Quote of the Week:

"He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot)

Drop me a line if you want to be notified of new posts to SiTG:

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!
My site was nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger!

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Woodlief. Make your own badge here.

The Best of Sand:

The Blog
Greatest Hits
DVD Reviews
Faith and Life
Judo Chops
The Literate Life
News by Osmosis
The Problem with Libertarians
Snapshots of Life
The Sermons

Creative Commons License
All work on this site and its subdirectories is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Search the Site:

Me Out There:

Free Christmas
Don't Suffer the Little Children
Boys to Men
A Father's Dream
WORLD webzine posts

Not Non-Fiction
The Grace I Know
Coming Apart
My Christmas Story

The Craft:

CCM Magazine
Charis Connection
Faith in Fiction
Grassroots Music

Favorite Journals:

Atlantic Monthly
Doorknobs & Bodypaint
Image Journal
Infuze Magazine
Missouri Review
New Pantagruel
Southern Review

Blogs I Dig:

Education & Edification:

Arts & Letters Daily
Bill of Rights Institute
Junk Science
U.S. Constitution

It's good to be open-minded. It's better to be right:

Stand Athwart History
WSJ Opinion


Home School Legal Defense
Institute for Justice
Local Pregnancy Crisis
Mission Aviation
Prison Ministries
Russian Seminary
Unmet Needs


Cox & Forkum
Day by Day

Donors Hall of Fame

Susanna Cornett
Joe Drbohlav
Anthony Farella
Amanda Frazier
Michael Heaney
Don Howard
Laurence Simon
The Timekeeper
Rob Long
Paul Seyferth

My Amazon.com Wish List

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Coming Soon to a Corner Near You

I suppose it had to happen eventually, given the aggressive trend to stamp a corporate logo on everything mobile or inert. Forget spending millions to name a sports arena after your company. An advertising firm in Denver has discovered a hot new niche: signs for the homeless. The company handed out signs to local street people emblazoned with its logo and slogans like "At Least I'm Not Spamming Your E-Mail." The company doesn't pay them to hold up the signs; apparently the signs' ability to attract additional handouts is payment enough.

The local homelessness activists are, predictably, upset about outsiders moving in on their self-proclaimed turf. They have only themselves to blame for not exploiting this gold mine sooner. They look at a homeless man and see more open sores to be wept self-righteously over; an advertising guru looks at the same man and thinks: "potential cognitive bandwidth."

It's all about perspective, you know?

posted by Woodlief | link | (0)

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Vegetable Sex

It's not what you think. I'm using the word "sex" here in the way it was used before Women's Studies hysterics began insisting that we replace it with the word "gender," in order to signal that the side of the gym one chooses at the school dance is at root socially determined. Anyone with common sense and/or children knows that sex is biologically determined, however, despite the fact that many of the Women's Studies majors I've known explore the biological perimeters of sexual designation.

My aim today, however, is not to pick a fight with the gyno-marxists. Instead I want to defend one of my favorite cartoons: "VeggieTales." For those of you who haven't heard about them, VeggieTales depict a collection of endearing computer-animated vegetable characters acting out various stories, many directly from the Bible. The slogan of the VeggieTales creators is "Sunday morning values, Saturday morning fun." Despite the Sunday reference, Jews needn't feel left out; the vast majority of the Biblical stories are drawn from the Old Testament, and the theistic references are to God, not Jesus. One of my favorites, for example, is "Josh and the Big Wall," which recounts the story of the fall of Jericho. In the VeggieTales version, Larry the Cucumber plays Joshua, and the French Peas (yes, they have French accents) play the guardians of Jericho. Their taunting of Larry (they call him a pickle, which in their accent comes out "pee-kel") is derivative of the hilarious scene in Monty Python's "Quest for the Holy Grail," and just as funny. Other characters include Bob the Tomato, Junior Asparagus, and a host of episode-specific creatures (e.g., one tale features the Grapes of Wrath).

The creators were brilliant in that they didn't adopt the marketing plan of most producers of Christian and Christianesque items, which is to churn out third-rate products and market them at exclusively Christian outlets. Instead, they developed a top-quality product and marketed it through mass retail outlets, without making ostentatious appeals to the religion of prospective buyers. The result is 25 million videos sold in eight years.

Now, I'm sure there are some atheist libertarian designers out there, irritated by the religious message of VeggieTales, working busily to develop an Ayn Rand-approved secular version. Until then the militants among them will have to be content with forcing their children to watch old bootleg Robert Lefevre videos. Most people not threatened by moral messages rooted in appeals to God's authority, however, find in VeggieTales a great alternative to the ADD-inducing techno-static that passes for children's cartoons (notwithstanding the cool stuff coming out of Pixar and Blue Sky Studio).

Of course, there are exceptions. And that brings me to the purpose I had when I began composing this essay. I read this weekend an article recounting the dramatic success of VeggieTales, which featured this comment from a disgruntled professor at Michigan's Calvin College, one Dr. Otto Selles:

"VeggieTales are sorely lacking in the gender equity department. They present vegetable characters that are mostly guys..."

Right. Somehow children have been able for centuries to draw moral lessons from characters outside their species (remember Aesop's Fables?), but the sex divide is too great a chasm to cross. Little Susie can learn that it's wrong to lie from a vegetable, mind you, so long as it has a vagina.

Perhaps the dear professor's concern is that, seeing only male characters in VeggieTales, legions of young girls will not properly aspire to themselves become vegetables. Wise parents, however, can counteract this bias; we can explain to our children that being a vegetable is not strictly the purview of males, although professors at Calvin College appear to have an edge on the rest of us.

posted by Woodlief | link | (0)