4 comments on “Democracy, diversity, and responsibility. Why these are so heavily linked. An attempt to explain this through rambling about films.

  1. Isn’t children’s TV (and therefore the people who work in it) important because it is an informant (not the informant, or the only informant) of democracy, diversity and responsibility? (Hence the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and successor organisations).

    James Valliant [lawyer and writer of philosophical texts] does the “prosecutorial” very well. Sometimes in a very scorching way!

    I do understand a little better about the Aztecs being talked out of sacrifice (or the attempt being made).

    One example of someone who wrote about films not based on how good or bad they are on the grapevine is Cole Smiley about TOY STORY 3.

    “Fruit-munching monkeys”?

    As an example, Little Big Shots is where legal children make filmic stories, including A GREEN TREE FROG from the Northern Territory. Would really love to see more children take the reins of visual and performing arts.

    If we had any respect for children and the ways they receive and create stories, I would not have Cameron near any children’s television or film.

    • First of all, I apologise for not getting around to this sooner. The last day or so has proven problematic in terms of my energy and such.

      Now, one of the problems with any informant or related service is that it is only as good as the people in control of it. Sesame Street, for instance, did such a good job of this in the 1970s and early 1980s because the people behind it used such a very scientific and educated methodology in terms of how to effectively communicate to the children. This is why when negative emotions such as jealousy, envy, gluttony, or the like were dealt with in the show, they were expressed using the “monsters” rather than any of the real person characters or the puppets that the children were meant to sympathise with. Hence, the Sesame Street equivalent of “shut up or piss off” was always delivered by Oscar The Grouch, the desire to eat as a compensatory mechanism by Cookie Monster, and so on.

      I will have a look around for Cole Smiley’s writings about Toy Story 3. I must admit that I have purposefully ignored most of the Toy Story ilk for reasons similar to what I describe in my writings. The whole “be a child forever” message… ugh.

      To be brutally honest with you, too, I find that such terrible-sounding ways to describe the Na’vi (or the Stereo’type as they should be called) is the best way to illustrate my contempt for how they are written. Even with such institutional savagery in their society, to say that the Aztecs deserved better representation of the layers to them as a people is an understatement.

      I would also like to see children more involved in visual and performing arts. I am not sure how involved they were on the Canadian television show You Can’t Do That On Television, but the goals of the producers and writers, as they say, was to allow the voices of the children to shine through as they give their own perspective on aspects of the world. It shows.

      After my recent post on Prometheus, I have to reflect on what would have become of it if 2012 Cameron as opposed to 1986 Cameron had been more involved in it. Suffice to say that 2012 Scott makes 2012 Cameron seem like a monkey throwing its droppings at a wall with strips of celluloid stuck to it by comparison. *nods*

  2. First: Cole SMITHEY (now that I remember) – if you don’t want to look for his name, then find “The smartest film critic in the world”. Yes … ugh. Or yawn, in my case, especially the first TOY STORY. The second was probably a little more engaging.

    Big props to YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON TELEVISION – one of the very first Nickelodeon TV shows – with a fantastic Canadian sensibility. And, yes, many of the children’s voices do shine.

    As for SESAME STREET and the way the monsters showed emotions. Especially the negative ones. It was great to see many of the distinctive characters, as well as the more generic puppets. And there was a sound educational and developmental purpose for this! Grover and Elmo probably would have been “sympathetic” puppets … and I will always remember the Twiddlebugs on Ernie’s apartment windowsill.

    Thinking about SESAME STREET in other countries, like South Africa and Pakistan.

    * * *

    It does seem (to me) that AVATAR is less a film than an extended dream (as Jake is having it) or an altered state of consciousness (specifically of the hypnagogic kind). It expects people to watch it in neutral or reverse gear.

    • I will try to find him eventually. It is just that I am experiencing a lot of fatigue lately and need to do things at my own pace. Even today, I only managed to get out of bed at midday because my mother knocked on the door of the house I am living in, and it gave me quite a start. I am starting to fear that I am suffering a serious illness that, like every problem I have, will only end up getting diagnosed when I am about to die from it or may as well do.

      You Can’t Do That On Television was actually made by the Children’s Television Workshop of Canada. Nickelodeon had nothing to do with it until after it went into decline. Basically, after the last of the cast that the audience kept coming back for had to leave due to growing up. There is one episode, I forget which season it is, but one of Alisdair’s lines had to be overdubbed. So for a moment there, we hear Alisdair the little boy’s voice suddenly replaced with something much lower. Apparently even Alisdair said “I think I have hung around a bit long” to the producers. *laughs* But I digress. The one thing that stood out to me on the site that I found is that the children almost universally recall as adults having a great working relationship with the adults in the production, especially Les Lye.

      One aspect of Sesame Street that I always appreciated, and still do today, is that the monsters and puppet characters are all depicted as having relationships with or to one another. They are not just self-contained entities. Oscar has his pet worm Slimy, Bert and Ernie have each other, Ernie has Ernestine, and in group scenes, they all have different dynamics with one another. That is a good way of teaching group dynamics to children. And the way the puppets taught about differences and similarities is also brilliant. The sketch in which Ernie tries to figure out any similarities between him and Ernestine ends so hilariously.

      I have only seen Sesame Street as it is presented in English-speaking countries. There is a snippet of it dubbed in Portuguese in The Incredible Hulk, but that is hardly the same thing.

      I think that is what I loved about Plinkett’s review so much. Even though he presents himself as a slovenly, psychotic, near to non-functional idiot, he clearly is not watching the film in neutral, or even first gear for that matter. What a difference that makes.

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