role model" for pre-school children, in a country where one in nine people are infected with HIV.

    In some parts of South Africa, 40% of women of child-bearing age are HIV-positive.

    Anything that can educate about HIV there must be good. I can't find any links now, but NPR have had a few programs about it.

    Most governments there does not seem interested at all in doing anything about it.

    For example: In Africa a common myth is that you can be cured of HIV by havi

    -- ask bjoern hansen [], !try; do();

    • Yeah, I think it's a good thing for South Africa. I had no idea there was such a myth, thinking about it has put a damper on my morning already.

      I just don't want my children to ask me about AIDS when they're four years old. It will be hard enough to explain why the sky is blue (It's hard to make some adults understand why the sky is blue.).
      Casey West
      • Just for South Africa? AIDS is everywhere and it's breathtaking to watch the world turn a blind eye to a disease that is merely in check and not cured. The Economist has a report on the International AIDS Conference [] in the latest issue. AIDS is still alive and very well in the US but we just never hear about it since the pharmaceutical companies are getting paid for the drugs that put it into remission.

        Kids are free of the baggage that accumulates with age and if they are exposed to things early, there m

      • My kids are slightly younger and older. It is my belief that it is a mistake to hide the ugliness of the world from children. True, you have to be careful as some things can cause nightmares or irrational fear.

        At the same time, you can point out the beauty in the world, and show how it can be found in unsuspecting places.

        I think that one reason why when children become teenagers and get so angry and disenchanted is that they are discovering the ugliness and the hypocrisy parents have hidden from them.

  • Children may be infected with HIV. Children may bleed. Nuff said. Or else, ban HIV-infected kids from schools.
    • Stick to teaching numbers and letters and spanish, don't scare my children with bleeding puppets.
      Casey West
      • Casey, you're a straight middle class christian white boy. Sesame Street, in any of its forms, isn't targeted at you or your kids. In this case the muppet's for the South African show and, given the AIDS rates there amongst the population in general and kids in specific (I see the "rape a virgin" thing that's floating around sub-saharan africa's been mentioned) it's dead-on appropriate. In the US, Sesame Street's targeted at urban kids, and any spillover they get in other community's just a bonus. (And Sesa
        • I'm a straight middle class Christian white boy, and always thought Sesame Street, while obviously urban in nature, was for all of America's kids. I grew up on it.

          Pretending it is--and that's what you're doing--leaves your kids horribly ill-suited to deal with the world when they get older.

          Asking the government to help solve your kids problems and be your kid's primary teacher probably doesn't help much, either. :) Of course, I know there are many kids with crummy non-present or non-existent parents

          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
        • More to the point, though, if you haven't talked to your kids about AIDS and other infectious diseases in general (in many parts of the world its the equivalent of living in the early part of the 20th century and not talking to your kids about polio), along with a whole slew of other things I'd bet you're dodging, you're doing your kids a huge disservice.

          You have no reason to make any bets about what Casey is or is not dodging. You don't really know. More to the point, it's none of your business; even a
    • > Children may be infected with HIV. Children may bleed. Nuff said.

      From another angle,

          Some children are infected with HIV.
          Some adults treat these kids as old-tyme lepers were treated.
          Other children learn only that "Johnny is to be shunned."
              (...*unless* they are educated otherwise...)
          Everybody looses.

      Count me in favor of an HIV-positive puppet if it will help to improve
      the lives of those children living with HIV and hel
  • Would you approve if the show had a child muppet who was diabitic, or maybe had hemophelia?

    The condition AIDS itself is not any less apropriate that any other disease a child might have.

    A 4 year old certainly would understand that someone is sick and that being sick requires some special things, and you, as a parent, don't have to go into the pathology and social history of AIDS at that age.

    I don't doubt that there are children with HIV in school and I'll bet they could use some friends.