by Ariel Hudes
It's a classic advertising industry tactic: get consumers while they're young. Camel doesn't have to get three year olds to actually go out and purchase their product or understand exactly what that product is, they just have to use cartoons which are catchy enough to peak toddlers' interest in 'this camel thing' and that plant the seeds (the image, the 'cool' stigma) of Camel cigarettes in their heads- and then, their dilligent consumerism will follow. Why should a more abstract 'product'-
Marxism- be any different? Of course toddlers won't go out and organize and overthrow the bourgeoisie, but maybe if sharing and working together and equality (concepts which are, of course, already among the most didactically implanted in toddlers) and even the term "Marxism" are made to look fun and exciting and trendy to toddlers in their formative years, they will be primed to continue to carry out these ideals in their more active years.
"After all, most parents want their children to be far left in their early years — to share toys, to eschew the torture of siblings, to leave a clean environment behind them, to refrain from causing the extinction of the dog, to rise above coveting and hoarding, and to view the blandishments of corporate America through a lens of harsh skepticism. But fewer parents wish for their children to carry all these virtues into adulthood. It is one thing to convince your child that no individual owns the sandbox and that it is better for all children that it is so. It is another to hope that when he grows up he will donate the family home to a workers' collective."
-Caleb Crain, from "Children of the Left, Unite!" (New York Times, January 1, 2009).
A secondary (and more immediately visible) function of the video is to ask parents to consider the hypocritical nature of the leftist 'politics' they teach to their children but do not carry out themselves:
Song: THE RICH GET RICHER; THE POOR GET POORER
Mommy says to share your toys,
To be nice to girls and boys.
Don't be greedy
And you'll be,
As happy a kid can be.
Mom and dad should act the same,
But they don't it's just insane.
That is how our sad world works,
Here are all the quirks:
Some people are rich,
Some people are poor,
And the rich keep getting more.
Look at these cute kids,
Can you imagine living that way?
What if we all acted
Like mom and dad say?
Marx has the answer for us,
Share with everyone,
It's not a fuss.
So ask your parents to tell you more
About Marx and his great cure.
Don't be a pig and you'll see
Marxism is the way to be.
The world is better when we're all equal,
and every belly can be full.
This idea is full of sparks,
That's why we love Marx!
All video is actual Sesame Street footage.
All text and lyrics by Ariel Hudes.