Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Maybe Sponge Bob is Brainwashing Our Children

warning I get kind of angry and preachy in this post and a little ranty, even a little scared. It may be a little convoluted, but I am tired and pissed off (as a parent and as a pastor).

"We worry about so many dangers to our children- drugs, perverts, bullies- but seldom notice the biggest menace of all; the multibillion-dollar marketing effort aimed at turning the kids into oversexed, status-obsessed, attention-deficient little consumers."

Barbara Ehrenreich, Author of Nickel and Dimed, discussing the new book by Juliet B. Schor Born to Buy

There is an insidious culture out there destroying the very fabric of our nation, our youth, our churches, our faith, our families and our lives. However, it is not the "Gay Agenda" or "Secular Humanism" or "liberalism," not even "evolution," or whatever bogeyman the Christian Right is up in arms about. However, Sponge Bob Square Pants may be a part of this attempt at a hostile takeover of our families. I mean, he is competition for the loyalty of my kids, with his videos, cereal, shoes, clothes, pop-tarts (sadly, I continue with the rundown for 2 pages).

This evil that is destroying our "family values" is our commercialized culture of mass consumption and rampant consumerism, fed by greedy secular capitalism (trying to use the language of the right, so as to illicit more anger from my readers), which cares nothing about responsibility to its fellow humans, its community, its environment or even its country. I mean the Christian Right is understandably angry and frightened about a culture that is corrupting the world. They are just barking up the wrong tree (blinded by their loyalty to Fox News and the wonders of capitalism with no boundaries).

I know, you have heard me preach about this before, but upon reading Born to Buy (you must read this book, especially if you have kids), which holds an honored place on my bookshelf next to Coercion, Fast Food Nation, No Logo, The Overspent American, Affluenza, Consuming Kids: The Hostile takeover of Childhood, and Branded, I realize that, as a parent I am up against an evil force that is out there to steal my children, their loyalty, their innocence and their hearts.

Honestly, it frightens me more than anything James Dobson tells me about. I think about homeschooling, not because of evolution, sex education or secular values. I think of homeschooling because of the pressures to buy all this stuff and the hostile marketing to our kids in school. Why do girls want to be so skinny? Marketing. I could go on.

The church must see this and stand prophetically against this cancer which has infiltrated our churches. However, outside of Tom and Christine Sine and the historic Peace Churches, I see very little in the church standing against this culture. I know Tom BBeaudoin and Rodney Clapp have written essays and books on the subject, but little is out there (especially considering the amount of literature on gay marriage, evolution and democrats).

So here is what I am thinking...

I am thinking of starting an organization to help out. It will be called Consumer Resistance and it will help people open their eyes to what they are being sold. I will keep you updated. Let me know if I am nuts or if it bothers you. Also, if you know of other resources, let me know.

Meanwhile, check out these websites

Center for a New American Dream
Obligation, Inc.
Commercial Alert
Stop the Commercial Exploitation of Children
Dads and Daughters
Alliance for Childhood
Media Education Foundation
New Mexico Media Literacy Project
TV Turn Off Network- I seriously need to be impacted by this one (after the Super Bowl)

* just because I link to something does not mean I agree with all the views expressed on the website*


Anonymous said...

Your nuts, but great, keep going. The way you bracket your thoughts as you observe yourself ranting is not only funny but also convayes something on your passion and humour.

Ah this is what it reminds me off, The Steeple & The Gargoyle (http://www.sarahmasen.com/dark/story.php/1)

Regards, Paul. (Just a random passer by intent on encouragement (I got here from http://www.sarahmasen.com/phorum/ if your curious))

g13 said...

excellent post. i hadn't even heard of born to buy. i need to pick that one up.

Anonymous said...

I love Spongebob. Everyone does. As a friend. Nothing more. Spongebob does not teach any wrong values. An example of a bad role model is one that has an extremely high/annoying laugh, toys and plays with an incredibly dumb friend, sings odd songs that make no sense whatsoever, and shows extreme affection to both genders. That is definitely not Spongebob.

Ninja Andy said...

I think you're onto something, but that can easily be quelled by Sponge Bob Square Holly!
I think the bigger threat is Neopets and, of course, the Pokemon, as detailed on Andyville.

By the way, what do you think of Miss Lori? She makes me feel "special."