Wednesday, May 16, 2007


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...!


  1. It's ok.. be a snob. Where culture and children are concerned we are not snobbish enough. Even for ourselves. Jerry Seinfeld is so funny, but there were so many people that didn't get the premise of his show.. to make fun of the rude, crude and selfish.. instead it seemed like society immitated it... completely missing the point. I worry that, that happens with kids far too much.
    The books that you mentioned are treasures. Those are books that teach gratitude, compassion and real wit. I think it would be wonderful if each child could discover those characters in the pages and in their own imagination. It's rare when a film can live up to that.

  2. Found you from Mental Tesserae.

    I hear what you are saying here. I married a man who loves movies and I love the books way better. I also want my girl to read the fun ones before she sees the movies. And the music.

    (I remember someone telling me that Copeland was selling beef and I didn't believe them. I hate that commercial. I've played the blasted thing and I hate it when they truncate songs to fit some lame commercial! But I digress!)

    (Actually, truncate is not exaclty the word I wanted there. It means to cut off the end of something and they don't do that with the songs. They just cut out the middle. Ew!)

    And so, I also listen to Gershwin and Copeland and Beethoven and whatever else happens to pop in to my mind, and try not to grit my teeth when my kids say "Hey! That's from ____!"

    I just read The Little Princess again. What a great book!

    Oh wow, this was lengthy. I should have just posted about it.

  3. I think I will join you in your snobbery!