Adios, Big Bird??

Shawn Bean at posted this love letter to our favorite feathered friend, and we wanted to share it. After all these years of faithful service, it was the least we could do.

Dear Big Bird,

It’s hard to believe that after 43 years in the same job — making oooooo and eeeeeee sounds; holding up big, Styrofoam letters; arguing with a stoned woolly mammoth — you might be getting laid off. I don’t know if the Count told you yet, but if elected president, Mitt Romney will give PBS zero (not vone, not two, but zzzero!) in government subsidies.

It’s hard to imagine. Seeing Big Bird in an unemployment line would be like seeing Big Bird in an unemployment line. What else can you do for work? You could be the mascot for Chic-Fil-A, but then there’s that whole Bert-Ernie connection. Hmm. Better scratch that.

It’s kind of silly that the morning after a presidential debate, the topic that’s trending highest on Google is a giant yellow emu. (Or are you an ostrich?) But for us here at Babytalk and Parenting, two brands dedicated to kids, this is a huge deal. Not only because you’ve helped our children learn letters, numbers, shapes and colors, but with all the thousands of line items on the federal budget, Romney picked on you.

Let’s put this into perspective, shall we? The government annually gives public broadcasting approximately $450 million. The U.S. government’s 2013 budget states that it will spend $6.4 trillion next year. That means PBS takes up one fifteen thousandth of government spending. And according to Sesame Workshop, which produces Sesame Street, 93 percent of production costs for the show are covered by licensing activities or corporate sponsorships. (But seriously, how much can you all be spending on production? You have on-air talent still living in garbage cans.)

Unfortunately, this is where my sympathy ends for you, feathered friend. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, an era before cable, DVDs and YouTube, Sesame Street was basically the only kid’s entertainment on television. During Sesame Street’s reign of felt-covered terror, many other children’s shows came and went: Their ratings stunk; advertising dollars were slim. So they were cancelled. Meanwhile, the puppets on Sesame Street never had to sweat it. They didn’t have to worry about ratings or advertising dollars. (There aren’t even any commercials on PBS.) The government ensured that Sesame Street was here to stay.

Fast forward to 2012. Cartoon Network. The Hub. Nickelodeon. Nick Jr. NBC Kids. Disney XD. Disney Junior. Boomerang. A number of networks — all funded privately — have come into prominence. (Other networks, like Fox Kids and Discovery Kids, didn’t make it.) A slew of new charismatic characters began helping our kids with letters, numbers, shapes and colors: Dora the Explorer, Diego, the Bubble Guppies, the Wiggles, Joe on Blue’s Clues, Bob the Builder. Suddenly, you had some serious competition, but you still want your government birdseed. Sorry, Big Bird. It was a good run, nearly a half-century long. We all still love you. But it’s high time we pushed you out of your Fiat-sized nest. To survive in the 21st century, you’re going to have to stand on your own two orange, purple-ringed legs.

But ultimately, here’s why we didn’t like Romney’s statement: He came into our homes last night and threatened to fire our kids’ babysitter, our kids’ tutor, our kids’ friend. It felt callous. After 43 years of promoting literacy and learning, teaching kids to sing, and taking them around the world, you deserved better than being put on notice on national television.
That said, I know a guy at KFC. Just sayin’.

Email This Post Email This Post

Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

Warning: Illegal string offset 'echo' in /home/mamasonc/public_html/mama/wp-content/themes/hybrid/library/extensions/custom-field-series.php on line 157

Leave a Reply




With One or Both of Us

Go to & for the scoop!

Phone • Internet • Your Home or Group

Listen up

The Five Second Rule: True Or False?

If you pick it up within five seconds, you can eat it, right?

Watch This!

Teach your kids to step in and step up when they see a classmate being teased. Show them how to respond and tell them what to say. Let's try to make our world a little kinder and a little warmer. Please?

What You Said

  • FirstBarry: I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn...
  • Rebecca Benham: My son woke up with bumps on his stomach help
  • Chelie Belie: AND up the street there’s a psychotic IT that is awe-struck by me! Walks by my property carrying...
  • Chelie Belie: I live next door to Ned Flanders–how would you like that??
  • Maggie sullivan: I have a neighbor, will holler and wave at me if i am near porch but if i try to sit in the yard, or...
  • Ellen Schrier: Thank you so much! Please come back often!
  • Ellen Schrier: Hi Lisa, Sorry for the very late response. We are sorry to hear about your daughter and are sure that...
  • Lisa jacobs: My daughter was in a car accident and now has a concussion. She is plan to go to Mexico City which is a...
  • RF: Well my baby had her first two bottom theeth at 10 months old and i tought so far so good and then now at 11...
  • ofertas cine: That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thanks...

Just so you know

The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.