Recently I had heard that the man who has been the voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo has gotten into legal trouble. And that he has left the show. That really is disturbing, and sad, but that is not the reason that I decided to write this post. A few minutes ago my son and I were watching some videos on YouTube about the “Bad Lip Reading” videos, and somehow or another I ended up watching a video titled something along the lines of “Caleb’s reaction to Elmo and I know it.” Well, I am always a sucker for cute and funny babies, so I decided to watch it. The video was three minutes long, and the video was a full frontal view of a baby sitting on the floor watching television.
Although I could not see what was showing on the television, I could hear that it was Elmo singing a song. I expected the baby to start bouncing, or waving, or laughing, or SOMETHING! For the most part the baby simply stared at the television. A vacant stare. The kind of stare that I would expect a hypnotized, mindless person to have. At one point the baby smiled briefly, and shifted positions, but never was any “cuteness reward” for watching the video. I did not leave a comment on the YouTube page; I’m thinking that the parents posting the video don’t need to hear from strangers how boring the video was. I’m not a mean-spirited person.
But what I really wanted to say about this video was that if I were inclined to watch that particular video and “judge” if watching television was “good” or “bad” for young children to watch, that this vacant stare from this child really made me feel that television could very easily be used for evil brainwashing purposes. Some would argue that it already IS used for that. And I would argue that Sesame Street is a great program for children to watch. But this video really disturbed me.