06 Oct 12

Leave Big Bird Out of It

Ah, Facebook. The place where I go to send party invites, see family photos, and read psychotic political rants. We all have that one friend from college, that crazy uncle, or that old roommate who seizes hold of the digital soap box that is the Internet and shares their very own special flavor of Kool-Aid with you.

Here’s what I got to see today.

I’ll give you a moment to sigh and rub your temples.

Ready? Okay, let’s parse this.

“I’m tired of the pro-big government propaganda from PBS.”

Ok. I went to the PBS website and grabbed a sample of what was on my local station this morning. I haven’t cherry-picked. I literally just highlighted a chunk of what was on this morning:

  • The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! – Cat introduces Nick and Sally to a penguin.
  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Daniel and his parents pick strawberries.
  • Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope – A visit to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
  • Pati’s Mexican Table – Crazy corn; chicken flautas; chocolate and cajeta cupcakes.
  • Essential P├ępin – Endive with olives; stewed navy beans; gratin of leeks.
  • America’s Test Kitchen – How to make a pot roast and chicken potpie.
  • Cook’s Country From America’s Test Kitchen – Steakhouse-style steak tips; dill potato salad.

Dunno what’s particularly pro-big government about any of that. Maybe I’m not good at spotting propaganda. The best I could come up with was maybe the cat introducing humans to a penguin was some kind of insidious effort to brainwash children into accepting multiculturalism and miscegenation.

“If they were fair and balanced, I’d watch it, but they aren’t.”

Fair and balanced. I can’t help but note the use of the motto of Fox News. If Sesame Street was like Fox News, it would consist solely of Kermit the Frog and Guy Smiley bashing Oscar the Grouch for subsisting on handouts from his neighbors and demanding that Ernie and Bert get evicted from Gordon’s basement in case they start demanding marriage rights.

“The immoral part is they use EVERYONE’s tax dollars to send their liberal message.”

Not everybody wanted to go to war in Afghanistan or Iraq either, but our tax dollars went to that anyway. Here’s a handy-dandy chart I made comparing use of U.S. taxpayer money spent in the last eleven years on those two wars versus all government funding for PBS, ever:

There is (and should be) ongoing discussion in our nation regarding how taxpayer dollars should be spent. Regardless of how you feel about drone strikes or Masterpiece Theatre, I think we can all agree that getting this worked up over an expenditure this small shows a wanton disregard for priorities. Either that or an admirable ability to troll me into writing blog posts.

“Not fair.”

Not a complete sentence. Whinging “not fair” is not something grownups do as part of a legitimate political discussion.

“Defund PBS NOW!”

Like, right now? Like, this very second? There isn’t anything more pressing at hand, like say a major election? Or a shaky economy? Or educational reform? Or feeding the homeless? Or clipping your toenails?

This little gem was accompanied with a forwarded image of Big Bird with a giant red “no” symbol stamped over him and this caption:

“Click “Like” if you agree that the US Government shouldn’t be in the television business at all. Let the free market decide if Big Bird is viable. :-)”

My favorite part is the smiley face at the end. It’s like, “Hey Comrade Bird! Your efforts to teach children to read can’t be tapped as a capitalist revenue stream so we hate you. LOL!!!” A note to bullies: If you’re going to chuck a rock at someone, don’t bother drawing a happy face on it with a magic marker first. Your victim won’t see that as softening the blow any.

Our society can benefit from vigorous informed discussion over competing ideas regarding the powers and limits of government, legitimate uses of funds in the common pot, and the balance between public and private assets. But here’s a pro tip: If you’re trying to win people over to your side, don’t declare war on Big Bird. In doing so you’re messing with a cultural icon that is thoroughly beloved and people will instantly switch off to you without hearing out any potentially intelligent things you may have to say.

But then again, if you really think it’s useful to rant impotently about the dangers posed by a time-honored television station dedicated to promoting literacy, raising awareness of history and culture, and improving the standards of living at home, maybe I’ve wasted my time writing this post. You know what? Forget it. I’ll help out. I’ve pulled up an example of the horrible waste of taxpayer money spent on the production of leftist pinko commie anti-capitalist garbage that almost certainly programmed my brain cells to make me a docile sheeple when the Orwellian revolution begins. Enjoy.