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Getting to Sesame Street just got pricier.

How Did I Miss That? Sesame Street Gentrified; RIP Batman

Steve Russell
8/21/15

Salon reported on “the gentrification of Sesame Street.” Big Bird and the gang are retreating from PBS behind an HBO pay wall. Blowing past objections that Sesame Street would be tainted by the R-rated stuff on HBO, reporter Arthur Chu remembered the show’s War on Poverty roots:

Sesame Street was a simple formula—poor kids watch more TV than rich kids, thanks to poor kids…more likely to be “raised by TV.” Poor kids get less education than rich kids. Make…good TV that’s educational…“addictive” in the way successful shows are rather than the crappy low-budget afterthought TV that most children’s programming was back then–and you might level the socioeconomic playing field.

It was no accident that the human actors on Sesame Street were majority minority.

Or that Sesame Street, unlike most of television, did not ignore Indians.

My cousin Ray Sixkiller reminded me that Buffy Sainte-Marie was a regular.

It’s sobering to hear Big Bird is going for big bucks, but at least poor kids will still be able to see their old friends. Just on a nine-month time delay.

It could be worse. Remember last election, when Willard Romney held up Big Bird as an example of wasteful government? Romney’s attack on Big Bird last time is now Donald Trump’s attack on everybody.

Piling on bad news, Time reported that Lenny Robinson, the 51-year-old Route 29 Batman, was killed when his Batmobile broke down. As he was checking the engine, his car was hit by traffic and knocked over him.

The Route 29 Batman became famous when a police dash cam video went viral showing the stop of his black Lamborghini Batmobile and Robinson emerging in full regalia. His purpose was to visit children confined to hospitals, where he would cheer them up and gift them with Batman toys.

There are worse ways to be remembered than as a man who spent his spare time and money trying to cheer up ailing kids.

I do hope it’s coincidence that we lost the Route 29 Batman the same week Donald Trump claimed the identity

“It’s as likely as Trump being President,” Cousin Ray grumped.

The Donald finally explained his plan to get rid of all those Mexican rapists. He told Chuck Todd he would be able to deport 11 million people for a price we can afford and without ending civil liberties for brown people. He wants families kept together, so those with children who are citizens would have to take their U.S. citizen children with them. Trump also wants to amend the 14th Amendment to take away birthright citizenship.

Bobby Jindal became the next political lemming over that cliff with Scott Walker close behind, but Walker’s handlers quickly walked back his promise to mess with the Constitution. Chris Christie seemed ready to discuss amending the Constitution as “part of a package.” Carly Fiorina kept her head and explained why The Donald Plan is a non-starter, demonstrating how she nailed the first debate.

Establishment GOP analysts are now saying Trump may win Iowa and it’s not out of the question that he could win the nomination. My Republican Cousin Ray mumbled something hard to understand with his head in his hands.

Watchers of early polling have waited in vain for Trump’s goofy remarks to tank his numbers, and now they are debating whether those impressive numbers are understated by polling people likely to vote in the Republican Primary. Trump may be able to sweep open primaries by bringing in people who normally don’t follow politics or vote.

On the other side of the two party system, Hillary Clinton is still playing not to lose rather than to win, and it remains to be seen whether staying on message will beat a guy who ostentatiously has no message.

One poll has Bernie Sanders ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire. He’s unlikely to overtake her, but if he did the question would become whether a candidate with no money can beat a candidate who puts his money forward as a qualification?

In addition to her scripted persona and her reluctance to face the press, Ms. Clinton has the problem of those being just more evidence that she thinks the rules don’t apply to her. The Department of Justice is looking into the fiasco she caused by using her own server for email as Secretary of State. She says the DOJ investigation is not “criminal” and she never emailed classified information.

What is there for the DOJ to investigate if not a potential crime? And why would they have assigned the same prosecutor who nailed David Petraeus for mishandling classified information?

Whatever the DOJ decides, the fact that everything not illegal is permitted does not mean everything not illegal is smart.

Proving Texas crazy meets prime time standards, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s campaign Facebook page posted a graphic calling for atomic weapons to be used on “the Muslim world,” which would be about a fourth of the world population.

Proving British political hijinks match ours, Reuters reported that John Buttifant Sewel, Deputy Speaker of the UK House of Lords, has resigned the position that “tasked him with ensuring fellow lords behaved properly” after The Sun released a video showing him half naked sitting between two women neither his wife while snorting “white powder through a banknote.”

Lords are born in the UK, not elected. Unlike in this country, where anybody can run for President who is named Bush or Clinton.

Cousin Ray disagreed. “Trump may have been born with money, but he is not a Bush or a Clinton.”

I reminded Ray that this election gives Clinton another shot at breaking the gender barrier. “We could break the gender barrier with Fiorina,” he retorted, “and a lot less drama.”

Elsewhere on the gender front, Ellen Sturm Niz published a hilarious rant in Parents about the objections being voiced to Target’s announcement that they are phasing out gender-biased signs. “Do you really have such a hard time shopping for toys and bedding,” she asked, “that the lack of signs saying ‘For Boys’ and ‘For Girls’ will make it impossible to find what you need?”

Two path-breaking GI Janes became the first women to graduate from Ranger School. At this time, even having earned Ranger Tabs, the women cannot serve as Rangers, but their admission to the school was part of a study to determine if they should be allowed in the elite combat units.

About 40 percent of men who start Ranger School earn Ranger Tabs. The Washington Post reported that only 37 of the 380 male students in this class went straight through all phases without having to recycle.

Nineteen women started and eight passed the physical tests. Three women passed the first phase after being recycled like most of the men. Two of the three will now graduate while a third may graduate later because she is being recycled on a later phase.

It would be great if the new Rangers had no combat deployment opportunities. Fat chance.

Foreign Policy reported that the U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan are not allowed to call in air strikes on Taliban unless they pose an immediate threat. “You can’t negotiate with dead people,” Cousin Ray reminded me.

Of course, we are not negotiating with the Taliban. The government we installed in Kabul is. The U.S. is occupied with ISIS, which seems to find a more creative way to kill hostages every news cycle. The Hill reported that the tab for dropping bombs on ISIS is, so far, $9.4 million a day. That’s $3.2 billion and counting.

Stratfor reported that Vladmir Putin’s retaliation against the U.S. and Europe’s retaliation against Russia for invading Ukraine (which Putin denies having done) is finally denting his solid domestic political support. Putin decreed a boycott of certain imported foods. Enforcing the decree, the Russian government has been destroying food shipments.

Russians have a blood memory of WWII starvation, exemplified by a pro-Putin Orthodox priest quoted by Stratfor: "My grandmother always told me that throwing away food is a sin. This idea is insane, stupid and vile.”

The Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda posted a recorded conversation on its website allegedly between two CIA agents plotting to down Malaysia Airlines MH-17 and blame it on Russia. The tape has the individuals alternating British and American and Russian accents and using Russian colloquialisms. The fake was too obvious for the story to have legs.

Komsomol was the youth organization of the Soviet Communist Party and Komsomolskaya Pravda was the JV league version of the official Communist Party organ, Pravda (‘Truth”). In those days, the other Russian news outlet was Izvestia (“News”).

Soviet citizens were brave with their biting humor. Of the Soviet economy: “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.” Of the Soviet media: “In the Pravda there is no Izvestia and in the Izvestia there is no Pravda.”

After his LOL, Cousin Ray smirked, “I know some tribal papers that resemble that remark.”

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tvc15's picture
tvc15
Submitted by tvc15 on
I remember in the 70's and 80's Sesame Street was the funniest, boldest most hip thing on television. I was often amazed at the humor that was great for kids but there was plenty of sharp yet funny humor for parents as well. It really took a hit when the incredible Jim Henson died but it stayed pretty good for another 10 years. Without the Henson irreverent spirit I figured that the decline into T.V. biz would sooner or later affect Sesame Street but it was great for all the kids (and parents) who had it available to brighten up the BOOB tube.

tvc15's picture
tvc15
Submitted by tvc15 on
I remember in the 70's and 80's Sesame Street was the funniest, boldest most hip thing on television. I was often amazed at the humor that was great for kids but there was plenty of sharp yet funny humor for parents as well. It really took a hit when the incredible Jim Henson died but it stayed pretty good for another 10 years. Without the Henson irreverent spirit I figured that the decline into T.V. biz would sooner or later affect Sesame Street but it was great for all the kids (and parents) who had it available to brighten up the BOOB tube.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I was already an adult when Sesame Street was introduced, but I've always thought it was fun and educational. Of course, Republicans who rely on the uneducated masses to form their voter base, would object to it as an unnecessary expenditure. I frankly saw the notion of HBO running Sesame Street as good strategy; now that Sesame Street is a "job creator" the Greedy Old Pigs will have to leave it alone!
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