The other day found me watching a kids’ TV show with Granddaughter. Not an uncommon activity. On the whole kids’ TV is politically correct but not aggressively so. It usually washes over me but one particular episode caught my attention for some reason.
The show was a typical CGI confection with two little girls drawing a picture of a horse. One drew a bog standard brown horse and the other a pink horse. I’ll call those girls Brownie and Pinkie. The third little girl was the heroine of the series – I’ll call her Goody.
When the drawings were finished Brownie pointed out to Pinkie that horses aren’t pink. She didn’t do this aggressively but in a fairly mild “my horse is better than yours” sense. Well it was better but unfortunately this upset Pinkie so Goody intervened to point out that Brownie’s criticism had made Pinkie sad. This is a bad thing to do was the suggestion. In fact it was the point of the whole episode.
One was left with the notion that pointing out factual mistakes could make a person sad and that won’t do – it is tantamount to abuse. Brownie should have suggested that pink horses don’t quite exist but they jolly well ought to because they are such a vibrant improvement on the boring brown variety.
One might say that this tiny fragment of modern life teaches kids the virtue of kindness which it does, but why did Brownie have to be factually correct? One is left with the assumption that factual accuracy is not a mitigating factor when a person adopts a superior position. To display knowledge is to adopt a superior position and that's bad. Unless it is superior political knowledge presumably.
Kindness is good and promoting it is good but somehow the modern world has become adept at tacking on ulterior messages. The message here is that facts are liable to get you into all sorts of trouble and must be imparted with kindness or not imparted at all. A world beyond facts is okay too – that’s the other ulterior message.