Monday, April 20, 2009

Pop Culture Sponge

“Look Daddy, there’s Diego!” the Bean said pointing to a poster of that animated hyperactive kid who’s the cousin of that other animated hyperactive kid. Last month, he called out Tinkerbell by name from an ad in the mall. Before that, he correctly ID’d Spongebob on a box of cereal in them supermarket. I have no idea how he knows these characters. They do not have a presence in my house.

It should come as no surprise to you that growing up I was a TV junkie. It was commonplace for me to zone out in front of the big glowing box for hours, literally tuning out the rest of the world. It got so bad that my parents not only had to limit my TV viewing time, but they locked me out of the house to insure that I would get some fresh air. It’s very likely that my son has inherited my Geek Boy genes, but I’d always figured that I had plenty of time before they kicked in and he’s ignoring me while bathed in the glorious glow of an HD signal. So WonderWife™ and I are very careful to limit the amount of time we plop the kid in front of the set. As a result, his exposure to pop culture is limited to Yo Gabba Gabba, Curious George and a handful of Pixar movies. But I guess nature finds a way and my son’s heritage is poking through.

The Bean’s ability to absorb pop culture is astounding. He was only exposed to Elmo for an instant and he was easily able to identify him a week later, unprompted. After a single trip to Disneyland, the Bean could recognize Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald, even though we only encountered two of them in the park. He was even able to name a minor character like Daisy Duck. How did that happen? I must admit that some pop culture he knows because of me. How else would he be able to point out Homer Simpson? And he knows that the red-suited hero on his scooter is Spider Man.

But for the most part, the Bean is a pop culture sponge. And he’s soaking up more every day. I have to admit that a part of me is quite impressed that he's becoming like me. The other part is worried that he's becoming like me.


Vancetastic said...

I think it's probably as miraculous and mysterious as how they learn words. Then again, there was that time I babysat for your son and we watched 13 straight episodes of Spongebob.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Hey if he get to watch a LITTLE might want to at least allow him Diego...Yo Gabba Gabba?

Poor poor soul! lol!

It's okay if the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! :)

ZenMom said...

I am constantly amazed at the things my 4-year-old knows about cartoons and such that we specifically do not watch.

"Sponge" is exactly right ... give them a half-second exposure and they've soaked it up.

I'm a little (okay, a lot) wary of what kinds of things he will start absorbing when he starts kindergarten in the fall! eek!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Vance...Actually tried to watch Spongebob with the kid yesterday and he said he didn't like it.

Shelle...He does watch Yo Gabba Gabba. I actually pushed him towards that one since it looked like a show that I would dig also. I do and he does.

Zen...You will have to share stories with me. I'm a little scared of the future.

SciFi Dad said...

I'm not disagreeing with your sponge theory, although you have to realize that companies spent millions designing those characters so that kids would instantly connect and recognize them. Hell... my daughter can pick out R2D2 and has never seen the movie or the cartoon (you know you remember Droids).

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

He knows Homer Simpson, that's a riot. Kids find ways to know just about anything these days. I always said I wouldn't let my kids watch tv or get caught up in the Disney Princess nonsense.
Yeah, I'm going really good there!
The radio, whatever they see outside the window in the car, their friends, they get influenced by everything and they just suck it all right up.

Thanks for popping by my blog and for following :)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Andrea...well, the Homer Simpson is my fault. But it was from a billboard and one of my t-shirts and not cause I'm sticking the kid in front of "The Simpsons." At least not yet.