Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Hate Elmo

I also hate Dora, Pooh, Spongebob, Thomas, Bob, and especially the Disney princesses. I hate them for appearing on junky toys and sugary cereals that my children will beg for in the not-too-distant future. I hate them for brainwashing my babies with brand loyalty before they’re capable of critical thinking. Dang those clever, self-serving marketers!

It’s not that I’m opposed to the babies having toys that they love or reading about or watching characters who capture their imaginations. On the contrary! It’s just that I think the joy should come from the good times that playing with the toy provides or from the bliss of a good story - NOT because of the familiar face on the package.

My hatred of the princesses is compounded by another issue (which is a whole other blog post), but aside from those two-dimensional anti-role models, perhaps I most hate the characters who claim to love our children. Elmo doesn’t love you. Elmo wants the contents of your wallet $19.99 at a time. Your Nana loves you. Put her face on a t-shirt and wear it.

So far we’ve avoided any licensed character apparel, toys, or television, but I know that it’s inevitable. The licensed character tidal wave is coming, and I’m going to have to decide whether it’s a war worth fighting. Making unpopular choices is exhausting. So much avoidance and so much explaining… And will it be a barrier to making friends for my little ones? I’m pretty sure mutual favorite cartoon characters can qualify as a friendship requirement for preschoolers.

In the end, I think we’ll just avoid the onslaught as long as possible. The television will remain turned off, and the grocery shopping will be done in places that don’t sell character cereal or character apple slices (which is just a low blow on the part of that industry, don’t you think?). It’s only a matter of time, though, until they watch cartoons at a friend’s house or spot an action figure from a beloved childhood movie when we’re out for toothpaste and dishwasher powder. Perhaps you will see me one day at a big box retailer trying to reason with a child seduced by the siren call of “Collect Them All!”. I do hope, however, that you will not see me in a drive-thru awaiting a side of fast food with my toy. In that event, please stop me and remind me of all that I once loved before the whining began.

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  1. Funny and oh so true post. They don't know what anything is yet, which is good. I will never be that parent also that will buy the cerals, toys, parties, etc around a cartoon character. (famous last words). I will, however, sad as it is to say, be excited to take them to Disney World if and when the time comes. I know, I know, I know -ALL kind of wring with that, for many different reasons....but I loved it so as a kid.

  2. We have Disney World plans as well. It simply must be done. (And I'm excited about it, too!) We will have a one souvenir limit, though. There's doing Disney World, and then there's OD'ing on Disney World


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