Kids Having Fun(damentalism)


I love how they’ll show old Christian kids’ shows at, like, 3 AM. It’s like they realize that no actual kids are going to watch that tripe. Personally, though, I find them fascinating on an ironic level. One of my favorites is Kids Like You from the early nineties, which, like A Streetcar Named Desire, is basically about the descent of a Southern woman into madness. The host, Cathie Dorsch, is apparently still active as an associate minister in Arkansas.

She was a brunette on the show, though.
In the show, she has the kids call her “Miss Cathie,” which I always thought was a Southern thing, but I’m coming across with increasing frequency here in the north as well. Most episodes consist of her taking a group of children to a carnival or water park or something, the catch being that she’ll interview a few of them and make them talk about how much they love Jesus. Interspersed with this are segments featuring puppets, who learn that the solution to all life’s problems, from difficult tests in school right up through nuclear war, is believing in Jesus. Well, that and obeying your parents. It’s never discussed what takes precedent if your parents tell you to do something contrary to the Bible. Also occasionally appearing are guys dressed up as a hobo and a prisoner, which I guess are supposed to represent the redemptive power of Christ even to the most hardened criminals, but were possibly just the costumes that happened to be discounted at Walmart.

Speaking of children’s media and fundamentalist Christianity, I just found out recently that Charles Krauthammer hated the Berenstain Bears.

Why? I mean, the Bears were regular churchgoers, weren’t they?

So in the Bears’ world, was Jesus also a bear? Inquiring minds want to know!
Well, apparently Krauthammer thought they weren’t patriarchal enough. He wrote, “The raging offense of the Berenstains is the post-feminist Papa Bear, the Alan Alda of grizzlies, a wimp so passive and fumbling he makes Dagwood Bumstead look like Batman.” I guess he thinks Papa needs to take charge and maul Mama because he’s the rightful head of the household, or something like that. Personally, I have to wonder how bears named Papa and Mama managed to get together. What are the odds of that happening? Or are those not their real names? I don’t think Brother Bear was Brother Bear until Sister came along (he was originally called Small Bear), so I guess names for bears are a bit flexible. Getting back to the main point, however, I suppose there’s nothing innocuous enough that someone isn’t going to find it morally reprehensible. Really, if I were going to complain about the Berenstain Bears, I’d say they sometimes came off as TOO preachy. Same thing for the Smurfs, who were apparently forbidden viewing material for the young Katy Perry (who would have been Katy Hudson at the time). I remember Mother Nature appearing in a few episodes of that show, though, so maybe the paganism was the problem. I don’t know.

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