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“‘Sesame Street” is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It’s a huge milestone for the groundbreaking TV show, which made educating children a priority and brought us memorable characters like Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Grover and Cookie Monster.
It goes without saying that “Sesame Street” emphasizes modern liberal values. Ever since it first appeared on National Educational Television in 1969, followed by an extensive run on PBS, the program has consistently promoted social justice. But you can see a glimmer of right-leaning philosophy in it as well. The show doesn’t advocate for small government or free-market economics—although HBO’s purchase of first-run episodes in 2016 sort of counts—but some conservative themes pop up.
Take patriotism. Several episodes explore American achievements and history—including an amusing skit with H. Ross Parrot, a spoof of two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot. And there are patriotic characters like Sam Eagle, a Muppet who champions American values, defends the Constitution and wants to protect his country from “weirdos.” Since 2008, “Sesame Street” has sustained a partnership with the United Service Organization, putting on live shows for military families and their smiling children.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."