Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
Support Sesame Street

If you know me, you know that I am a Sesame Street fan. It is perhaps one of my favorite TV shows, though I'll admit I'm significantly less fond of its current incarnation than I was of the one I grew up with. Nonetheless I think it's a good project that does great things for kids. I was terribly excited to meet Oscar the Grouch this summer, and get Big Bird's autograph.

So I was kind of sad to read this Salon article about what seems like yet another commendable Sesame Workshop project: the creation of a few special shows called "Sesame Neighborhood" meant to showcase off Arab-American culture and children, and promote harmony and pluralistic integration between Arab-American children and other children. In the wake of post-Sept. 11 backlash this seems doubly important--both to protect children from hate and also to prevent their growing up into alienated youth. With spots like Global Grover, and the innately pluralistic, tolerant aesthetic of Muppets in general, Sesame Street could pursue such a goal with the kind of style and panache that would inevitably elude others.

But the article is about how this project simply hasn't happened because the cash isn't available. Sesame Workshop has been unable to get either corporate funding or Arab-American funding. The point of the article seems to be that this is an example of either how mainstream non-profits in general, and public television in particular, doesn't know how to appeal to minority groups OR how it's an example of the the possibility that currently Arab-Americans don't really want to integrate. Both of these might have elements of truth, but they can hardly be the whole truth. I think the main thing is that non-profits in general are suffering, and Sesame Street in particular.

In the summer, when I met Caroll Spinney, the voice and puppeteer inside Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he mentioned (in the gentlest way possible) that the reason Sesame Street now shoots a much shorter season every year is because its strapped for cash. Its primary source of funding comes from product-licensing, and small kids now agitate for stuff covered with Barney logos--or worse yet, for-profit Disney logos. As a result, I make a point of buying Sesame Street themed products when I have the option to. (Note to friends: I really miss my old Ernie Puppet. A Big Bird doll would be nice too. And possibly this DVD.) But Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit, and there's nothing wrong with just donating to it. I realize most of my readers are my fellow cash-strapped students, but for those of you who are a little more flush--please think about funding some great public television.

Update, January 23, 2003

I emailed Sesame Workshop and asked about online donations. Veronica Koo emailed me back, with characteristic Sesame appreciation:

Thanks so much for your kind words and for thinking of Sesame Workshop. Our
web giving will be up soon, in the interim we asked that donors use the
attached form
to give gifts. The mailing address is on the form, it is not
the same as our offices in NYC.


To reiterate, I have posted the pdf form to enclose with donations to Sesame workshop on my webpage here. The address to send donations to is:
Sesame Workshop, P.O. Box 5136, Toms River, NJ, 08754-5136.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Dave Barry
The Bellman
Mine's On The 45 (Brimful)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
ChennaiCentral
ClimateBoy
Combing the Sphere
Crooked Timber
Daily Dose of Imagery
The Daily Rhino (Bong Breaker)
Dark Days Ahead
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Atanu Dey on India's Development (Deeshaa)
Daniel Drezner
Ennis
Ephemera
Cyrus Farivar
Finding My Voice
Forsv
Neil Gaiman
Ganesh Blog
Geeky Chic 2.0 (Echan)
Geomblog
Green Ink!
Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



Some Categories

Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
Liberals Against Terrorism(Nadezhda & Praktike)
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
War and Piece
Wonkette
Yglesias:Tpmcafe

Photo Blogs
Daily Dose of Imagery
Ephemera
Alexandra Huddleston
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
TiffinBox

Columbia Journalism Folks
Apartment Therapy
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
Ranajit Dam
Cyrus Farivar
Alexandra Huddleston
InSpiteOfEverything
Corey Pein
Nick Schager
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham

Literature, Fiction and Entertainment
Dave Barry
Neil Gaiman
Electrolite: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Scott McCloud


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