"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -Richard Dawkins

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Disney Doesn't Live Here

I catch a lot of flack from a lot of people when they find out that I don't let my child watch shows like Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues, Barney and Go, Diego, Go! I also don't let her watch newer episodes of Sesame Street (see earlier entry) in a fierce attempt to keep Elmo Fever from taking over my house. New Disney movies, including most Pixar films are "banned" here, and people are constantly asking why I would deprive my child of one of the seemingly only joys out there.

But they're so wrong! Why? I understand. It doesn't make immediate sense. Do I somehow not think my kid is going to encounter things like Winnie the Pooh, Nemo and Barbie over at her friend's houses? Of course I don't. But in a nation of consumers, my intent, my only intent, is to keep my footprint small, and live up to my personal mission statement of sustainability. Dora the Explorer does not come on cloth diapers, or wooden toys. She does not come on quality pieces of furniture or fair trade textiles. Elmo does not show up on stoneware plates or carriers for baby wearers. In our country, because our children so love and adore these shallow characters, we are purchasing heaps of cheap, poorly made plastics of questionable Asian origin which we now suddenly are finding out might be laced in lead. Things that are filling ten-cent bins in thrift stores and our landfills. We buy and buy and they market and market and I am not okay with that.

So what does my kid watch? What characters does she idolize? Well, none, she's not that old yet. But recently we bought the full Dungeons and Dragons Animated Series on DVD (see image) and she watched two episodes with us contently. Of course, she's too young now to see the difference between Dungeon Master and Elmo, but I know when we go to the store she will not throw herself out of the cart screaming for that red plushie on the shelf.

On TV she watches the Qubo network where we love shows such as Mordecai Richler's Jacob Two-Two and Jane and the Dragon. We're planning to purchase the complete sets of the Star Trek Animated Series and Invader Zim. She watches Disney Classics like Robin Hood and Jungle Book, and I can guarantee I won't be seeing any Maid Marian toothbrushes or Bagheera Big Wheels any time soon...

And that I can take comfort in.

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