January 30, 2006

WWJD?? Veggie Tales Made My Child Cry

veggie_tales_blues.jpg

Now, I'm a believer, and I can totally respect a conscientious businessman closing his chicken restaurant chain on the Sabbath. The Chick-Fil-A folks are more religious than most corporate types, but they also have some great product, their people are almost unfailingly nice, and except for the twinges of Vast Rightwing Conspiracy I get when the only media source available is the Washington Times, they're alright by me.

The kid and the wife and the grandma went to Chick-Fil-A recently and got a very above-average kid's meal prize, a Veggie Tales CD/CD-ROM. Again, while I'm of a different denomination, aesthetically, at least, Veggie Tales seems to be to be a high-quality, well-produced, well-reviewed source of gratifying children's entertainment with a non-objectionable [to most] Christian underpinning. Fine.

So pardon me if it's not too Christlike to ask WTF? No sooner did the kid start watching the music video, "Larry [the Cucumber] Sings The Blues," then her lip starts quivering and she bursts into tears and sobs. See, this dickhead Lemon keeps saying that Larry's too happy to sing the blues right, and so he the gives Larry an ice cream cone, lets him enjoy one lick, and then he takes it away and eats the whole thing, then gloats about it to his "friend." No problem, the postive-thinking Larry says, I'll have...a cookie! Which Lemon promptly grabs away, throws on the ground, and beats to smithereens with his guitar. The kid lost it, and that was that. The other video, about baby Moses getting yelled at by his older sister had the same effect. [Note to evangelicals: you can have biblical textual literalism or "wholly invented for the sake of lesson-teaching convenience" character development, but you can't have both.]

Did we later watch the endings of these videos to find out the positive lessons they were supposed to teach, and did that mitigate the needless cruelty that drove the kid to tears? Yes, and no, not really. Is the Good News here supposed to be that your friends and family are actually meanspirited jerks? Or like with this Lemon, is it that there's some self-appointed arbiter telling you how wrong you are, who then takes obvious pleasure from trying to make you unhappy? [And who then purports to show you how the blues are done, even though he doesn't seem sad, either, just sadistic, so what does he know?]

My kid has a Noah's ark set; I suppose I should be explaining to her about all the wicked people and animals who were wiped out in the flood first? Damn, but these vegetables have me steamed.

Veggie Tales [bigidea.com]
Chick-Fil-A [chickfila.com]

6 Comments

LOL! I had a similar problem yesterday while minding the kids in the church Nursery. I grabbed a boardbook called "The Story of Joseph" and had to stop reading after Joseph's brothers threw him in a hole in the ground (and before they sold him into slavery). The storyline wasn't going over well with the little ones.

I've found some of the Veggie Tales stuff is much better than others. My favorite is "Josh and the Big Wall". Doesn't sound like what you got was their best work, or maybe they were aiming at an older audience...

At what point in the Moses story in the Bible does his sister yell at him? Am I missing something?

I bought a VeggieTales video (it was on sale), but the sound doesn't work, so we're still VeggieIgnorant here.

[my point exactly. it's not in there. Exodus 2. -ed.]

I don't know why everyone is getting there panties in a bunch. They are trying to teach lessons to the children that doing all of these things like taking things from other children and being mean is wrong. They are also trying to teach about stories in the bible. Just because they are in the bible doesn't always mean they are going to be the best of stories. Stop trying to shelter your children so much. They have to learn some lesson of respect and kindness. That is what is wrong with most of our children today is that parents like all of you who criticize the good that is triyng to be spoken have something negative to say about every word all because you want to try your best to protect your children. What are you protecting them from. Your children are going to cry. What would you do if they were watching Tom & Jerry and they saw Jerry smacking Tom over the head like he always did? Did any of those cartoon growing up scar any of you? I doubt it. So quit being so protective over you children.

[quit giving orders to people you don't know using wild-ass generalizations that involve phrases like "parents like all of you". Look around the world and count how many people see violence and violence among family members as either acceptable or inevitable. I decided that

Actually, Moses has no sister in the bible. At least not that he is raised with.

I had a similar experience while working at the Catholic preschool I used to teach at. We tried to show the kids what we though was an age-appropriate video of the first easter. It was made for ages 3-6. Needless to say, I had to turn it off before the ending. The children were screaming and crying at Jesus being taunted and then dying. A mother got really upset with us because her son couldn't stop crying about it all day.

It wasn't really that bad, not a Passion of the Christ by any means. Just people being mean to Jesus, making him carry the cross, and then showing him on the cross. But still, it was for ages 3-6?

Spare the scary moralizing video and spoil the child, seems to be the theme here.

I think the problem is that a book about bad things is less vivid for kids than a movie about bad things. If we want to teach them, we have to realize that. Possibly the people that made the videos (or labeled them for various ages) didn't realize that, or tested them on kids who were already jaded by intense movies.

her name is Miriam

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