Friday 24th of January 2020

the cookie monster...

the cookie monster

the big bird debate...

Like most professional opinion havers who watched Wednesday’s debate, I thought Mitt Romney had a good night, but I was puzzled by his volunteering that he wants to end government funding for public broadcasting.

I wasn’t surprised that he said it; it’s been a conservative goal for about as long as there’s been PBS and NPR. But I was surprised by how he said it, as he was speaking to Jim Lehrer (ironically, of PBS): “I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

I’ve been covering the waxing-and-waning threats to cut public-media funding long enough to know one thing. It’s the defenders of public money who bring up Big Bird — and Elmo and Arthur — whenever this happens. It personalizes the debate. It gets people worried about their favorite characters and educational TV for their kids; it conjures the specter of heartless politicians killing Big Bird.

And if you’re a conservative budget cutter or culture warrior, you do whatever you can not to cite Big Bird, or Sesame Street, or any cuddly figure that millions of people love. You talk about Bill Moyers, or a documentary you charge with liberal bias, or the elitism of NPR executives, or some show with lesbians in it. You tell voters that coastal socialist elites are taking your money to undermine your values! You only mention Big Bird, if you must at all, to say that government money or no, Big Bird will be fine.

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his kind and loving view of the world...

Caroll Spinney, who was the voice of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on “Sesame Street,” has died, the show announced Sunday. He was 85.

The famed puppeteer died Sunday at his home in Connecticut after suffering for “some time” from dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, the show said.

“Caroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades, and his legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending,” the show said in a statement.

“His enormous talent and outsized heart were perfectly suited to playing the larger-than-life yellow bird who brought joy to generations of children and countless fans of all ages around the world, and his lovably cantankerous grouch gave us all permission to be cranky once in a while.”

Spinney played the two iconic characters on “Sesame Street” since is debut in 1969 before he announced his retirement last year. His chronic health issues forced him to give up puppeteering for Big Bird in 2015, but he continued to provide the voices for both characters.


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Sesame Street did not help the US political class or did it? Read from top.