Rastamouse scare! Why do people have to make a good ting bad?

The clear moral of the Rastamouse series is “how to make a bad ting good”. Judging by the online and newspaper artificial “storm in a mouse trap” debate, it’s clear some people are hell bent on making a “good ting bad.”

I understand and respect to an extent the concerns of those questioning the portrayal of a Rastafarian mouse. However I do feel this is taking things a tad too seriously. Remember, this show is aimed at the Under 6’s (though I must admit I do quite like it and I’m some way past my 6th birthday)! Children will not understand that Rastafarianism is a religion. I doubt many grown up’s realise that and fully understand what it means. If you don’t, read up on it and turn a lack of knowledge into a good learning thing.

The ‘Easycrew’ characters are pretty cool, positive characters, with the odd bad apple thrown in too. They are, through intelligent and creative thinking, usually quickly caught and shown the errors of their ways. They are remorseful and interestingly and what’s made the show a hit, rather than being punished, are made to turn a “bad ting good.” Brilliant. Just as pleasing, it’s British made and created. Perhaps we should recommend this to the Home Secretary. With prison’s overcrowded and Big Society the flavour of the month, there are lessons to be learned here … Then again, it might just be that the writers have adapted the principles behind community service into writing the show and the books behind the series.

State of children’s TV – Baroness Floella Benjamin

One thing the debate does serve to highlight is the paucity of good children’s programmes on TV and the on-going crisis, as Lady Floella Benjamin no less describes it, in the production and quality of public service broadcasting for children. During a House of Lords debate in January, on “the role of good early parenting in preparing a child for success in school,” Baroness Floella Benjamim, told peers:

“Appropriate children’s television is beneficial to childhood development. It can improve attention, expressive language, comprehension, articulation, general knowledge as well as social interaction and life skills. I ask the government to find creative ways of funding to maintain the traditional well-made British pre-school programmes which contain all the necessary and essential elements required for our children’s well-being. Well-made shows could help parents to “develop educational and stimulating techniques to use when interacting with their children”. Play School was remembered “fondly” because the producer “put children’s well-being at the heart of the programme”, she said.

I do not know Floella’s views on this show, but I hope she likes it as I consider this a well made show, putting children and positive messages at the heart of the show.

Perhaps those angry with this show should consider directing their ire more widely across the general state of children’s programming and not just focus on one show they happen to disagree with. Furthermore, aside from issues of children’s programming, I really do think there are much more serious campaigns for “big people dem” to be getting worked up about. For instance, there are two campaigns currently running to reduce the Airport Departure tax band for air travel to Africa and the Caribbean. I’m aware of cases where the tax on flights exceeds the value of the ticket !! That can’t be right.
Similarly EU legislation due to come into effect on 1st May will prohibit the sale of natural herbal remedies which have served African, Caribbean and many others well over centuries, some even proving to be a cure for cancer. Yes, you read that right, cancer. Yet EU legislation will more than likely prevent the export and import of these products into Europe. The ACLT have struggled to stay alive due to funding. The 100 Black Men of London, celebrate 10 years this year, but require resources, financial and personnel wise in terms of volunteers and Mentors to develop and continue to serve the young people of London. People, forget about the mouse, there are real life and death issues to get worked up about.
Further information on all of these campaigns can be found on the campaign corner page of www.tiemo.co.uk

© Tiemo Talk of the Town, 2nd March 2011

This article was published on the Evening  Standard, OBV and The Voice websites.

Tiemo is an educational body that exists to stimulate debate.

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