You’re Pretty Arrogant for a Six Year Old

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December 3, 2013 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

There’s no doubt that since the 1980s, the U.S. has been on a crusade trying to save the world from itself.  It’s the reason why we did Hands Across America; it’s the reason why Styrofoam cups have become less acceptable than the C.S.A. flag, and it’s the reason why we feel the need to give billions of dollars away to foreign aid despite the fact that half the countries we aid either don’t really like us, or would not do the same if the U.S. was ever in need.[1]

All of these facts, while true and at times rather disillusioning were facts that I was content with-to the point of accepting them as universal truths.  People who don’t recycle are almost as bad as Nazis, and the U.S. has to care more about the 6.8 billion people living outside the country than the 300 million living within.  These are just truths that have existed without being forced upon us.  These things just are.

I’m not a recycler; I do it socially if there are people around, but more often than not I don’t.  The reason I don’t is because of Captain Planet.  The reason why I accept the fact that the government will almost always misallocate and misappropriate tax dollars or that the far left and the far right will have says much larger than they should have is because, even though both are detrimental actions, the idea of them was not forced upon me.  The idea of recycling however was forced upon me by that green mulletted jerk-off.

I don’t like being told what to do; in fact I abhor it.  Even if it’s something I want to do, if I get the feeling that I’m forced into it, I won’t want to do it.  The very idea of being commanded makes me clamp up.  This is exactly what Captain Planet and the Planeteers was.  It was a blatant attempt to introduce (sic indoctrinate) kids to a new, environmentally conscientious mindset.  I couldn’t buy into the show for that exact reason.

The last time I saw Captain Planet was when I was eight, so the merits of the entirety of this article rests upon the memory of not only an eight year old, but an incredibly stubborn, hyper, and impatient eight year old.  With that in mind, I couldn’t escape the feeling that every episode of the show was trying to preach to me when I never asked them to.  It’s like the crazy preacher at the corner of the street with the picket sign saying that the Apocalypse started 15 minutes ago; yeah, you can have your opinions, but keep them to yourself unless someone asks you about them.  I never wanted to have a superhero with toothpaste colored skin tell me to turn off the lights when I’m not in the room.  I’m not an idiot; I do that already.

There were some admittedly socially progressive episodes of the series, such as the one were a high school student finds out he had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion.[2]  That episode came at a time when children were beginning to be educated about the virus, and it was important for a kids show to tackle the issue.  But by and large, the show really was the tree-huggers equivalent to Power Rangers.

The bad guys were all thinly veiled and exaggerated allegories for the unhygienic, technologically aggressive, nuclear waste, capitalism, garbage men, and general pollution.[3]  The problem that arises from turning all of these things into humanized villains is that it’s inherently flawed because there aren’t any supporters of nuclear waste or unsanitary living conditions, nor is there anyone alive who would label themselves as being pro-pollution.  In trying to make easily identifiable villains with monotonous schemes, the show made me realize just how much of an agenda it had, by vilifying things that aren’t proactively villainous.  Even though the eco-villains were all modeled after actual environmental problems, there really aren’t any real life counterparts of people who actually support environmental degradation.

The show tried too hard to turn everyday things like oil rigs and computers into dastard bastards that were maliciously trying to turn the planet into a wasteland; anyone over the age of 18 months knows that this isn’t true.  Obviously you should separate plastics, papers, and metals, and of course you should care about the ozone, but I didn’t need a cartoon that tried to appeal to me by mimicking other shows I enjoyed like Power Rangers or X-Men, cram it down my throat.  I’ll admit as a kid, I thought that having a socially conscience mindset was pretty lame, and so to have an entire TV show target me by modeling itself after other, more popular shows amongst my demographics, trying to tell me to think and behave a certain way, was most definitely an unwelcomed presence.  I had enough Earth Day celebrations globally aware speeches in school, I didn’t need Ted Turner trying to insult whatever intelligence I had at that point by trying to trick me into hating air conditioning.

To the contrary of my personal disdain for Captain Planet, I do actually think that it was a good show to have in the early 90s.  It had the action of other Saturday morning cartoons, but also a socially positive message that could educate and entertain kids at the same time.  As a kid who was way more opinionated than he should have been, not only could I not bear to have a cartoon tell me how to behave, I couldn’t approve of the blurring of entertainment and education; I just couldn’t have it, especially when it was as alarmist and exaggeratedly over exaggerated as Captain Planet was.  It was a show noble in intention, but in practice, Captain Planet tried too hard to get me to believe something that was of no consequence to me as a kid.  I refused Captain Planet because it tried to teach me not only when I didn’t ask to be taught, but also under the guise of familiarity.  I don’t know who was more arrogant for this.


[1] $2 billion a year to extremist Egypt doesn’t seem to justify a crumbling infrastructure and a rapidly deteriorating educational system here at home.

[2] What I don’t understand though is why the community was all too willing to openly and aggressively persecute a kid, but not even question the giant rat that was spreading rumors about the disease and the kid who contracted it.

[3] Part of the reason why I have a grudge against Captain Planet is that I kinda had a crush on Dr. Blight as a kid.  I don’t know, there’s just something about a bad bitch who knows how to get (evil) shit done.

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One thought on “You’re Pretty Arrogant for a Six Year Old

  1. […] years later.  By the time I was in first grade, I realized that I severely disliked the following: Captain Planet, Joe Camel, the Florida Marlins, and Green Day.  Seeing something on TV or hearing a certain band […]

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