Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Veggie Tales St Nicholas and others: Get it wrong

So I've talked a little about how Veggie Tales has some Catholic sympathies.  One of the shows I've stumbled upon is a Veggie Take on the Lord of the Rings called the Lord of the Beans.  We all know that Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings, was a Catholic.  They also have another Veggie Tale revering and telling the story of St. Nicholas.  Unfortunately, they get their facts all wrong.

According to Bob, the Tomato who narrates the tale, St. Nicholas was grew in 3rd century Greece. The movie correctly says that his parents were devote Christians who died in the plague, but it has St. Nicholas wondering about from there out.  St. Nicholas was then brought under the tutelage of his uncle, who is also named Nicholas and was a bishop.

There are a number of folklore legends about St. Nicholas's generosity.  None of them have anything to do with fines or putting money down people's chimney's as the movie implies.  He actually would put money through the window when he wanted to be anonymous. 

The movie discusses very little to him being a Bishop, but does make allusions to him being the patron saint of sailors and fishermen.

I'm very disappointed in the Veggie Tales take on this great saint.  With a little bit of research, they could have depicted his life a little closer to reality.

There's also the Veggie Tales Movie: Rumor Weed where at the very beginning the two peas are walking home from the movies are accosted by a bandit.  One of the peas says "we're not supposed to talk to strangers" yet there is more dialogue that follows.  But my beef is that if we teach our children not to talk to strangers and someone does accost them, wouldn't we want them to feel comfortable enough to go up to an adult stranger and ask for help?  Really what they should be saying is that it's fine to talk to strangers, but it's not okay to go off anywhere with one.  If you should say fall and get hurt riding on your bike and someone stops to help you, a child should learn to ask the stranger to go and find their mother.  Thus you eliminate this "stranger danger"  junk along with keeping your child safe.  Most abductions are from people the child knows so really strangers can be the most helpful.  I read a blog called Free-Range Kids and one of the commenters made the point that every child's parents were once strangers.  So strangers are not scary and shouldn't be.

Then there's this tv show on some Evangelical station that we get.  It's for kids but I remember they were talking about fear.  One of the characters, who is an animated duck, made a flippant comment that they only thing he was afraid of was commitment.  The show was talking about a fear of flying.  I raised an eyebrow.  Really?  This is what Christians are wanting to teach their children?  That it's perfectly normal for one of their parents to develop a fear of commitment and run off on their children.  How about teaching kids to take responsibility?  Or just eliminate the distasteful comment altogether.  Needless to say we haven't been watching that station.

And then there's the PBS show Pocoyo narrated by Stephen Fry.  My husband doesn't like it because during an episode they had a caterpillar eating a chair, which is completely unrealistic.  I don't like it because during another episode Pocoyo, a little boy, gets into trouble by knocking down his friend's castle.  Fry makes the sarcastic comment "Good show"  or "Good job" or something to that affect.  I about fell off the couch.  This show is marketed twoards preschoolers.  Pocoyo is age four.  Children don't get sarcasm until middle school.  First off all being sarcastic around children is completely rude.  Secondly, they take you literally although judging by Pocoyo's face he realized that Fry was being sarcastic, which again is completely unrealistic for a four year old.  I have to remind my own husband to reign in the sarcasm from time to time because it gives the wrong information. 

But there you go...that's programming by adults to children.  Obviously they don't have any education experts on staff to review their content.

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