Day 26 – Hidden Messages

Growing up I didn’t have cable so I missed out on a lot of cartoons everyone else got to enjoy: Rugrats, Ah! Real Monsters, Ren and Stimpy, Hey Arnold!, Jimmy Neutron, and Sponge Bob. I had to entertain myself the old fashioned way: a hoop and a stick and a library card. Now that I’m older, and came into a hefty amount of free time and streaming services, I began re-watching some of these cartoons with my wife. The one we are currently watching is Sponge Bob Square Pants. If you don’t know Sponge Bob, it follows the follies of a sponge and his best friend, a starfish, named Patrick. Sponge Bob works at a fast food restaurant called The Krusty Krab.

After a few episodes in, I’ve noticed some particularly startling things. The manager of the restaurant, Mr. Krab, forces his employees to work for low pay and increasingly long hours. He sometimes forces his employees to work jeopardizing their health in the name of profit. One might think that this is merely just mimicking real life, which it is, but there is another crucial correlation to the mindset of the youth who watched this cartoon growing up and their current political views.

An overwhelming majority of Millennials and Gen-Z support presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialism. They support the right to unionize (standing up to abusive bosses like Mr. Krabs) and believe things like tuition free schooling, rent control, universal healthcare, equality, and that humans cause climate change (much like Bikini Bottom in Sponge Bob was caused due to nuclear testing during WW2). Maybe my brain has been quarantined for too long or maybe… maybe this all makes perfect sense! Anyways, regardless of hidden messages, the jokes on Sponge Bob are top notch and I highly recommend it if you’ve never seen it. Or maybe… maybe I’ve been quarantined for too long. *Insert Sponge Bob meme here*

4 thoughts on “Day 26 – Hidden Messages

  1. It’s interesting to consider what kinds of messages transcend time as kids grow up. For me, I watched Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and then later Scooby Doo.

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  2. In that same vein, my son is drawn to older cartoons: Looney Tunes, Pink Panther, Tom and Jerry. I have forgotten some of the wonderful wit from those shows, but I’m so startled at the blatant racism that I digested through my favorite cartoons growing up without knowing it. Makes for some good teachable moments between me and my son, but, man, I’m floored by it.

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  3. Now you have the tome to catch up on the cartoons you missed. I never watched them as a kid and I can’t watch them now as they seem to “loud” for me. I can’t explain it any better.

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