If you unplug on the weekends and don’t pay attention to the insanity that is political social media, you may have woken up this morning shocked to discover that Sesame Street has entered the vaccine debate. I wish this were a topic I hadn’t come across, but I did. And now we must talk about it.
As my colleague Mike Miller pointed out, this has really sent the debate to new and dizzying heights.
CNN teamed up this morning with Sesame Street for a COVID vaccine “town hall” to convince 5-to-11-year-olds and their parents to get the young children vaccinated.
Big Bird, portrayed as a 6-year-old, is urged to get vaccinated, and he does at the end of the special. A taste: pic.twitter.com/hlSY04w6om
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) November 6, 2021
I think the first thing that has to be addressed is the fact that there is no way he can be portrayed as 6 years old. Big Bird debuted on Sesame Street in 1969, making him approximately 52 years old – still 13 years out of the highest-risk category for COVID-19. Although, that is a long time for a bird. Are bird years like dog years?
…Apparently, there is a calculator for this. According to it, 52 bird years is the equivalent of 472 human years. That’s a little over half of Adam’s lifespan in the Bible. Big Bird has seen some things. How does he live so long? Does he work out? Take his vitamins? Get his annual bird flu shot?
Wait, that last one may be a “Yes.” Big Bird tweeted out he had been getting vaccines since he was a “little bird.”
As an aside, are hallucinations a recorded side effect of the vaccine? We spotted Big Bird talking to his imaginary friend, Mr. Snuffeupagus, again.
Sorry. Got distracted. Back to the subject.
Anyway, Big Bird got vaccinated at the end of that little television special, and of course the Internet – which is made up almost entirely of people who are not Sesame Street’s target audience – lost its mind over it.
I… can’t bring myself to be terribly outraged, though. Like I said, Sesame Street’s target audience doesn’t use Twitter and CNN barely has an audience at all. Most of you reading this have gotten vaccinated but don’t believe in the need for the government to mandate it, or you are hesitant about the vaccine for myriad reasons. Regardless of your vaccine status or feelings about the vaccine, though, it is very unlikely that as adults you are going to be impacted by what Sesame Street is pushing here.
Your bigger worry, though, may be for your kids, but at the end of the day, if they’re watching Sesame Street then they are under 18 and your consent is still required for them to be vaccinated. What’s more, you as parents spend far more time with your kids than your television screens do (hopefully), so talking with your kids and explaining to them why they aren’t vaccinated is important.
I think it is a far sadder commentary on society that the Big Bird had to be called in and they went with CNN of all places to air this special. CNN can’t get adults to watch their network, much less kids. And CNN has an audience that is primarily pro-vaccine already, so the idea that this would convince anyone is just absurd. It would have been more effective if they’d dropped this video on SnapChat and run with it there. It might have been effective at something other than making Twitter angry.
…Which, to be fair, is pretty easy to do anyway.