One annoying thing about being a parent, to which everybody who is a parent can attest, is that you have to read/watch/otherwise consume stupid kid stuff. It's not stupid because it's kid stuff per se, some kid stuff is quite good, but it seems much easier to get away with making stupid stuff for kids, because kids will read/watch/otherwise consume just about anything if it's colorful and big and animate and has animals or animal-like creatures in it.
Lately Lil' S1 has been on a Curious George kick, because we are at my in-laws and they happen to have a book of Curious George short stories, and while Curious George is far, far from the worst there is out there, I don't like it. It subtly -- or perhaps not so subtly -- sends a very bad message to kids: Good results make up for a bad process.
In every story George gets himself into a jam because he's stupid and doesn't follow basic rules of safety or common sense (apparently "curious" is a euphemism for "idiotically dangerous"), and then he somehow lucks into solving the problem at hand, and everybody lavishes him with kudos for doing so. I think that last part is the worst, because you could argue that since George is a monkey he follows different norms, but the humans should know better than to reward bad behavior, even if it does work out on a particular occasion.
In one story, for example, George climbs into a rhinoceros exhibit at the zoo, and gets (correctly) chastised by the zookeeper, but then he stumbles upon a missing baby rhino, so the zookeeper reverses course and hails him as a hero. That's really an awful thing to teach kids -- that you can do whatever you want and as long as things work out for you that one particular time, it means you made a praiseworthy decision.
And if you think "c'mon, there just silly kids' stories," well, I don't completely disagree, which is why I still read them to my sons. But somebody had to take the time to make them -- so why not make them good? Why not show them ways in which curiosity is actually beneficial, like in science and math? Wouldn't that make for a much better story?
Anyway, as I mentioned, I'm at my in-laws, so I'm short on time and have to log-off now.
Until next time...