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Bloviate - words, lots of words...
Rotating Rants
words of futility...

Friday 6-22-2001

It was a dark and stormy night...

Whatever happened to the days when childrenís stories happened on paper? When I was little, we had peanuts, and Winnie the pooh, and all the other characters... curious george for example. All in books, or comic strips. What was so bad about that? Why do they need to be their own television shows? Is reading *that* hard, does it stretch the mind that much?

Frankly Iím disgusted by all of these people who have to buy their kids every single toy, and let them watch any movie that's on the screen. "Billy was only four years old, but he was *mature* enough to have seen blade, so we let him watch it."

My parents used to not let me watch scary or gory movies, especially without them when I was young. Was I worse off? Probably not. I don't think that it would really be necessary for me to be seeing slasher flicks at six. Or even at ten.

When I was young, I read books. I started with things like curious george. I read about all of his adventures, to the hospital, the circus, back to the jungle. Many things. I moved on to Beverly Cleary books, things like Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby Age 8. I went along on their adventures, shared their experiences. I cried at the end of Where the Red Fern Grows I laughed at the story of Billy Whiskers. I read, I learned, I enjoyed them. What happened to those days? Are children now allergic to pulp novels? Is their attention span that short that the 15 minutes between commercials is a stretch?

I think not. I think that the problem we're having is that the parents, teachers and other authority figures involved are molly coddling. We've reached an age where we have to make everything easy, and fun. What used to be a challenge to start with, and a joy to get through has now become meaningless. To watch the same story on a CRT will not have the same value as reading it on paper. When you're young, reading is a challenge, and when you have to struggle through to the ending, the ending means a lot more.

I have another problem with this. The television has more negative issues than just taking children away from books. Television by its nature is an imagination limiter. When you read a book, or hear a radio-drama, you have to imagine the scene, picture the characters. You must create the picture in your mind. Television does this all for you. It removes the imagination from the picture. It removes the need to think, to create, and to see with your mind. It really isn't that beneficial at all, unless you want to have a baby sitter for your kids, and if you've seen the cable guy, you know what that leads to...

Well, there's not much you can do about the others, but I for one am not going to sit around. I'm going to make a difference in at least the lives of my kids (if I ever have any) and perhaps as many as I come in close contact with.

As an adult, you can read to them in their early years. Teach them to read. Teach instill a love of reading; for with a love of reading comes a love to create, to write, and to dream. Unplug the television when they should be outside, or curled up with a book. Make it a treat to watch to boob tube.

When I was little we had TV on Saturday evening, (TREK! woo), and on special events, and for movies, and it didn't harm me at all. I don't have TV right now, and frankly I don't feel as though Iím missing much. If I can go pretty much my entire life, and have less than a few months worth of TV watching hours (every 744 hours you've wasted a month; although Iím not including movies in that) and still turn out fine, I don't think that there's a problem with not having it.

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