can you tell me how to get there?

Yesterday the radio said something that made me stop and think – yeah… that’s true ya know

It concerned Sesame Street, the cherished institute of kids programming.  When it began in the late 70’s / 80’s, attitudes towards kids were less prohibitive than they are now.  An age when difference and diversity were more celebrated. Or to put it more bluntly, kids could just do whatever they wanted, that was okay.  Yes, stuff would happen, but things would work out.

Then in the 90’s Barney the dinosaur lolloped into view and dulled us into submission with inane repetition, saturated messaging and creepy lockstep harmony.

The radio guy suggested that Sesame Street was a good example of a much less conformist society, one where conflict was an accepted part of life, and where you could be quite different in your tastes and values and still co-exist with your neighbors. Think Bert and Ernie. Re-tellings of Grimm’s fairy tales that go hopelessly awry. An angry green monster lives in the garbage and harangues passers-by.

In fact I’ve heard that the whole children-interacting-with-puppets thing started as a lark – no one thought it would work. But the kids on the show had no problem entering into meaningful and at times touching relationships with sock puppets… thus enlightening us all.

Let’s face it, this was a weird, deviant and somewhat dysfunctional society down on Sesame Street. Which is what makes it so lovable.

One of my favorite skits involves the “yip yip” aliens, whose stupendously limited vocabulary actually enhances their intense curiosity about all things “earth”.  They exist on the outskirts of the Sesame Street reality, beaming into vacated rooms with googly eyes and preposterous missions to observe, identify, and learn.  Doing so, they provide a subtle parody of our own scientific inquiry.  But human scientists use more words.  A lot more.

Anyway, in honor of Yip and Yip, I’ve nabbed an old audio clip and used it in a short time lapse sequence of a setting sun, combined with an a cappella doo-wop hook (I’m a big fan of throwing together disparate ingredients).  This was shot during a hike up in the scrubby alpine of the Coast Mountains – see the previous blog for more photos of that (and irrational references to Mars).

Click on the full screen link to see it in hi-res.

I sure am glad I escaped Barney’s orthodoxy.  I think we’re over the worst of it, I think things are returning to abnormal.


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