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Favorite posts
halloween 2003 roundup (coming soon)
halloween 2002 roundup
the future of online gaming
star wars cereal review
japanese culture link of the day (12/6/2002)
japanese culture link of the day (12/23/2002)
reviews: hentai games sux0rz
anime term of the day (fan service, 02/17/2003)
retro gaming link of the day (battletech)
20 favorite movies since 1980
second japanese culture link of the day (11/20/2003)
 

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Recommended:
destroy all monsters
megatokyo
sinfest
8-bit theatre
the onion
mac hall
penny arcade
twisted kaiju theater
this modern world
dilbert
giant robot
8bit joystick
retrolounge
teleport city
stomp tokyo
cold fusion video reviews
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anime web turnpike
random abstract
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xeni jardin
nasa's astronomy picture of the day
techrepublic
u.s. constitution
the democratic party's blog
indiana democratic party
center for american progress
donkey rising
tompaine.com
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misleader
spinsanity
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Blogs:
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#!-usr-bin-girl
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blah3
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  xFriday, July 12, 2002

hiv-positive muppet to debut in south africa


The South African version of Sesame Street plans to introduce an HIV-positive Muppet character, who may eventually appear on the US version of the show.

A spokesperson at the international AIDS conference said the character will be introduced in South Africa, where one in nine people are HIV positive, as a way of expanding awareness of the infection among children and "de-stigmatizing" the disease.

I grew up with Sesame Street, and I think it fulfills a very positive function in portraying people of different ethnic backgrounds--white, black, Hispanic, monster, enormous yellow bird--getting along without making a big deal of their differences. My girls love the show, too, and watching it with them I'm amazed at how clever it is in many ways--presenting lots of short snippets about counting or letters, for example, and alternating live actors, Muppets and animation, all of which is perfect for short attention spans.

But I think the show is taking the wrong approach. A Muppet is just too unrealistic. Inasmuch as the show feels it will benefit children to be aware of HIV, I think introducing a live character would be much more effective. Although I didn't see the episode, I understand that when the actor who played store owner Mr. Hooper died, the character died on the show, and it apparently handled the subject of death from a child's perspective very well. (My almost-three-year old knows that one of our cats died; we had to tell her when she noticed Nicholas didn't come with us to the new house.) Muppets don't bleed...if the show wants to send a message about how the infection spreads (aside from sex--that topic does not seem to be contemplated), a person would be a much better model.

By the way...Ernie and Bert are not gay. Frankly, I've lately perceived their relationship as being more like a parent and child. I think the mischevious Ernie is designed to appeal to kids as he contstantly gets the better of the boring Bert (who like paper clips, pigeons, and the color beige), often by taking Bert's statements literally. My oldest daughter Cecilia is entering that stage right now--obeying the letter of the law while doing what she wants, if she can, regardless of her parents' intentions.

(via Cut on the Bias)