Friday, January 27, 2006

Mommymatic wants to know: Why all the hate for B.E.?

I’m talking about Baby Einstein. I’ve seen sneers at these ubiquitous DVDs on several blogs/websites (I was actually going to say “I’ve heard people dissing on Baby Einstein,” but then you’d wanna know where and I’d have to admit that it was online somewhere, like 90% of all conversations I have about motherhood. *sigh*). And I wanna know—what up with that? If you’re a hater, I want to know why. I can’t imagine parenting without them, but maybe 30 minutes of peace is vastly outweighed by some other side effect of which I’m unaware. I’m guessing it’s one of the following reasons:

  1. Baby Einstein videos are hideously boring for adults. This is true. Seriously. The first time I watched one, I almost lasped into a coma. No funny literary references for the grownups watching like the ones in Veggie Tales or Sesame Street, but then, my son is entertained by taking the lid on and off an empty Gerber puffs container for an hour, so I suspect we have different standards for how to define ‘entertainment.’

  2. Babies shouldn’t watch TV. I could almost buy this reason, but most of the people saying this are as bad as me when it comes to watching copious amounts of TV. It’s educational at its best and brain candy at its worst. But almost all of us do it—why not babies? When do they get a break from all the learning, chattering, crying, diaper changing, eating and pooping work they do? When is it their turn to have some me-time?

  3. Baby Einstein won’t make your baby smarter. I’m sure this is true, despite what Disney might say to the contrary. But many babies do seem entertained by it, and if they learn the word MOON! and how to count from 1 to 10 in Hebrew while they’re at it, well, then, no harm, no foul.

  4. Disney just wants to get kids addicted to its movies so they can scam money off them in the future. This is undoubtedly true. If they get together with the Coca-cola people and the Target people, I am so screwed. I might, as my friend Jessica once suggested, just as well just start automatically handing over a $100 bill whenever I walk into Target. But seriously, a lot of people really hate Disney for a variety of really good reasons: they make over classic tales in horribly sanitized, often culturally inappropriate and sexist ways, and they have money coming out of their bellybuttons from it. But then, the Southern Baptists hate Disney, and that’s often reason enough for me to find an organization one that I can get behind.

  5. The music on Baby Einstein videos would make a man ashamed to admit his name was Wolfgang. I don’t love the plinky music-box vibes, I’ll admit it. However, I do feel kinda smart when I’m humming something and someone says, “Hey, why’re you singing ‘The Bear Went over the Mountain?’” and I can say “Actually, it’s a selection from Beethoven’s ‘Wellington’s Victory.’ I just heard it somewhere recently.” And smile smugly. Of course, I have never actually done this. But I could.

So, if one of the reasons above is why you hate B.E., ‘fess up. Or give me one I haven’t thought of yet. Or tell me you love it, too. Mommymatic wants to know!