Thursday, September 23, 2010

Protecting the Sanctity of Sesame Street?

So the bloggers of the Internet can sometimes be very quick to judge and in my opinion, very hypocritical. What do I mean? Well you have probably heard by now that 25-year-old singer Katy Perry was set to appear on an upcoming episode of the children's education program "Sesame Street". If you heard that you probably also heard that she wouldn't be making that appearance due to the number of complaints that the show received about early footage of Perry singing her popular song "Hot 'n Cold" alongside perennial "Sesame Street" star Elmo. In the piece, Perry prances and dances alongside the Muppet while seemingly doing nothing more than simply running around cartoon backgrounds. I say 'seemingly' because apparently I'm too stupid to understand the 'offensive' part of her performance.

Look up any article on the situation and you'll undoubtedly find a lot of the popular opinion on the matter being bandied about in the comments section. Now if there's one thing I dislike about the comments section on many internet pages it's that there's seldom any accountability. I could go onto a website and spout rhetoric about why "Star Wars" is and always will be superior to "Star Trek" and I could sign my name William Shatner and no one would know the difference. Of course I'm not William Shatner but such a posting would undoubtedly bring Trekkers out of the internet woodwork to defend their beloved show. So why am I bringing this up? Because apparently the popular opinion against the Katy Perry segment on "Sesame Street" gained a lot of traction when it was first posted on YouTube.

If you read a lot of what people are saying out there I would say that it's quite hypocritical. I say this because we as a society often seem to apply morals to situation that don't even require us to do such a thing. While I would contend that Katy Perry probably isn't the most wholesome or pure person to have ever appeared on television let alone on "Sesame Street" I think her appearance had more to do with the fact that she liked the show as a kid and wanted to make an appearance on it now that she had finally become a star. I don't find anything offensive in her dance with Elmo and I have faith in the powers that be in charge of "Sesame Street" that they'd have enough judgment to know what was acceptable on the show and what wouldn't be.

If we don't believe them to have that much common sense then what else are they 'allowing' our children to see? If everything else the producers and creators of the show is passed through without anyone else in the general public (and internet public) making a comment on it then why is this one particular piece getting so much bad press? Is it because we think Katy Perry isn't a good person or because we like to believe that we are so much more conservative? I call this type of attitude hypocritical because it has often been the more conservative sections of our society who have stepped out to call something offensive and when you dig a little deeper you find that they themselves are guilty of similar actions. So what does that mean? While they find Katy Perry's dance sequence "offensive" I'm sure they have done something similar (if not worse) in their own lives but I guess pointing it out in regards to someone else gives them a feeling of superiority. I find it to be a shame that a show that was a large part of my youth is treated so shoddily these days by conservative members of the public. Kids are innocent in their outlook. They would see the dance for what it is which is a dance; don't try to look beyond that simple fact to find offense.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Even If It's Our Right; Is It Right?

This Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of the terrible events of 9/11. It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a decade since that day given how much has happened since then and how much continues to happen as a result. However, not everyone is using the day to reflect on the tragic events of nine years prior. Well... not in exactly the way one would expect. Apparently the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida is planning on staging a protest of Islam which isn't unusual in and of itself but it's the fact that they are promoting their event as 'National Burn a Koran Day' that is garnering the most attention and not for all the best reasons.

Now before some of you jump up on your soapboxes and start shouting to me the fact that this is a right given to us by the Constitution, I would simply ask you to sit down and shut up. I'm well aware of the fact that this is a right guaranteed to us by the First Amendment. It's that same right that allows me to express my rights in such a free and open manner on the internet for the entire world to see. Therefore, seeing as how I know what that right allows me to do, please allow me to continue what my thoughts on the matter are. While I understand the rationale behind the group wanting to protest Islam and their view of it, doing so by desecrating the writings of another religion isn't the way to go about it.

Sure you can argue that they have no respect for any other religion either. You can argue that it is simply a matter of retaliating for all the mistreatment Muslims have inflicted on the peoples of other religions around the world (but more specifically in the Middle East). You could even call it a culmination of all the frustration and anger that so many are feeling towards the religion behind many of the terrorist organizations in the world. You could say all those things and more, but is it really enough to justify the burning of their holy texts? I'm not a Muslim and I don't have Muslim tendencies or leanings. I'm a patriotic American who loves the country of my birth as much as any other American. However I don't want my country to be associated with the type of religious intolerance that this event seems to convey.

Do groups such as the Dove World Outreach Center really believe that this will have some positive effect on the world but in particular, for Americans? If you read the news you'll find that most terrorist groups out there believe that America's efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq were not motivated by the fact that we were after terrorists but rather after exterminating Islam itself. Our government and our leaders staunchly claim that this is not the case but when a group like the Dove World Outreach Center (which frankly doesn't seem to be doing anything towards living up to their name) decides to declare a 'National Burn a Koran Day'. Seeing as how it is a right protected by the Constitution, I can't say that it shouldn't be done, but what I do feel is that it is only going to serve to inspire other groups to do the same thing, and then the ultimate irony is that we will eventually be doing what the terrorists accuse us of wanting to do in the first place, which is not declare war on terrorists but on Islam itself. Is this what the Dove World Outreach Center parishioners want? Do they really want the terrorists to be right?

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