December 21st, 2008


Where Have All the Tastemakers Gone?

bethje was telling me recently about how her young cousins were getting into direct-to-video Disney sequels and the like, and that one of them is now interested in Hannah Montana. I don't know. I believe that kids should be free to develop their own tastes, and if they end up liking stuff like Sleeping Beauty V: Back to Sleep on their own, then hey, tastes differ and all that. But I think some parents and other relatives will just buy their kids any old thing, without considering whether it might actually be any good. Shouldn't parents TRY to help their kids develop good tastes, even if they don't end up keeping them? Of course, I'm not a parent, and maybe some of you who are are thinking, "What does this guy know? Our schedules are already so busy, we don't have time to discern whether the Disney Channel original programming is any good!" And that's fair enough, but perhaps not all of it is that hard. Why not give kids things you liked when you were young? I'm sure most of today's parents didn't grow up with The Little Mermaid VI: Ariel Does Denmark, so why give that kind of thing to your own children? And I get the impression that some kids think any cartoon is appropriate for kids, which is why you'll get complaints about how South Park isn't family friendly, when it obviously wasn't intended to be. Beth also told me about how she heard some mom in a store saying that her kid wanted a Mario Kart game, but she was going to get the Cars game instead, because it was cheaper. Come on, this isn't exactly the same as buying the store-brand saltines instead of the Premium kind. That just strikes me as willful ignorance, like saying, "All these games are basically the same, and as a bonus, both of these two involve driving!"

Another thing that's been bugging me recently is how many people seem to see Christmas gift-giving as an obligation. And I don't except myself from this, but it just seems to be missing the true spirit of the season. Am I wrong that giving gifts should be enjoyable, not a chore? And I DO like giving gifts when I have some idea as to what the person wants, but I have no clue what that might be for a lot of people I know. If you're grouchy about giving gifts (or, worse yet, you trample other people to get the best bargains), isn't it kind of missing the point?

Oh, and it's final day of the happiness meme, isn't it? This post hasn't been too happy so far, but I'll wrap it up on a pleasant note by saying that having breakfast at McDonald's (two bacon, egg, and cheese bagels) made me happy. Small pleasures, you know?