Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Noach
3 Cheshvan 5773/October 20, 2012

“C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me.” He’s blue, furry, googly-eyed, and can’t get enough cookies. He’s a legend in America and has been inspiring children everywhere for decades. He’s the one and only Cookie Monster!
But in recent years his inspiration has been called into question. Child psychology experts and parents throughout the world have begun to wonder whether Cookie Monster is playing a role in the obesity epidemic ravaging Western Society.
Innocent children are being exposed to this beloved puppet who can eat as many cookies as he wants without compunction. What’s more, he eats his cookies with animalistic and crazed fervor and like a complete slob, sending crumbs flying in all directions. How can we expect our children to grow into fine, decent, health-conscientious, productive members of society with such terrible role models like Cookie Monster?!
And so in their brilliance and foresight, the creators of Sesame Street have added vegetables to Cookie Monster’s diet. Yes, he still enjoys a tasty cookie. But he also enjoys a good piece of carrot and broccoli. His new song is “A Cookie is a sometimes food”.
Kudos to the experts who have come to the conclusion that children’s eating habits can be influenced by television, even by a Muppet-monster that every child knows isn’t real. The fact remains the same: children are very impressionable.
At the same time it’s fascinating to note the increase of children exposure to television. And the television of today is very different from that of the past. Hardly a commercial doesn’t have an innuendo, and hardly a show on TV doesn’t have scenes of relationships that any decently moral person would be disgusted by, or a scene of violence depicting shootings and blood that we would be horrified to ever see in real life.
I read recently that if an average child/adolescent is asked to guess how many times he/she thinks a police officer fires off a gun during his career on the force, most would answer upwards of 50. In truth the overwhelming majority of police officers NEVER fire their gun throughout their career. The fact that police officers are almost always drawing their guns on TV probably has absolutely no bearing on that mistaken idea.
The effects of continued TV exposure have been shown to increase anxiety, social withdrawal, social incompetence, and attention deficits, to name a few. This is all based on studies done in the general society. As Torah Jews we have other vital concerns to contend with as well.
So in conclusion I just want to express my happiness that Cookie Monster has realized the need to include salad in his diet. Let him go back to eating only cookies and parents all over America may decide that it’s time to pull the plug on the blue beast. But let Cookie Monster shoot someone who tries to steal his cookies (with the salad on top), and that would seem to not be as much of a concern. After all, that type of stuff is entertainment, and what could be wrong with a little entertainment?

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
   R’ Dani and Chani Staum

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