I've been on a bit of a news moratorium of late - but broke that fast this morning with a quick flight through a few online news sources. Here are three stories that caught my eye this morning:
Sesame Street is going global – taking its mission around the world. But just what is that mission?
Originally, Sesame Street’s goal was to prepare young children for school. Poor young children, though children from all socio-economic classes in the US were glued to the TV during Sesame Street. Along with numbers, letters, colors, these kids also learned, as Robert Lloyd of the LA Times points out, a world view of tolerance and peace.
They learned something else too: that learning occurs in short segments and must be entertaining. Sesame Street inadvertently has trained at least two generations now to be consumers of TV and entertainment, not necessarily of learning.
Now Kosovo, Bangladesh, and South Africa have experienced the Sesame Street phenomenon, and that experience has been recorded in a documentary airing this fall on PBS stations.
Revamped to suit the cultural and political issues of those areas, Sesame Street may indeed bring tolerance and learning to children in these poverty-, war-, and disease-stricken nations, but it will also capture and prime a new audience to become the chattel of entertainment and consumerism.
But maybe the ethics and mores of Sesame Street will shine through the glitz and entertainment, and youngsters will at least learn to do unto others as you would have others do unto you, something that, apparently, Jeff Skilling never learned and may now have a chance to reflect on (sans any TV, one would hope).
Yes, Jeff Skilling, former CE of Enron, has just received a 24-year sentence in a federal penitentiary (I love that word – will he actually be penitent whilst he is incarcerated?).
He’ll have a roof over his head, three meals a day, and healthcare (granted, rudimentary healthcare, but healthcare nonetheless.)
And his victims? Those working stiffs from Enron - not the investors but those folks who did their 40 hours a week, took care of their families, and were saving via Enron’s retirement plan for their dotage – they were sentenced to, as the U.S. District Judge who imposed the 24-years on Skilling noted , a ”lifetime of poverty."
Meanwhile, the global ecosystem continues to go to hell in a hand basket. Can you guess which nations on the planet have the three largest eco footprints? Of course, you immediately name the US, but you might be surprised to learn that according to the Living Planet report, Finland and theUnited Arab Emirates also have mighty big feet.
And did you know that by 2050 we’ll need the resources of two planet earths to sustain the bio demands of the world’s population? Let’s see, will I be dead by then?
So while it may be hypocritical for the US to ask developing nations to curb their use of resources when we’ve already got ours, it makes sense. Unfortunately, those coming up behind us in development need to take a cautionary lesson from our story. But are they? Of course not. We are all greedy and want ours no matter what (even Sesame Street can't change that basic characteristic of humankind). No surprise there. Well, what a lovely, cynical, and jaded way to start the day.