Pull the plug on Big Bird
“I'm sorry, Jim,” Mitt Romney told debate moderator Jim Lehrer on Wednesday. But if elected president, “I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I love Big Bird.”
Love it or not, that's the end of the line for the feathered monster. And I for one would be grateful.
I have always had problems with Big Bird. I don't know what he is. He is 6 years old, by the show's count, but I suspect that he is in fact a fully grown man in a bird suit.
He is 8 feet 2 inches tall, according to the Muppet Wiki, and he keeps flip-flopping on the subject of his species. One minute he's a lark. The next he's part canary. The next he's a Bigus canarius. He needs to get his story straight. One of his catchphrases is “Asking questions is a good way to find things out!” But no one is asking this bird the right questions.
I am not a Muppet hater. But I am curious whether Big Bird is capable of supporting himself without government aid. He sounds like a 47 percenter to me — have you ever seen him pay taxes? Who is paying for the lavish nest that he shares with his teddy bear, Radar? Is Granny Bird still claiming him as a dependent? What happened to the caseworker who placed him with a family of dodos?
When is he going to get a job? He can't still be 6 years old. I am no longer 6, and Big Bird was 6 before I was.
That's the main trouble with “Sesame Street.” I am no longer 6, and now I realize that the Count has severe OCD and maybe should get help, and the Cookie Monster needs to get his eating under control. I am no longer 6, and when I hear the name “Grover” I assume someone wants me to sign a tax pledge. Before, it was a gaggle of lovable monsters who wanted to sing me the alphabet, and now I am supposed to have political feelings. There are petitions for Bert and Ernie to get married. Never mind that Muppets do not exist below the waist. We are no longer 6, and we stop assuming you are roommates after you've lived together for decades and tend plants together.
Get to Sesame Street and dysfunction lurks everywhere. Oscar lives in a garbage can, even though PBS has received federal funding for years. Don't get me started on Elmo, whose voice and insistence on using the third person are intensely annoying. Why are our children watching this? Get them away! If they want to watch the shenanigans of grown men dressed as tuskless mammoths, point them toward the Internet.
The Internet loves Big Bird. The Internet loves all things “Sesame Street.” It brings us back to when we were 6. To hate Big Bird is to say that something was wrong with our childhood. But this has clouded our judgment. Just because we remember something from our youth does not make it good. We remember dial-up.
But even Mitt Romney knows that you cannot hate Big Bird. That would be like not loving Big Brother. You have to pledge lip service to the giant avian before you strap him to your car and drive away. And good riddance, say I.
Sharing? Being true to yourself? Growing familiar with letters? All well and good. But the Muppets have been on the air for decades. Now they just sing inane duets with Will.i.am, make “True Blood” parodies and cover Carly Rae Jepsen.
You can't be 6 forever. End the bird.
Alexandra Petri is a Washington Post columnist and author of the ComPost blog at washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LaBar: WWE not backing down from controversy
- Burrell Township man killed in backhoe accident
- Armstrong controller announces bid for fourth term
- Judge orders nonprofit tax form release in case against IRS
- Fayette officials reappoint dead man
- Kennametal plans plant closings, job cuts in fallout from oil and gas decline
- Rossi: In Super city, everything but football matters
- Hotel Monaco creative director: Success with whimsical decor requires open mind
- Donora talks trash with two collectors
- LCB, Duquesne University police recover rare bourbon in illegal sale
- Stat dropoff, road struggles have Penguins seeking consistency