Thursday, March 23, 2017

Raised Up By PBS

My earliest memory of watching PBS is getting to stay up late to watch the little black and white TV in my parents' bedroom.  Peter Paul and Mary had a concert on PBS, and because we were such big fans in my home, my dad let me watch the whole thing.  I laid on the end of the bed, chin resting my my hands, listening to all of my favorites.  To this day, I can still sing every song.  But nothing brings out my waterworks like Puff The Magic Dragon.  

My favorite episode of Sesame Street is still the episode circa early 80's when they showed crayons being made in a factory.  I was fascinated by the colors and process to go from bits of wax to a new, full box of Crayolas.  As a kid growing up in suburbia in a state that didn't have many factories, this was my first exposure to how things are made in mass production.  It's stuck with me.

My exposure to music and theater and film began because of three little letters.  PBS.  

But it didn't end in the 90's when everyone found their way to cable television and Internet.  PBS remained a staple in my life, as well as the lives of millions of Americans.  

PBS continues to be my connection to new music, theater, film, and news.  PBS was teaching us to cook long before Food Network was even imagined.  And I still find old episodes of Julia, Martha, and the fabulous America's Test Kitchen playing on the weekends.  

Raise your hand if you have seen the Les Mis 25th anniversary episode at least half a dozen times but still well up when all the Jean Valjeans are lined up onstage at the end.  I'm not the only one, right?  With the flags and each one taking a line and everyone singing never gets old!

But even if none of that played a part in your childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and inching up on middle age certainly watched Downton Abbey.  I mean, by the final two seasons, it was super mainstream {where were you people for the first two seasons when it was just me and a girl I barely knew in high school talking about it?}.  

PBS is not just part of our lives, it's helps raise us up.  It teaches kids.  It teaches teens.  It teaches adults.  It gives us something that even with all the extra options available these days online, you still can't find anywhere else.  It's an untouched corner because it still does it right.  PBS pushes boundaries and broadens horizons.  PBS raises everyone up!

PBS is important.

Not just nice or fun.  Not just something to watch on a Sunday night.  Not just another channel.  It's important.

It's important to have PBS as a safe space in this world to learn that the world is a rainbow of colors and abilities and backgrounds.  It's important to have PBS as a welcoming place in this world to known you are not alone in your curiosity about animals and nature and music and culture.  It's important to have PBS as an encouraging champion in this world to expand your mind and grow as a person and to push beyond what you ever realized was possible.  

It puts a pit in my stomach to think that we are this close to eliminating funding for fundamental aspects of our American life such as arts and PBS, health care for all, Meals on Wheels, etc so that the Wall Street rich can get richer, and the racist monument wall can go up.  We are all better than that.  We as a nation are so much better than all of this insanity!  I'd rather see Big Bird than a big wall, any day of the week!

This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.  ~JFK


1 comment:

MCW said...

I am with you. We grew up on Sesame Street. It's so sad...


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