Thursday, January 08, 2009

Community observed

Diane Rehm's show on NPR always holds my attention. Last Tuesday I found myself laughing and crying all at once as she interviewed Michael Davis, author of the new book, Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street.

I "grew up" watching Sesame Street with my daughters! I mean, what could be better than Cookie Monster's rendition of "C is for Cookie"?

In my current life I've decided that Sesame Street prefigured all that I've learned and come to know about community and community development in the inner city.

I love the title Davis gave his book, "Street Gang."

During the interview, Davis read part of the script of the program that delivered the bad news that Mr. Hooper, the older storekeeper, had died. The Children's Television Workshop decided to create a script that would attempt an explanation of death to pre-school children.

It is a very moving episode. You can watch it here.

I think it is true. Everything we need, and about all that's worth knowing, we learned from Sesame Street.


belinda said...

This makes me laugh . . . My son is now 31. He also grew up watching Sesame Street. When he got older - probably teens - children at church watched Barney. He was talking about how "silly" Barney was - this giant purple dinosaur. He paused for a few minutes and said "of course I guess a giant yellow bird was pretty silly too."

Anonymous said...

I grew up watching Sesame Street. Watching this scene makes me recall something I had forgotten. The show was so inclusive for its day. Blacks, whites, hispanics, all hanging out together. No doubt part of the reason I grew up understanding racial animosity was wrong was shows like this. (And Star Trek, but that's another story.)

God Bless Sesame Street! (I'll still take the big yellow bird over the dancing purple dinosaur any day!)