I knew Copland before he promoted beef- It's what's for dinner. I danced in my living room to Gershwin before some airline claimed him to help us want to fly the friendly skies. I fell in love with Sara Crewe and Mary Lennox through the words of Frances Hodgson Burnett before they hit the silver screen. Since The Princess Bride came out as a movie when I was a teen, I didn't grow up automatically knowing, due to repeated home viewings, that Prince Humperdink was indeed a humperdink, so the reveal in the movie the first time I saw it was shocking to me!
I want my kids to have similar experiences. I want their first real exposure to stories and art and music to not have to come by way of the popular culture express. I want stories and movies that have a few twists and turns to be seen when my children are old enough to be able to get the Ah-ha! moment. Because I love those moments myself.
Granted, I will not be able to make sure my kids have read every book before they see the movie, or know every good piece of music before it hits the commercial circuit. That is perfectly okay. I did indeed see TPB before I read it. But I'd also like to make an effort to help them be familiar with the real-deal before they associate it with some chicken selling soap on T.V. in between the 7th and 8th innings of a baseball game.
Maybe it's silly. Maybe it's snobby. Maybe it's a little bit naive. But it's one of the reasons I pull out Rapsody in Blue and Rodeo and play them on the stereo, and why, even though I have DVD's of The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, I am not taking them out for viewing until the books have been read to or by my little girls. Bummer, they've already seen The Princess Bride. But maybe if I keep it away from them long enough, they'll forget that Humperdink is really not so great, and that Count Rugen has six fingers, and that the man in black is really...!