At least Republicans are focusing on the big issues

http://tv.yahoo.com/fc/ytv/network_tv_programming/

I’m not sure quite what to say about this story.

-DavidCPA

The way to solve the AIDS problem is to pretend it doesn’t exist.

“The letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell was sent by committee chairman W.J. “Billy” Tauzin, a Louisiana Republican; as well as by Joe Barton of Texas; Richard Burr of North Carolina, Charles “Chip” Pickering of Mississippi, Cliff Stearns of Florida and Fred Upton of Michigan, the paper said.”

AKA, the dumbest fucks on Capitol Hill. CTW should make a muppet of a grandstanding hick-wad politician to warn children of the dangers of inbreeding.

I think it was just a matter of time until a muppet came down with aids, given all that fisting they engage in.

WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO REVOKE BERT’S CITIZENSHIP AND TRY HIM IN A MILITARY TRIBUNAL FOR LENDING MORAL SUPPORT TO BIN LADEN?!!

PBS ARE ANTI-AMERICAN FUCKS!

OK - I’ll jump in here and take a roasting.

While I don’t think either political side has a lock on stupidity and grandstanding and thirst for power, and I don’t think congressmen should be worried about crap like this, I AM tired of the constant desire to politicize and teach in programs aimed at little kids. I’ve talked to my kids about AIDs and HIV, and why some things we used to not worry about we need to think about. But can’t we just let programs aimed at little kids be entertaining? Do I really need a program on Nick targeted at small children to teach them that it’s OK for lesbians to be parents? Etc. etc.

OK, flame away folks.

Maybe. It sounds like you might. Do you have some sort of problem with lesbian parents? But I think that program was also aimed at children being raised by lesbian parents and they probably thought it valuable. Plus over 95% of Nickelodeon is aimed at being mindless, why’d you watch that 5%?

Anyway, that kind of programming is probably a lot more needed than the 700 Club.

“tired of the constant desire to politicize and teach in programs aimed at little kids. […] But can’t we just let programs aimed at little kids be entertaining?”

Uh, I’m kinda speechless. The idea behind Sesame Street is to create educational programming for children that also has an entertainment component, not the other way around. The program is SUPPOSED to “teach.”

Note: even the “entertainment” shows are trying to teach. Mainly they are trying to teach your children that they need to own Pokemon products, eat at McDonalds if their grandparents really love them, and indulge in Disney ocean cruises. Sesame Street is one of the few media options aimed at kids (along with Mad Magazine) which might actually support the idea of viewing entertainment messages with a critical mind.

Finally, this character was expressly aimed at children in Africa, where there is an epidemic of children BORN with the disease. You don’t have to teach the kids about condoms and needle sharing in order to help prepare them to deal with classmates with AIDS.

OK, flame away folks.

I don’t think you said anything that requires flaming Jeff.

I would like to point out that Seasame Street has always tried to be educationally entertaining (ABCs, 123s, shapes, etc). They always lowkeyed the big social issues and focused on kid level interactions (being nice, polite, etc). If you remember, Seasame Street has always had one of the most diverse casts in TV without making he racial differences a big deal.

Having an HIV character is probably important for the South African version of the show as the prevalance of the disease in Africa is growing every day.

-DavidCPA

Oh, frankly the concept of what they are doing in South Africa with Sesame Street and HIV makes a lot of sense - with the unbelievable rates of infection and death down there, and the fact that kids are surrounded every day by many HIV positive folks, it’s surely a public good.

My cranky rant was that it seems that every day I’m seeing some new attempt to interject some socio-political teaching into programs aimed at lower and lower ages. As for the person who said:

“Maybe. It sounds like you might. Do you have some sort of problem with lesbian parents? It sounds like your kids may NEED this”

That’s a moral issue. While you may categorize them all as toothless hicks who marry their sisters, there are people who disagree with the concept of lesbian parents. And whether you and I agree with them, why does someone feel compelled to teach little kids about this issue? Because they’re right and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong, and has no right to a differing moral opinion (and anyone who does have a different opinion is intolerant of others’ views, BTW.) I’d be just as peeved if there was a cartoon on a mainstream network that was teaching that homosexuality was wrong.

I’ve got absolutely no problem with Sesame Street having an HIV positive character - as someone pointed out, it fits in with their gentle, social (and responsible) methods. That’s one of the few TV programs our kids watched when they were little. But I see an increasing trend to ensure that our kids carry the burdens of the adult world on their shoulders as soon as possible. They don’t need their Sponge Bob or Bugs Bunny to be teaching them about abortion, stem cell research, homosexuality, ethnic cleansing, etc. They have far too many years to learn about all of those worries once they can ride their bikes without training wheels. This isn’t sticking your head in the sand, this is choosing the appropriate age to teach each kid what they need to know to be safe, socially responsible, caring, etc.

I’m a little more sensitive to this than usual due to a recent sad event that happened with a friend’s 5 year old, but I would still feel this way regardless (although not perhaps at the level to want to take the time to discuss it.)

Thank God the muppets are willing to say something about the current plague, since Nelson Mandela wouldn’t and South Africa’s current president slash crackpot, Thado Mbeki, refuses to even acknowledge a link between HIV and AIDS.

Ironically, according to a recent article in The New Republic, the kind of conservative moralizing that often characterizes these hand-wringing congressional misadventures is actually the foundation for the most successful public health AIDS policy in Africa, much to the consternation of various NGOs. The article isn’t online, but I found it on deja news:

<Non-Erik Material Starts Here>

USAID Study Promotes Abstinence as Effective against AIDS

Uganda’s experience suggests that abstinence and fidelity may be the keys to whipping AIDS in Africa. According to a study presented to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) this February by former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist Rand Stoneburner, Uganda’s prevention model has the potential to reduce the AIDS rate in Africa’s worst-stricken countries by 80 percent–the same level of efficacy one might expect from an HIV vaccine. “According to the modeling we’ve done, 3.2 million lives would be saved between 2000 and 2010,” said Stoneburner.

Since Uganda’s success is nearly unique in sub-Saharan Africa, more and more people are asking how it can be duplicated. As researchers have begun picking apart the reasons for Uganda’s success, controversy has dogged their work, perhaps because most of them agree on one troublesome fact: Condoms had relatively little to do with it. (A recent study in Uganda led by Ronald Gray, a physician-researcher at Johns Hopkins University, confirmed that while consistent condom use worked in slowing HIV transmission, inconsistent use had no effect whatsoever.)

The experiences of Botswana and Zimbabwe provide further evidence that condom use alone is not the answer. The two nations rank first and second worldwide, respectively, in HIV prevalence. Yet by African standards, they are relatively modern states in which condoms are freely available. In a 1999 survey, more than 70 percent of adult men in Zimbabwe said they had used condoms in their last high-risk sex act, making Zimbabwe possibly the most condom-friendly country outside Asia. And while a leading USAID contractor, Population Services International (PSI), has marketed condoms heavily in Zimbabwe and Botswana, they haven’t stemmed the aids epidemic. “Both countries are basket cases,” says Green, who is writing a book about failures and successes in the fight against AIDS. “Condoms are marketed as if they are one hundred percent safe; but there is leakage, breakage, slippage, improper usage… If condoms fail or aren’t used correctly or consistently just twenty percent of the time, if you don’t change your behavior and keep running around, it may be just a matter of time before you’ll get infected.”

The most striking epidemiological feature of Uganda’s success is the drastic reduction in multiple partnering by Ugandan adults. Among women aged 15 and above, the number reporting multiple sexual partners fell from 18.4 percent in 1989 to 8.1 percent in 1995 to 2.5 percent in 2000, according to Nantulya’s colleague in the Harvard study, anthropologist Edward C. Green. Smaller but similar declines in male promiscuity were reported as well. At the same time, while the average Ugandan girl becomes sexually active at the age of 17–about one year older than was the case a decade ago–the rate of marriage among girls aged 15 to 19 is 76 percent, compared with 37 percent in neighboring Kenya.

Researchers working in Uganda have suspected that abstinence and fidelity were contributing to declining infection rates for close to a decade. In 1993 Green wrote in a report for World Learning Inc., a USAID contractor: “If a high AIDS-prevalence country like Uganda shows a significant decline in STDs in the absence of a male condom prevalence rate over 5 (percent), it might suggest that other types of behavior change (premarital chastity, ‘zero grazing’ or marital fidelity, abstinence, non-penetrative and other safer sexual practices) can significantly affect STD incidence if not HIV incidence.” Stoneburner, then a WHO official, came to a similar conclusion two years later. But their message didn’t exactly catch fire. And while it is difficult to separate political differences from scientific ones, both Green and Stoneburner complain of difficulty publishing studies that point to the importance of fidelity and abstinence. In 1998 Green wrote an article about the apparent success of what he calls “primary behavior change”–more abstinence and fewer partners, as opposed to condom use and STD treatment–in slowing HIV transmission in the Dominican Republic, only to have it turned down by four academic journals. (He eventually published it as a brief letter in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.)

One prominent example of the public health establishment’s preference for condoms over abstinence and fidelity in the 1990s was Aidscap, a large USAID-funded “Behavior Change Communication” program run by Family Health International from 1991 to 1997. Aidscap simultaneously offered STD treatment and HIV testing in African clinics. But its prevention guidelines for health workers mainly encouraged them to talk about condom use and treatment of other STDs that make people more vulnerable to HIV. “It was considered too moralistic to stress abstinence and fidelity,” recalls David Wilson, a leading USAID consultant from the University of Zimbabwe in Harare.

Officials at USAID say fidelity and abstinence–“delayed sexual debut” and “partner reduction,” in public health speak—have always been part of their message. But Paul R. DeLay, acting director of USAID’s Office of HIV-AIDS, acknowledges that “there was a tendency to focus on what we were most familiar with: condoms. Other parts weren’t ignored, but were they applied to the extent they could have been?”

“What happened in Uganda,” says Jim Shelton, senior medical scientist in USAID’s Office of Population, “is that a lot of forces at one time were promoting more responsible sexual behavior, so you get to a social norm, a tipping point kind of thing. At some point all these messages, plus seeing people dying, get people to change their sexual behavior… And I guess this has reinforced and awakened us to the virtue of emphasizing more the A and B in the ABC strategy.”

I disagree Jeff. It isn’t a moral issue at all (“Lesbian parents” or even “homosexuality”). I believe morality is a personal thing. The fact is that it’s legal for lesbians to have children and there are a lot of gay parents with children. I and millions of others have no moral problem with it. Since it’s happening in society, I see nothing wrong with a television program addressing this social reality. Because it’s teaching tolerance and it’s easily ignored by moral evangelists.

I see lots of things wrong with your other example: A cartoon preaching against homosexuality. (You said you’d be against that - good for you.) But it isn’t the same thing at all, because that would be teaching intolerance. The lesbian show is saying: “I’m all right” the cartoon would be saying “You are wrong”

Big difference there. I didn’t see this pro-lesbian parent show but I’m GUESSING there was nothing in there that said it was morally wrong to be a straight or Christian parent. Just as I’d have no problem with a Born Again Christian program that simply talked about how great it is to be a BAC. It’s when they start saying that NOT being a BAC, or being gay, or being foreign, is some sort of problem, that they start being a big Pain in the Ass.

:D

If you can’t be bothered to listen to the intro dialogue in Operation Flashpoint, I ain’t gonna read that article.

If you can’t be bothered to listen to the intro dialogue in Operation Flashpoint, I ain’t gonna read that article.

But that was the whole point; I did listen to the intro dialogue in Operation Flashpoint. All thirty minutes of it, plus the interactive waiting for the bus level.

There wasn’t a “christian breeders are losers” message, no. And on the subject or contreversial “moral” issues on childrens shows: would an interracial couple be something that Shouldn’t Be Shown?

Big difference there. I didn’t see this pro-lesbian parent show but I’m GUESSING there was nothing in there that said it was morally wrong to be a straight or Christian parent.

No, but you’re missing the point. Jeff’s saying that he doesn’t mind if people want to act in a certain way, but why do they have to promote that behavior on the show by emphasizing that it exists. They’re not writing programs where you say it’s ok to be Christian or it’s ok to whack off in your own home. So why do we need one that says it’s ok to be a lesbian?

Leave the politics out of kids programming. If you want to educate, educate the fundamentals like reading, writing and 'rithmetic. Heaven knows so many kids could use that kind of help and don’t need to even think about Lesbian politics at 3 years old.

–Dave

Andrew, here’s the problem as I see it. For many people, perhaps millions, homosexuality is morally wrong. That isn’t intolerance, that’s a moral belief. There’s a guy here in Michigan that is a fundamental Christian, strongly believes that homosexuality is morally wrong, and he runs a free clinic for AIDs patients. He isn’t intolerant, he’s more giving and loving than I’ll ever be and he genuinely feels compassion and love for these folks - but he believes homosexuality is morally wrong. There are others like him. Why do you and I have the right to teach his children that it morally acceptable? Because it is prevalent? Abortion is legal and widespread, but obviously many feel that it is morally wrong - should I applaud a show aimed at 6 year olds that teaches abortion is acceptable?

C’mon - is there really a nationwide need to teach preschoolers about lesbian parents? I know I’m going to come across to those who don’t actually know me as incredibly intolerant, backwards, all those nice terms, but I’m trying to take the unpopular side here and get people to at least think beyond the surface, beyond the easy politically correct answers.

Ugh, are you kidding me? I don’t think that exclusionary stance “Gays are wrong” is a moral or even a truly Christian belief Jeff. In fact I think it’s an immoral belief. I hold it in the same amount of contempt I would hold someone who held the belief “Mexicans are Bad”. Actually no matter how many millions of people espouse it, it’s still an intolerant and immoral belief, so far as I’m concerned. It’s at least as wrong-headed as the older belief that blacks are subhuman or that Jews have horns and tails. And it most definitely is intolerance.

“Why do you and I have the right to teach his children that it morally acceptable?”

Why do we have the right to teach David Duke’s kids that black people are ok? Or that woman are to be respected?

C’mon - is there really a nationwide need to teach preschoolers about lesbian parents? I know I’m going to come across to those who don’t actually know me as incredibly intolerant, backwards, all those nice terms, but I’m trying to take the unpopular side here and get people to at least think beyond the surface, beyond the easy politically correct answers.

Why isn’t there? What harm does it do? I don’t have the numbers, but there’s a large number of gay people who clearly want to adopt kids. Gay couples are adopting kids. And some of them are fighting for that right in court.

Also, I’m assuming most of the people who watched that show were, um, lesbian parents and their children? I can’t imagine why anti-gay, excuse me, “moral and tolerant” people would even tune in to a show so odious to their moral character. Are they afraid their kids are going to tune in and BOOM all of a sudden get some fancy idears? Go and adopt themselves a few kids and marry someone of the same sex?

There isn’t a “nationwide need” to teach preschoolers anything but english and math, but that didn’t stop anyone before. And what’s with this “teaching its morally acceptable” bit? How else are they supposed to show it?

Really, I think interracial parents is the best analogy: the only difference is the number of people offended. Both are situtations preschoolers will encounter that are off the norm.

I don’t see the harm in portraying a same sex relationship. Teaching tolerance isn’t the same as teaching that it’s accepted behavior children should emulate.

Sesame Street is a daily show and it’s been on a long time. It’s going to touch on a wide range of topics.