Today I read that Disney is offering a refund to people who bought the "Baby Einstein" videos, and it's being called "an acknowledgment that baby videos are not educational." Well, duh.
And when I say "duh," I do not mean "duh, everyone knows Baby Einstein videos are just baby Prozac, and lazy parents use them as an electronic babysitter." I mean "duh, of course a video alone is not educational for a baby." But that doesn't mean they're a bad thing.
We bought our first Baby Einstein video back in the days of VHS, believe it or not - it was Baby Mozart, the original, and probably best, of the bunch. Boo loved it. We also bought Baby Bach, but it wasn't as good, and our Baby Einsteining ended there. By the time we bought our videos, the Baby Einstein producers (this was before they were assimilated by the Disney Empire) were no longer touting the claim that listening to classical music would increase intelligence. But you know what? Boo and I had a lot of fun with that video. We always watched it together. As soon as she heard the music, she was ready to sit in my lap. I'd explain what she was seeing on the screen - "look, the train is going to go through the tunnel!" She was exposed to shapes and colors. She said "blah!" back at the puppet. She didn't sit there slack-jawed, staring at the screen - we interacted with that video together. She giggled and pointed and sang. I thought it was a wonderful resource. It bothers me to hear people dismiss it as worthless, let alone bad.
Unfortunately, I know the kid watches too much television today. We have limited her TV viewing on weekdays to either before or after dinner, which means she can still potentially watch 2 hours of television a night. And that's too much. (Also, she and I like many of the same shows, so it means I can't watch TV before dinner either, which kind of sucks.) And we are probably too permissive in her TV viewing, as we let her watch things like The Simpsons, FlashForward, and America's Most Amazing Police Videos and Stupid Crooks Caught on Tape or whatever those shows are called. Of course, they offer a lot of teachable moments. ("Wow, Homer did something stupid and now he's in a jam. "Look what happens when you try to lie to the police." Etc.) I wonder if it would be a good idea to insist Boo sit in my lap again, and we can interact with her shows together. "Ooooh, look! The fugitive in the stolen car is going to go through the plate glass window!"
And on a mostly unrelated note, director Paul Haggis has left the "church" of Scientology because of their stance on gay marriage. So he doesn't have a problem with the whole aliens thing. He doesn't mind that Scientology was founded by a man who said if you want to make a lot of money, you should form a religion. No, those are fine. It's just the gay marriage thing that he has issues with. Well, as long as you have standards.
(BTW, I'm not mocking him for wanting to support gay marriage. I support it, wholeheartedly, myself. I'm mocking him for being willing to accept the rest of the BS and drawing the line here.)
(Also, Haggis is kind of an unfortunate name, isn't it?)