Yes, Sesame Street Should Be Covering This Topic: A Letter to an Internet Commenter

Published: June 22, 2020
Categories: Commentary, Feature

Dear [Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Website] Commenter:

Hi there. I’m a so-called grown-up who pays closer attention to Sesame Street than most grown-ups. I’m also a person who is fascinated — perhaps too fascinated for my own good – by internet comments and the things they reveal about humanity.

I saw your comment, which was posted on [a post on Sesame Street’s social media/a news article about a new Sesame Street project]. You seemed to express, in a [somewhat articulate/barely articulate/completely incomprehensible] way, that you believe Sesame Street should not be discussing [important topic].

It sounds like you believe [children should not be taught about this topic/preschoolers are too young to hear about this topic/Sesame Street should only teach letters and numbers]. You may even suspect that Workshop is attempting to brainwash children into becoming [fanatics/sheep/zombies/people who actually care about other human beings].

It may be that most of your Sesame Street memories are of strictly fun stuff, like [Grover demonstrating near and far/Ernie singing “Rubber Duckie”/Cookie Monster eating cookies like OM NOM NOM/Granny Fanny Nesselrode failing to pour ketchup out of a bottle]. But in fact, Sesame Street has been covering serious topics for years. Most famously, there was the episode in which the adults explained to Big Bird that Mr. Hooper had died — an scene I’m sure [makes you cry every time you see it/you’re vaguely aware of].

The producers of the television show have continued do what they can to help preschoolers understand the world they live in. The show has covered racism, both allegorically and explicitly. They’ve always, always, always celebrated diversity and the acceptance and inclusion of all different kinds of people, monsters, birds, animals, fairies, grouches, and snuffleupaguses. And through various peripheral projects, home videos, and online resources, they’ve broached the subjects of death, poverty and hunger, homelessness, the challenges faced by military families, and a few more, which I can’t even remember right now but which some other nerd will remind me of in the comments on this article.

And by the way, speaking of online resources, I should note that, if [you had actually read the article/you had really actually read the article], you would have noticed that Sesame Street is not covering [important topic] on an episode of the television show. A child is not accidentally going to come across this while sitting down to watch the show on [HBO/PBS]. The adults in their life would have to actively seek out this [social media post/TV special/online video].

Sesame Street never goes into these things unprepared. They do a ton of research on how best to explain these topics to children in a way that they can understand. They do much more studying and homework than you ever did in your [English/Biology/History/Bowling] class. They’re never going to talk about [important topic] in the same way you would talk about it with your [friend/sister/dentist/waiter at Applebee’s]. And they’re never going to cover topics that would be truly traumatic for children to hear about, like, say, [topic that would be truly traumatic for children to hear about].

The show’s current mission statement is to help kids become “smarter, stronger, and kinder.” Kids are going to find out about [important topic] at some point in their lives, probably sooner than we’d like. Isn’t it better for them to be prepared? Isn’t it better for them to be informed and have an open mind? I don’t know about you, but if I could go back and retcon my life, I’d much rather have had [important topic] gently and clearly explained to me for the first time by [Elmo/Abby/Elmo’s dad/all the Sesame Muppets/Granny Fanny Nesselrode].

Well, thanks for reading. I’m confident I’ve changed your mind, because [I have faith in humanity/I’m very delusional/I think I’m SO SMART].

One more thing: I noticed that your understanding of [the details of Sesame Workshop’s deal with HBO/Jim Henson’s involvement in the creation of the show/when it’s appropriate to use caps lock] is woefully inaccurate. But that’s a topic for another day.


[Ryan/Some Other Dumb Guy on the Internet with an Opinion]

NOTE: Although the above was addressed to internet commenters, with a few adjustments it can also easily be applied to bloviating right-wing cable news hosts!

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by Ryan Roe –

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