Today is the 51st birthday of Sesame Street. The show first aired on November 10, 1969.
As a child growing up in the 1970s, I occasionally watched Sesame Street (produced by Sesame Workshop). The Electric Company captured my interest much more, as did Captain Kangaroo, Land of the Lost, and re-runs of Lost in Space. I didn’t watch much TV though.
Before I proceed with my general grievances with Sesame Street, I just want to air my personal beef with the show — and with Elmo, in particular.
If you are a parent reading this, do you recall the first word your child(ren) spoke as an infant? Chances are, it was “Mama” or “Dada.” Sad to say, my daughter’s first word was “Elmo.” Yup. It’s actually very embarrassing for me to admit this. Twenty years ago, when my first child was born, we received, as a gift, a VHS tape of “Elmopalooza.” In my defense, a few of the songs were quite catchy — at least for that time (produced in 1998). Generally speaking, we did not watch much TV, but we did have a collection of VHS tapes, including the widely acclaimed and mass marketed “Baby Einstein” series — “Baby Mozart” and “Baby Bach.” Anyone remember those? Gosh knows what I was thinking. Needless to say, when my daughter gleefully said “Elmo” before uttering “Mama,” I was not enthralled. Triggered would be a bit strong. Nonetheless, it was a clear red flag, and within a few weeks, all vestiges of Elmo and Sesame Street were gone from our home. Subsequently, we removed all battery-operated and plastic toys. TV was nearly nonexistent.
Shortly after being personally “showed up” by Elmo, I purchased a book by Jane M. Healy called Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think And What We Can Do About It. Healy had her own bone to pick with the muppets and their seemingly sly antics and intentions. She described the show as a “manipulative sensory assault,” a “peripatetic carnival,” and a “cacophony of vignettes that change, literally, by the minute.” Healy elaborated, “Muppets, people, objects, cartoons, cascade inexorably — each scene arrestingly novel and removed both visually and contextually from the last.” She continued, “The worst thing about Sesame Street is that people believe it is educationally valuable. It stands as a symbol of ‘good’ programming, an institutionalized excuse for ‘boob tube’ as baby-sitter.” I sensed Healy was spot-on, and in fact, the only boob tube that should have been present in my daughter’s life at that time was me — I was a breastfeeding superstar! Healy had even harsher words, “If children tell us they ‘love’ Sesame Street, we should not decide it is ipso facto good for them; we should more likely be concerned about what has been done to their brains that enables them to tolerate — much less enjoy — it!” Healy considered the show “a serious travesty of the educational enterprise particularly because it has assumed the mission and garnered parents’ trust.” Well, those muppets lost my support, and I was no longer willing to compete with their “brain-grabbing” programming.
In terms of programming, my main contention with the show and its agitating slapstick-happy characters, is its seductive adeptness to capture and persuade young growing hearts and minds. Is it a coincidence that the co-founder of Sesame Workshop, Lloyd Morrisett, was an experimental psychologist, and the academic protegé of Carl Hovland? While at Yale in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, Hovland worked in “very important projects for the US military” and also for the Rockefeller Foundation. He was well known and highly respected for his work in studying persuasion, group dynamics, communication, and thought. Notably, during World War II, Hovland was recruited by the United States Department of Defense to supervise the soldier motivational training programs. He was greatly admired for his work in analyzing people’s resistance to changing their opinions and developing methods to overcome this. Oh, good on him, eh? That sounds like covert mind control to me.
The same year Sesame Street debuted, Morrisett became president of the Markle Foundation (a small nonprofit focused on medicine), where he concentrated on communications and information technology, as well as the development of simulation games. Interestingly, it is Morrisett who is known for coining the popularized term, “digital divide.”
It is helpful to see Morrisett’s business connections via this interactive map created by Alison McDowell of wrenchinthegears.com.
Since I don’t want to focus solely on Morrisett, I should probably mention very briefly the other co-founder of Sesame Workshop, Joan Ganz Cooney. How synchronous that reportedly her granddaughter’s first words were “Big Bird!” Looks like I am not the only one who has a daughter/granddaughter whose first words were the name of a Sesame Street character. I suppose it makes much more sense in her case.
Finally, I would like to discuss the current President of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, Sherri Rollins Westin.
According to her LinkedIn bio, Westin was Assistant to the President for Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs for President George H.W. Bush, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and held senior positions at the ABC Television Network and U.S. News & World Report. Westin currently serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and not surprisingly, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, in addition to serving on the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, and the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) Advisory Board.
In October 2020, Sherrie Westin glowingly spoke for 18 minutes about how this “pandemic” crisis has been an opportunity to completely overhaul the education system around the world: “The Great Reset: Resetting education with Sesame Street.” While most readers will notice both the nuanced and obvious reveals during this podcast sponsored by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it may be beneficial to listen to some vital commentary presented by educational researcher Lynne Taylor from https://www.commoncorediva.com. Taylor discusses in tandem with Tim Brown, author and editor at SonsOfLibertyMedia.com, crucial aspects surrounding the role of Sesame Street within the context of The Great Reset, in “The Muppet Propaganda Of The World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.” As openly disclosed in the dialogue between Taylor and Brown, their insights are framed within a Christian biblical world view. So that is something to keep in mind as you listen. While I do not subscribe to this particular perspective, I still resonate with most of the information presented, and I encourage readers to listen and absorb what resonates most with you. It is always a helpful cognitive exercise to continue to practice open-mindedness coupled with mental discernment (and old-fashioned gut instinct thrown in for good measure).
Before I mention a few takeaways from the WEF podcast featuring Westin, I remind readers that this global restructuring (The Great Reset) involves much more than transforming the economy and education, as evidenced by the WEF COVID-19 Strategic Intelligence transformation map.
My takeaways from Sherrie Westin’s presentation:
- As muppet, Grover, stated in the beginning of the podcast, they are “resetting the entire world.” He elatedly added that muppets have “learned to have video play time.”
- Westin emphasized that there is a huge digital divide (as coined by her Sesame Workshop predecessor Lloyd Morrisett). I perceive this as potential “code” for a need to get digital devices into the hands of all children around the world so as to digitally connect them to the “mainframe” to build out the prescribed Internet of Bodies.
- Westin stated, “We are being forced to think more digitally AND to research the outcomes.” She reiterated that they could not do this without data and proving impact. This “datafication” paradigm, as laid out clearly by Alison McDowell in her discussion, “The Data Harvesting Of Children From Cradle To Grave” from September 2020, is intended to reflect social impact markets in which all children are placed on the digital blockchain and turned into data commodities, for the purpose of behavioral engineering. For more detailed background information, read McDowell’s brilliant analysis, “The Brothers Grim: Bill and Mike’s Pandemic Panopticon.”
- In her own words, Westin admits the following about the role of Sesame Street and its muppet “role models”: “My theory is it’s like a Trojan horse. It’s not threatening . . . it’s a children’s show.” She added that it is “really about planting the seeds for societal change.”
So, let’s examine Elmo “planting seeds” in recent short video clips wherein he models “COVID-specific” messaging with respect to “COVID knowledge,” such as “resilience” and “health and hygiene” (as described by Westin in the aforementioned podcast from October 2020) . . .
Here is Elmo’s one-minute Back to School PSA produced in September 2020, in which he is wearing his face mask and raving about “learning at home”:
Here is an animated version of Elmo in March 2020 teaching children how to wash hands with his “Washy Wash” song:
This is not Elmo’s first stint when it comes to slapstick-styled persuasive (and potentially duplicitous) content on behalf of pharmaceutical and digital agendas. Here he is in 2015 with Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy peddling vaccinations, and of course, the accompanying germ model:
And here is Elmo with Dr. Murthy at Spotlight Health 2015, once again soliciting vaccines:
On this momentous day, I wish you a happy birthday, Sesame Street. Just know that you will not be receiving any gifts or fanfare from me this year.
And, to Elmo, you can continue to obsessively wash those muppet hands of yours, but I doubt it will wash away the globalist strings ostensibly attached to them. I want nothing to do with your world, nor your apparent world re-ordering aspirations. Please pass this message along to your technocratic muppet masters. Thank you.
For those who may consider this material to be light and fluffy given the muppet content, please make no mistake that these silly muppet mascots may have much more in store for the human population than what has been presented in this essay. One possible hint was revealed at “Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age – Session I. The Next Revolution in Learning” (hosted by Google in 2009). The relevant segment begins at the 19 minute, 43 second time stamp. Herein, our friendly muppet, Grover, jokes about how he can help teach kids new technology. Grover disclosed, “I think we could teach the children using iPhone . . . naps . . . it is easy, you can put lots of information on your iPhone, right? . . . Well, then you just have to take a nap with the iPhone next to your head and all that information in your phone will import directly into your sleepy little noggin . . . once I develop a USB port for the forehead, it will work like gangbusters.”
If readers think this is frivolous talk, I suggest listening to another Grover — Pulkit Grover (not a muppet), an assistant professor and researcher in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University — as he discusses brain-machine interface technology funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) in “Novel Strategies for Sensing and Stimulating the Brain Noninvasively and Precisely.” In 2019, Pulkit Grover and his research team received a $19.48 million grant to design a noninvasive neural interface that can be used as a wearable device. What a coincidence that this human Grover shares nearly the same intention as muppet Grover — to explore the union of control and communication by designing radically new neural interfaces. According to Pulkit Grover’s CV, he runs a neural sensing lab and gives live demonstrations of brain-machine interface games, and helped middle school students to build an app using brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). As one of six organizations to be awarded in DARPA’s “Next-Generation-Nonsurgical-Neurotechnology” (N3) program, Grover’s team aims to develop high-performance, bidirectional information flow. The multidisciplinary team’s interface is being developed by harnessing concepts in physics, biology, and engineering through electricity, ultrasound and light. But I am sure there is nothing to see here, right? I suppose I could just put my “sleepy little noggin” to rest . . .
References for Further Reading: