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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Television Nutrition

Today my dear son turned on Mad TV on Cartoon Network, and after thirteen seconds I was shouting "Turn it off!"  I had a gut reaction to the sketch on the screen at the time: "There's a Crap For That," in which, iPhone ad-like, various situations were described and their solutions--the sounds of varied bowel movements--were accompanied by a voice-over stating, "There's a crap for that."

I took a deep breath once the TV was off and then attempted to address my son's whining, "But why? It's funny!" "It's not funny, it's disgusting!" "No, it's funny!"  Hm.  I could see I would get nowhere with my killing line of logic.  All right, think, Mom, this is your moment to stamp out bad television from your child's life forever.

Mad TV is like candy, or junk food, I explained.  You know how junk food tastes good, but it doesn't do much to help your body grow?  Mad TV doesn't do much to help your mind and spirit grow.  Like, when you watch Fetch with Ruff Ruffman.

"Oh, I was just going to say that.  I learn a lot of facts from that show!"

Right!  And think about Phineas and Ferb, (a show my son and I both happen to like).  Can you think of ways that it nourishes your mind and spirit?

"Yes," said my son, "It has great vocabulary.  And the kids are so creative."

I can think of lots of ways it helps you grow, including the vocabulary and the inventions.  Also, there are lots of different kinds of families on it: Phineas and Ferb's family is a blended family with two divorced (?) parents who married each other.  Isabella's family is, somehow or another, both Hispanic and Jewish.  The characters break out of their stereotypes, so that the bully can have moments of sensitivity and a real friendship with the nerdy Indian boy he's supposed to bully.  It isn't perfect; the main female character seems to have no purpose other than chasing a boy and trying to get her brothers in trouble--but even Candace has moments of growth.

"Is being funny nourishing?"

Well.  Laughter is good for the soul, right?  It's also the best medicine.  But just as slapping a piece of tomato on the disgusting fish sandwich I prefer at McDonald's does not make it health food, if something being funny is the only nourishing thing about it, maybe, just maybe, it's junk TV.

We talked about a list of TV shows that are, and are not, nourishing.  My son realized that he watches a lot  of junk TV.  Even AFV, which seems pretty harmless on the surface, really has nothing going for it except laughter.

Now, do I really believe he's going to cut his Junk TV viewing down to twice a month?  No.  But I've asked him to make sure he watches at least 5 or 6 "nutritious" TV shows for every one Junk TV show he watches.  Not all in one day, of course. :)

And now, for some gratuitous knitting pictures:

 Our Christmas Stockings (my Potions OWL)
Peck's new Bow Tie
An Army of Penguins
A closeup of the Swallowtail I made for my mother-in-law.
and ChesterKitty eating a bowl of pasta sauce, just for something completely different.