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Don’t Let The Kids Drink The Kool-Aid by Marybeth Hicks

October 6, 2011 by  

Maybe you can’t tell a book by its cover, but the jacket of Don’t Let The Kids Drink The Kool-Aid by Marybeth Hicks doesn’t inspire much confidence. On the front jacket, just beneath the book’s title, a youngster lies on a hardwood floor, chin in hands, elbows on floor, contentedly absorbed in watching a Presidential speech on television. And you have to wonder what alternative universe gave birth to that image. No kid I’ve ever known would sit still for even a moment and watch a politician droning on and on and on. If the President comes on the screen, the children who have inhabited my living room would have whipped out the remote control (from under the sofa cushions) and been desperately searching for something with more action than a politician’s lips flapping. They’d be looking for cars exploding, bullets flying, superheroes saving the day. Anything but a talking head.

But, I opened the book and figured maybe I could give the author the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps an art director at the publishing company had picked out the cover and Hicks hadn’t seen it. Or she’d been talked into thinking the languid child on the cover represented the power of political propaganda to lure innocent children into doing something no parent has ever managed to pull off – get them to hold still and watch really boring television.

Unconvincing Arguments

Just like the unconvincing cover, though, Hicks’ opinions inside the book, arguing that left-wing control of the media is turning kids into socialist zombies ready to drink the Kool-Aid served up by agenda-driven puppet masters who dwell in hidden Hollywood mansions, is pretty far-fetched. Yes, most of what MTV and other youth-oriented networks put on the tube is pretty trashy. Yes, the attitudes evinced by sitcom characters are appalling. (They insult each other, they insult their parents and they’re generally obnoxious.) And, yes, it’s a safe bet that many creative people putting out movies and TV shows lean to the left.

But should we believe Hicks that films like “Bambi,” put out by that well-known socialist Walt Disney, have tried to make us all into radical environmentalists just because one of the animators was ardently in favor of protecting national parks?

Telling parents to turn off the garbage their kids are watching on television and limit their kids’ unsupervised use of the Internet seems like pretty obvious advice. You don’t need to reference a few shows with left-wing sympathies to know that parents need to take responsibility for their kids’ media diet. It seems pretty self-evident that most pop culture is a waste of time that kids could be using to play outside. Or read a decent book.

Corporate Propaganda

Unfortunately, Hicks strays from being obvious and banal into seriously irresponsible territory when she shifts from arguing for censorship of entertainment to questioning the need to limit the marketing of junk foods to juveniles. Does she really believe that we should squeeze SpongeBob SquarePants out of kids’ viewing diet but allow commercial cartoon characters to convince kids to get hooked on high fructose corn syrup?

Hicks maintains that the childhood obesity epidemic, which has been substantiated by myriad studies and statistics, is a myth. She quotes Brian Wansink, a Cornell researcher who has studied America’s overeating habits, as saying that the obesity problem “… gets really blown out of proportion.” Wansink may have said words to that effect on a radio show once. But she neglects to tell us that Wansink is co-director of Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (BEN), an organization that has joined with the Federal government to fight childhood obesity. That hardly supports the proposition that Wansink thinks juvenile obesity is a myth. And Hicks never does get around to telling us that Wansink has joined forces with the very anti-obesity efforts that she derides.

At one point, Hicks tell us, “I’m not arguing against the merits of a healthier school lunch.” No, but she’s against taking any practical steps to trying to make that happen. She also looks for support for her position from the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). Talk about a hidden agenda. The Center for Consumer Freedom is a front organization for fast food chains like Wendy’s and Arby’s. The group was originally started in 1995 with money from the tobacco industry to try to make sure Americans continued to use unhealthy products. It has reportedly been banned from YouTube for undisclosed “terms of service violations” and once posted a video criticizing Charlotte’s Web for encouraging kids to refuse to eat bacon.

Toward the end of her book, Hicks implores us that, “If our children’s generation is to answer the call to greatness, we must raise the bar of our expectations.” In that vein, parents can and should talk to their kids about the politics of their country and what they believe in. Those same parents should oversee the television, movies and videos that their kids consume.

But we need to protect the health of our children so that they have a future within which to be great. As a country, we need to stop subsidizing the heavy dose of corn syrup and fast foods that are wrecking kids’ health. While Hicks hides behind the language of freedom to support giant corporations whose oversized profits depend on children’s oversized waistlines, the truth is parents need to monitor the commercials kids watch as well as the shows those advertisements sponsor. Our children’s bodies and minds depend on that vigilance.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • s c

    My best suggestion to parents concerning kids and TV is to make America’s homes ‘TV free’ for as long as we have someone like The Disappointing Anointed One in the White House. I realize this might be hard to do, but the alternative is to risk bringing more zombies and pre-programmed pc robots into society so political hacks and America-hating SOBs can count on easy votes.
    Like John Denver once said, ‘Blow up the TV.’ Do it outside, of course.
    Running over the damned thing is optional, in case you don’t want SWAT teams and/or the FBI at your front door, drooling at the thought of catching a terrorist so they can get a quick promotion.

    • Lisa

      Agreed. I turned our TV off and for the first few days the children were annoyed but got over it and went outside and climbed the tree. Best thing we ever done. Turn it off. I control what they watch and see and have built up a wholesome family collection of ‘good’ DVD’s to watch occassionally instead.
      The media is controlled. They tell you what to think, buy, say,. Don’t forget that the brain way out-smarts any hard-drive. It stores and remembers everything it has seen, heard, felt and tasted. So don’t fill your children’s brains (or your own) with the trash given to us on TV.
      I dare you all to do it for one week, you will be amazed.

  • Stevan Iungerich

    Vis a vis the U.S. political “class”, one isn’t required to actually say anything in order to make a few extra bucks.

  • s

    Hear, hear!

  • Ted

    Why are you wasting our time on this ClapTrap when real issues exist???

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear Ted,

      What “real” issues would you have us cover that we are neglecting?

      Best wishes,

  • slayerwulfe

    Ted wants real issues: Walt Disney published a serial in 1954 comics for children “The Lost Legion” Mickey and Goofy as spies in the Sultans palace to see if he’s planning to attack the fort to regain control of his country. We see the people of this country referred to “Sultan Ibn Gud” of Bakdor, Sidhor and Al Outsid, ,Also there is Shiek Sidi or Standi.

    The real issue is what the author and also our host here is saying, idiots writing for children and changing who or what they might have been.


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