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February 20, 2009

Say no to Elmo

“Kids are in the know with Elmo” (2/16, FYI) demonstrates expressly why I’d rather not have my children watch today’s dumbed-down talk on “Sesame Street.”

Elmo’s third-person, baby-talk semantics when conversing with fellow characters and those watching him is a complete disservice to young viewers. Developing minds deserve proper talk when learning about everyday activities.

Having loved “Sesame Street” when I was growing up, I looked forward to sharing such a classic with my own children. But one viewing as a new mom caused me to click off the tube and go to Amazon.com for the old-school DVDs.

Many of the show’s benefits extolled by columnist Jeneé Osterheldt still exist. Numbers, colors, and cultures are all explored in creative ways. I believe in the educational benefits of such programming, but not at the expense of diction and comprehension.

Moreover, I find it especially offensive that in its push to introduce young viewers to new languages, “Sesame Street” does not give equal consideration to proper English when scripting much of Elmo’s content.

With a modest investment in DVDs or rentals, you can share the “Sesame Street” quality of your growing years, when the characters talked to children and not down to them.

Mary Catherine Newman
Kansas City


T. Hanson

I know this is sick, but hey it is on topic:


For all the fellow blogers (and the ones that are laughing at this -sickos) have a great weekend!



Elmo is an annoying tool and Ms. Newman is right to be annoyed at the dumbed-down talk. Elmo doesn’t grow, instead of learning lessons from others, just laughs.

Joel Stein wrote a column about this in which he describes Elmo and the other new characters, Baby Bear and Abby Cadabby, as “preschoolers enamored by their own adorable stupidity.”

He writes “The lesson they teach -- in opposition to Oscar, Big Bird, Grover or Bert -- is that bland neediness gets you stuff much more easily than character. We are breeding a nation of Anna Nicole Smiths.”

Get the DVDs of the “classic” shows, a time when Sesame Street thought enough of their audience to encourage them to master first person language.


You mean like "mia not kia"?


You ever notice that most of the "whack jobs" insist upon using three names or more, sometimes with the hyphen, sometimes without? I wonder what the connection is...



never heard of anyone being anti-Elmo.

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