Journalism for the Masses

I do not care for puppets. Even as a child I found them to be at best moderately amusing, but mostly just weird. Mr Rogers’ puppets in particular, so as to seem normal in his neighborhood, were curiously creepy. Even the subtle condescension in his own voice and manner gave the impression that Mr Rogers was addressing insane and potentially violent viewers rather than very young children. As I was being raised to see any and all strangers as potential threats, his opiate personality were unsettling and suspect.

In later years, I experienced the other end of puppetry, kneeling behind a puppet stage, arm raised over the edge with a googly-eyed puppet on my hand. As an evangelical enabler, part of my missionary position involved performing puppet shows for the poor dumb kids whose sadistic parents dragged them to church every Sunday. My puppet was a felt flower with the insipid name, Flower. I don’t have the scripts of any of those charming morality plays (many of which I helped author), but I know they were funny as hell.

As an adult I can now appreciate, if not always the humor, at least the skill required to manipulate a puppet well. That isn’t my point in exposing this shocking puppet exposé. The point is, there is an Ohio-based television station that is using puppets to get the news to the people. As stated in what I hope will be an award-winning article by Thomas J. Sheeran, “…a television station barred from using cameras during a high-profile corruption trial covers the highlights with a nightly puppet show. It stars a talking squirrel ‘reporter’…”. That Mr Sheeran felt the need to put “reporter” in quotations gives you some idea of his “take” on the story.

Courtroom Puppetry

I can only say that combining news or “gossip” with puppetry is simply brilliant. Not only are WOIO and it’s sister station WUAB Job Creators, have stumbled upon a so-crazy-it-just-might-work method for propagating “information” to the people of Ohio. Information that, sadly, they would be unable to process using yesterday’s news methods. Of course, the real credit goes to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert who have succeeded in making humor a necessary part of a healthy information digestive system. Kudos.[1]

Of course, this will put even more pressure on Sesame Street, which is already under pressure from the Society That Undermines Philanthropy Intelligence and Dedication (STUPID) to make learning more fun and less educational. I think we can all agree that the goal is within reach. It’s only a matter of time until the news is animated by Koreans and directed by Matt Groening.

Until that day, remember, while corporations may be people, puppets are tools like most other members of the media. Tools we can use to shape a tomorrow that is easier to digest.


[1] In your face Colbert! I mocked it first! How does it feel when the puppet master is not you, but a MILF in New Jersey? Well, not fromNew Jersey, I was born in California and moved here about ten years ago, so technically… Nevermind! You have just been puppet-powned.

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