Sunday, November 25, 2012

Et tu, Elmo?

I know I just donated to PBS last week. But in the wake of news that Elmo-puppeteer Kevin Clash is resigning after a second allegation of statutory rape, and the likelihood that this will be used as yet another pretext to defund Public Broadcasting, I think I may have to support it again today.

What does PBS have to do with feminism? A lot. See if you can tell Goofus from Gallant.
  • PBS's mission is to educate, inform and inspire. Network television's purpose is to sell ads.
  • Barbara Walters interviews the Kardashians. PBS airs interviews with Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Katie Roiphe.
  • Fox News uses election night to showcase Megyn Kelly's legs, while PBS features Gwynn Ifill, Mark Kelly and David Brooks having an intelligent conversation.
  • Hannah Montana is a secret popstar. Abby Cadabby gets career advice from Sonia Sotomayor.
And that's just here in America. Overseas, Sesame Workshop purposefully promotes the idea that girls can and should become whatever they want. From the Sesame Workshop website:
Low expectations for women are perpetuated across society, including, crucially, by children themselves. But just as culture can close minds and doors, it also has the power to open them. Our educational programs around the world are aimed squarely at boosting ambitions and encouraging girls to dream big. It’s all about positive role models. On-screen images of girls pursuing academics and other fun, interesting activities help children — girls as well as boys — broaden their sense of women’s potential. Through the joyous example of some remarkable female Muppets, we’re giving girls permission to dream, discover, and imagine a future full of possibility.
Get a hanky before you click through to the "My Name is Khokha" video of the Egyptian muppet  singing about how she will go to school and even learn to count.

Without diminishing the horror of what Kevin Clash allegedly did, I hope that it won't be used to further the conservative promise to cut PBS's funding. Federal money for PBS accounted for 0.00012% of the budget in 2012. Cutting it will do absolutely nothing to help the deficit, and will do irreparable harm to the public discourse.

Today's $5 goes to PBS. This video says it all.

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