"I blame it all on Sesame Street" -- Dad
My father suggested to a friend of mine that Sesame Street contributed to a generation of individuals prone to short attention spans, too wide a variety of interests, and a general lack of direction. He attributed this idea to a number of different variables.
His reasoning was that the show produced a stimulating educational experience, and presented such a variety of interesting subject material that we were overwhelmed with choices and ideas. The show was "Too good". Our 2-6 year old selves were rightly subject to embrace the ideas the show introduced us to. The constant change of format and sets, the adorable, huggable, fuzziness of Jim Henson's Muppets created an irresistible life path that was fascinating and achievable. Even the street itself was an urban wonderland of ethnic diversity and cultural enlightenment. It was a nice place to live.
The every few minute format switches and interaction between cartoon, muppet and real people, spiced with color captured our eyes. We were quick to sponge up the instant information. We became drawn into the personalities of characters, and the subtle similarities they had with our own lives; conflict resolution, personal relationships, cultural differences, life choices.
The Children's Television Workshop did a great job. Basing show plots loosely around a number and letter we learned our alphabet, how to count, our colors, other languages, about life. The show encouraged us to explore new ideas, to try new things, to celebrate learning and living.
Sesame Street took us farther than Mr. Rogers and his creepy mailman Mr. McFeely. Imagine Animal and Grover wreaking havoc and ruckus in the land of make believe. Good ol' King Fridays castle as party central headquarters. Animal riding the trolly around screaming, "Trolly!, Trolly! Zoooom, Zoooom!". Did Kermit ever make an appearance?. Romper Room couldn't keep up either. The Electric Company was fun, but a bit high brow for me.
My father contributed the idea in jest. I have found humor in it, I have also discovered truth. Sesame Street did change the frequency of segments often, not to inspire short attention spans, simply to cater to our limits as children. However, the vast amount of ideas presented us with a wide variety of interests, and infinite realms of potential opportunity sponsored by encouragement and hard work. We could do anything we wanted and worked for.
The prospect of anything, to our strong, aware and thoughtfully inspired selves almost seems limiting. Everything is more interesting. One path seems absurd these days. I think that there must be something new around every corner and it may be better. I hear people say "I don't really know what I want to do", or "It's just a job till I find something better.", what does this mean? It could mean the economy has directed employment trends, that our pre-school ideals have changed, it could mean we are jaded and have nothing, or we could be living the Sesame Street dream.
I hope the latter is achieved, but reality persists. Some of us out there have a wide variety of interests, can't decide which way to go or who to be with. Wondering without prevail when our crinkled thoughts will iron out and find a way to be, to become. Until then, I'll just blame Sesame Street for helping me be.