Jen of ConversionDiary.com does more than just write about atheism; she also has some pretty shrewd observations on Christian life. Case in point, she catches something not quite right in an episode of kids’ show Ni Hao, Kai-Lan:
Anyway, Kai-Lan is a little girl with a friend named Rintoo, and in this particular episode Rintoo isn’t feeling special. Kai-Lan and her other friends seem to have an instinctive feeling that Rintoo must be special somehow, and spend most of the episode trying to figure out why that is…. But I was surprised and distressed at what she came up with: he’s fast. That’s what makes him special. And she went on to tell her young viewers that the next time they’re not feeling special, they should remember what they’re really good at, and know that that’s what makes them special.
Anyone else find that disturbing?
As I watched the little characters dance around and celebrate the various demonstrable skills that supposedly made each one of them special, I was guessing that this wasn’t going to be the episode where Kai-Lan’s slow, obese, mentally ill, physically disabled friend was introduced, because then things would get really awkward.
The problem is this: the reason every single one of us is inherently special — even the most flawed, the most unproductive, and the most decrepit among us — is because we are special to Someone. It’s because we are loved. And you can’t prove love.
One of my cousins used to say (half-joking…I think) that Sesame Street was a communist plot because of the way they were always pushing cooperation. It was training kids to give up their individuality for the good of the collective. Now, I don’t think there was really a plot, but that interpretation shows how Sesame Street was influenced by the spirit of the times back in the 70’s, when we had given up on trying to push back against communism and thought it was just a matter of time before we were all living like the Soviets.
Jen notes the same thing about this kids’ show, as we now live in a world where convenience is paramount, and our value is “based on arbitrary, flexible definitions that are ultimately rooted in human opinion.” Be sure to check out her whole post.