Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, October 15, 2012

The true value of PBS

We've all heard a lot of talk about federal funding for PBS lately and how some people think it's in our best financial interest to cut it off. I won't get into the big numbers,other than to say this;yes, Sesame Street alone makes a good amount of money but that only covers that show's costs,period.

Just because one series does well on a network,that doesn't mean that program can or should pay for every other show on the company's roster. Granted,no one is outright suggesting that Sesame Street should do that but the there is an underlying implication that it's success is a sign that the rest of the PBS line-up doesn't need any of our support.

I say it does,not for any political based reasons but for the simple fact that it's presence is a boon to public education. Much like our public libraries(which are also under attack by those looking to slash funds from places that don't appear to directly affect their interests),public television was meant to be a resource for folks to tap into as a way to better improve the education of their children and themselves.

Despite what the nay-sayers claim,PBS does encourage kids to think and learn both before and after entering the school system with smartly savvy shows that treat their audience with more respect and intelligence that some of the stuff aimed at adults these days:

This isn't a "for the sake of the children" argument here,PBS is also beneficial to grown-ups as well. Whether they watch Downton Abbey,American Masters or Antiques Roadshow,knowledge about subjects such as art,history,science and literature are given in an entertaining fashion that enriches the minds of even the casual viewer.

It's particularly useful to those older folk looking to further their education and/or improve their skill set. With the ups and downs of our economic times as turbulent as they are and probably will be for some time to come,this resource is more important that ever. Even if it is only to help someone sing a better song in life,the cost is well worth it:

They say knowledge is power,which is why some may feel threatened by the existence of PBS. While I don't agree with every opinion put forth on that network,that's part of the price you pay for freedom of speech and thought in a democracy.

Once upon a time,the notion that exposure to art and education at any age was good for a person's full development was a popular one.

Perhaps,it's become old fashioned in our high tech digital world to want to explore old books and paintings but the very reason that we've become as advanced as we are is due to people simply putting their minds to learn as much as they could about the past in order to improve our present and future.

In my opinion,it can also make for better citizens by having a more informed understanding of what goes on in public office. Not to mention being able to appreciate the benefits of our free society all the more by knowing what went into creating this bastion of free expression in the first place. Many people may feel overwhelmed by the language and amounts of facts involved,which is why an accessible forum like PBS is vital to encouraging their interest in learning:

Of course,it's not enough just to expand your mind,your empathy for others along with the motivation to help them out however you can is what truly makes for a better person. This combination of head and heart is what brings forth those in our world who mark their mark in a positive way and some of those exceptionable people were the pioneers that brought PBS to the airwaves.

From Reading Rainbow to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,those few folk who endeavored to make our viewing realm a little bit brighter are still beloved even by those who seeking to limit the funding for future great shows that follow in their video footsteps.

Hopefully,regardless of how this upcoming electoral cycle turns out,the people in power will reconsider this effort to deprive our nation of such a fundamental force for good in our lives. I think they might,mainly because they want to be considered good neighbors as they and their children were taught to by a very wise man who made PBS what it is today and with any luck,tomorrow as well:

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