May 3, 2018

"It would seem that last year some Chinese parents complained that their children were 'addicted to Peppa Pig,' and 'began oinking and jumping into puddles after watching the cartoon.'"

"But the subculture referred to [in the state media outlet Global Times] is a more serious phenomenon. It is called shehuiren, which translates directly as 'a member of society,' but is used to describe rowdy young adults, particularly young men. How did an animated farm animal meant for preschoolers come to be associated with millennials who are labeled by state media as 'slackers' and the 'antithesis of the young generation the [Chinese Communist] Party tries to cultivate'?"

From "What Does Beijing Have Against Peppa Pig...?" (Daily Beast).

I read the article but still can't answer those questions. I am wondering if the Chinese leaders are anything like Jordan Peterson with his hatred of Elmo (see #7 at "11 things I learned from the WaPo article about Jordan Peterson").

Any characters designed for children that you'd like to rail against. This is a potentially huge topic. Please try to go big with it. Don't just wander around inside the comfortable topic Communists Are Repressive. Look at the characters we invite and encourage young people to identify with. Quite aside from government censorship, private citizens make choices about what to give to our children. Where  are we going wrong? What did you latch onto as a child that took you down a dark path?

54 comments:

rcocean said...

I never could stand Mr. Rodgers - even as a Kid. God, he was dull.

rcocean said...

Same thing with Casper the Ghost.

What a wimp!

YoungHegelian said...

hat did you latch onto as a child that took you down a dark path?

Well, I must admit that growing up half-French in northern Alabama, the only role model I could find was Pepe Le Pew, which did warp my view of both gender relations & bodily hygiene for many years.

However, the opening line "I shoot at you wiz ze ack-ack of luv" did produce results more than once.

Meade said...

The Berenstain Bears. Especially Papa.

holdfast said...

I fucking hate that misandrist Pippa Swine.

MountainMan said...

When my kids were young it was Barney, the purple dinosaur. My kids hated it and I did, too. They were never fans of Mr. Rogers, either. The whole family loved watching The Muppet Show.

Larry J said...

My grandchildren introduced me to Phineas and Ferb. Those two boys are excellent role models. However, their big sister Candice is often a real bitch.

SeanF said...

Tinky Winky made me gay.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

What about Shaggy and Scooby? I liked them a lot as a kid. But their whole identity is cowardice and appetite.

buwaya said...

We have lots of experience with childrens media. I will go the other way, and admit I admire the "Thomas the Tank Engine" series, and all its characters. Unlike most others, these are "realistic" and "human". And moreover didactic with a light touch.

Annie C said...

The Bronies here. It's a weird phenomenon.

tcrosse said...

Daffy Duck made me what I am today: Despicable.

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

Any characters designed for children that you'd like to rail against.

I won't rail against Pogo, who probably wasn't "designed for children" anyway, so I'll go with Adam and Eve.

buwaya said...

My daughter was a brony. But she's a girl of course, so I guess thats not the same thing.

DKWalser said...

When my children were young, there was a live action super-hero show on TV where four 'ordinary kids' were given the powers of 'earth', 'wind', 'water', and ? Together, they fought environmental crimes. I wish I could remember the name of the show, but I avoided it so much that I cannot.

Big Mike said...

Any characters designed for children that you'd like to rail against?

Elmo. He’s whiny.

YoungHegelian said...

On a more serious note, if you watch the shows for older children & tweens on e.g. Disney Channel, you'll notice that the girls are all smart-mouthed little bee-yotches.

It's sad that, culturally speaking, today's young women & girls have to swim in a sea of bitch.

Darrell said...

The Scottish Peppa Pig is better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcLZjhuE3ME

Caldwell Titcomb IV said...

The Diver Dan theme song still gets stuck in my head, but I change the words to -
"At the Holiday Inn Free Brunch and Breakfast,
That's where you'll find Caldwell Ttitcomb."

Balfegor said...

Shehuiren = 社会人? That's a serious "false friend" there . . . in both Japanese and Korean (Japanese definitely, Korean I am fairly certain), the cognate word means what you are after you get a job, i.e. when you've become a productive member of society. Is that really the name for this subculture?

Freeman Hunt said...

I despise nearly all modern programming for children. The disaffected, too cool, sarcastic, smug type of humor popular in kids' programming today is absolutely repulsive. No thanks.

The theme of every bit of programming is, "Be yourself! Believe in your dreams!" Producers always make sure that's pasted in somewhere so that parents will more easily lie to themselves that their kids are getting wholesome messages and not face the fact that they have their kids watch TV to keep them quiet and out of their hair.

You can tell when kids watch too much of it because it often lures them into actng like insufferable, vapid twits.

Roughcoat said...

I was intrigued by "Candle Cove," once I managed to eliminate the static on our B&W TV. Anyone else remember this program?

What.

policraticus said...

Peppa the Pig was great, the spin off using all the same voice actors, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, was also great. For preschool programming, it was something I could watch and at least get a little humor (humour?) from it. Also, everyone does love jumping in muddy puddles. So that settles that!

On the other hand, the Canadian four year old with alopecia, Caillou, was the worst thing I could have introduced into our home. That kid drove me bananas. Him and his whole sweater wearing tribe can bite me. Insufferable little whiney jerk. He is destined to become one of Peterson's weasels.

Nonapod said...

Young men becoming enamored with something cute and puerile isn't new. There's the whole Bronie phenomenon (young men who are fans of My Little Pony). There's a temptation to read all sorts of Freudian things into it.

TerriW said...

Better Peppa Pig than Caillou.

We really liked the Backyardigans in our house. They had legitimately good music.

Roughcoat said...

Fireball XL5. Best theme song.

William Chadwick said...

Communists are repressive (not to mention homicidal); but my impression as a Round Eye Westerner is that Chinese parents tend to be fairly repressive, as in that whole Tiger Mom thing, compared to Western parents.
Of course, after many a visit to the library ruined by "progressive," over-indulgent Western parents letting their spoiled brats running amok and screaming, I wouldn't mind if some of that repression found its way across the Pacific to the USA.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

When my kids were growing up the two worst were Spongebob and Rugrats.

Jimmy Neutron and Dexter's Laboratory were pretty good.

Ken B said...

I am surprised Althouse has not claimed Cruella de Neutral.

I doubt I would have destroyed so many planets if not for Marvin the Martian.

Ken B said...

What Freeman Hunt said.

If Trump is Foghorn Leghorn, and there is more than just a passing similarity, then which regular here is Henery Hawk?

Jessica said...

DKWalser- it was “Captain Planet” which was ridiculous but I watched it as a kid. The last power was “heart” which was the stupidest one
My kids watch the new My Little Pony that has a ‘bad guy’ character that the protagonists are all inexplicably still friends with. I try to minimize Netflix, but I’m human and pregnant and so they watch junk sometimes. I point out that the character is bad and they should just stop trusting him! That’s a better lesson than “be friends with assholes anyways” that stupid shows seem to push.
Also, when do PJMasks sleep?

Leslie Graves said...

I agree with Meade about the Berenstain Bears. I read many of those books to my kids and it only slowly sunk in that they regularly portrayed Papa Bear as useless and incompetent contra the all-wise Mama bear.

wwww said...

"the Canadian four year old with alopecia, Caillou,"

LOL!

We like Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood.

Dislike Elmo. Too screechy.

TwoAndAHalfCents said...

Papa bear is pretty much Homer Simpson without the beer.
And totally agree with the earlier comment on Phineas & Ferb - Candace really needs a new hobby.

Darrell said...

The Scottish Peppa Pig for people that can't right click.

SPP

dbp said...

"Any characters designed for children that you'd like to rail against."

Barney has always set my teeth on edge.

Mr. Rogers had a soothing effect on me as a child, I was very hyper. Even now, if I look at recordings of his show, I find it utterly charming.

Balfegor said...

Re: Jessica:

DKWalser- it was “Captain Planet” which was ridiculous but I watched it as a kid. The last power was “heart” which was the stupidest one

I never watched Captain Planet myself, but I did watch the parody with Don Cheadle on Youtube. Which I think has some resemblance to the kind of remixing of childhood favourites into adult entertainment that we're talking about here.

Balfegor said...

re: buwaya:

We have lots of experience with childrens media. I will go the other way, and admit I admire the "Thomas the Tank Engine" series, and all its characters. Unlike most others, these are "realistic" and "human". And moreover didactic with a light touch.

Unsurprisingly, it has its critics (haha).

exiledonmainstreet said...

I remember being intensely bored by Strawberry Shortcake cartoons when I watched them with my niece. It was just bland, "be nice, kids" pap without any wit or cleverness.

How far we have fallen since Loony Tunes and my favorite cartoon heroes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65t-OzhlmvE

Crimso said...

I kind of like Peppa. I have sons ranging from 5 to 26 (yeah, I know I'm old for a 5 yo, but that's a different story), so I've seen a lot of what kids watch across those years. Don't really hate any of them, as I'm not their intended audience (it would be like saying I hate a magazine dealing with, say, fashion or contraception; I'm not into either so why should I care one way or another?).

SDaly said...

H.R. Puffenstuff

Yancey Ward said...

Wile E. Coyote. The spate of anvil related accidents killed many of my friends growing up.

Raphael Ordoñez said...

I just dressed my 3yo daughter in a Peppa Pig outfit this morning, and am surprised to discover that it's a cartoon. Shows what I know. The outfit was a present.

I have to say Minnie Mouse rubs me the wrong way. I think the main reason is that she's basically defined as being Mickey's girlfriend. I prefer role models to be smart and independent.

Minnie Mouse artifacts also tend to accumulate at an exponential rate. Some family member notices that your kid has a Minnie Mouse shirt on one day, and gets her another one for her birthday. Then you get two more outfits. And so on, until you have twelve Minne Mouse outfits, seven Minnie Mouse dolls, three Minnie Mouse Duplo sets, a talking Minnie Mouse cash register, a talking Minnie Mouse telephone, a Minnie Mouse costume, a Minnie Mouse play make-up set, and a Minne Mouse remote-control car, all in hot pink, which is a color I can't stand.

Also, not to pile on the Minne Mouse hate, but I just don't like her style, with all the polka dots and bling.

My older kids have always been anti-Disney and especially anti-Disney princess. No doubt that's partly because I can't stand Disney either. There are a lot of reasons, but perhaps I'm mainly resistant to the expectation that of course you're super-excited about the latest Disney / Marvel / Star Wars thing. It's like this big, self-indulgent, lukewarm dollop of stupid sauce that just wants to suck you in.

We often watch Miyazaki films for Family Movie Night. His heroines are intelligent, courageous, independent, and mature. They make sacrifices, learn discipline, and have a sense of responsibility. Highly recommended.

Unknown said...

There was a period starting in the late 60s and lasting approximately until they started dropping anvils on heads again in 'Tiny Toons' that cartoons, at least saturday cartoons got *really* lame. You went from cool stuff like "Space Ghost" & "Johnny Quest" with real danger to "everyone must get along and work as a group" pap. I remember they gave Mr. T a Saturday cartoon where he was the coach of a traveling team of young gymnasts. It turned out that *every* time one of them got an idea to try something on his or her own it was a disaster. Only when working as a group were they allowed to succeed.

Heck they even managed to make the Justice League of America lame. Aside from the worlds worst character designs with Marvin & Wonder Dog, the League wasn't, you know, actually allowed to fight anyone. It was all using their powers to reverse disasters caused by well meaning but inept scientists (not villains, mind you!). Feh!

DR Judge said...

I must defend the (newish) Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Both grandkids loved it from early on and still enjoy the animated rodent and his crew. (Granddaughter's 5 and grand son is 3) Newest member of the herd just turned one and seems to like it too. Beats Beavis and Butthead, SpongeBob, etc. that their father liked in junior high.

Skippy Tisdale said...

I would pay ten grand to do Dora the Explorer in the ass. Ten grand.

PatHMV said...

Ever read The Rainbow Fish? I'm scared to search if it ever became an animated show. One of the absolute worst children's books of all time. Fish with pretty, shiny scales has no friends because they are all jealous of his shiny scales. They won't be friends with him until he takes off almost all of his shiny scales and gives one to each of the other fish.

Obviously meant as an introduction to socialism or communism, it teaches horrible lessons about body image, envy, greed, and self-respect. The pathetic non-shiny fish won't accept who they are and be happy with their own appearance; they need the equivalent of cosmetic surgery to feel good about themselves. They're too shallow to be friends with the fish that looks different from them.

The rainbow fish itself is no better. It's mean when first asked to play. The lesson it learns from the "wise" octopus is NOT "hey, be nice to everybody and don't run away if someone asks you to play." No, it's "change who you are and buy friendship from the other fish."

If some random person, or even some friend, just came up to me and said: "Hey, give me that jewelry you're wearing," I'd have the exact same reaction as the Rainbow Fish: "No! Go away!" What's wrong with that? Some random person comes up to you and demands you give them something of value for free, is that behavior we want to encourage?

But sure enough, the entitled demand from the non-shiny fish gets rewarded!

Hideous, hideous story. When I read it to my daughter, I make up an alternate story every single time. Awful story.

William Chadwick said...


Skippy Tisdale writes: "I would pay ten grand to do Dora the Explorer in the ass. Ten grand."

Way overpriced. I have it on good authority that Dora is a nympho slut, and would probably let you have your way with her for about a third of that.


Bad Lieutenant said...

Pat, how did you like the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors?


Blogger William Chadwick said...

Skippy Tisdale writes: "I would pay ten grand to do Dora the Explorer in the ass. Ten grand."

Way overpriced. I have it on good authority that Dora is a nympho slut, and would probably let you have your way with her for about a third of that.


5/3/18, 1:40 PM

Plus isn't she a brownie? I thought the whole point of open borders was cheap labor. /langford

rehajm said...

I'm pretty sure The Magic Garden fucked me up a bit. Carole and Paula were so wholesome but there were psychedelic undertones more subversive than anything Sid and Marty Krofft put out.

That pink squirrel did me in I think...

rehajm said...

Wonderama was the capitalist rival to all the commie crap.

William Chadwick said...

Wonderama! "Sonny Fox wears funny sox."

Jamie said...

Yes, Rainbow Fish, and also The Giving Tree!

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

The simple fact that so much popular entertainment is aimed directly at children is a novelty that we have probably not fully digested. Disney's movies failed until after the park in California opened; this event was anticipated by a TV show, showing the park being built, and presenting glamourous images of what it would be like once finished. By opening day, kids all over the U.S. and Canada, if not further afield, were clamouring to go to Disneyland, see all the movies, etc. I'm sure the Disney canon has something to do with inspiring environmentalism: a simple-minded and sentimental opposition between humans, especially bad humans like hunters, vs. nature. At best there is no reason to defer to the elders: kids should get what they want. Then there is progressive politics--groups that have been subordinate should be in charge-with no suggestion that there might be pro's and con's to any of this. Boomer politics. Recently--with the newer princesses, and Peppa--there is more of a focus on the idea that men are not much use.
Then there's Bugs Bunny. Bugs doesn't want to take over; he's more like Huck Finn, wanting a comfortable, somewhat isolated life in the country. To maintain his life, he has to fight various macho figures such as cowboys, construction engineers, and medieval knights. One trick that usually works is to dress in drag; the big lugs don't seem to have a lot of experience with women, so they revert to the comforts of a highly stylized,courtly kind of behaviour. A real man doesn't look too closely at a lady to see whether she might be a man. So boomers are flattered as children, as with Disney. The views that are most likely to be attacked with humour are in a way old-fashioned or Establishment views, but as with great humour there is a kind of conservatism: the wrong people are probably in charge to a large extent, and that is likely always to be the case. For one thing, it is generally a scuzzy kind of person who wants a political career.