The Imaginative Universal

Studies in Virtual Phenomenology -- @jamesashley

PBS Sprout and The Hated

June 20
by James Ashley 20. June 2008 18:58

caillou bob

So this is how I start the day when I work from home.  I wake up at 5 in the morning, after which I have about 3 hours before anyone else is up.  At 8, the kids start filtering down from upstairs, so I turn PBS Sprout on for them and move from the living room to my office.  PBS Sprout is PBS's lineup of children's shows, and our cable provider gives us On Demand access to the episodes, which allows the kids to watch their shows without commercials (oh yes, PBS does have commercials).  My children (at least the youngest) has a fondness for a bald toddler named Caillou.  According to the official site, "the Caillou website and television series features everyday experiences and events that resonate with all children."   I think most parents find him a bit disturbing -- but not as disturbing as Teletubbies, of course.

Before Caillou came on today there was a brief intro for PBS Sprout, and in the background was an interesting rendition of Bob Marley's Three Little Birds which brought back a flood of memories.  The version of the song played by PBS Sprout is by Elizabeth Mitchell.  No, not that Elizabeth Mitchell.  This Elizabeth Mitchell.

Elizabeth Mitchell is married to Daniel Littleton, and in fact Daniel and their son perform on that particular Marley track.  Dan Littleton, in turn, used to play in a punk rock band in Annapolis, Maryland where I went to college.  For my first few years on campus, I used to find chalk drawings all over the sidewalks of Annapolis of The Hated without knowing what it meant.  Then Dan Littleton ended up going to my college (he was a faculty brat, after all) and it all became clear.

Not only that, but I used to hang out with Mark Fisher, who had played guitar and vocals for The Hated, though by the time I met him he was wearing tweed jackets and translating Greek (I think I did the Philoctetes with him), so I never suspected.

And mutatis mutandis, now not only has Bob Marley been gentrified for daytime cartoons, but the founder of The Hated has helped to make it possible.  Is this what middle-age feels like? 

Hear for yourself.

Bob Marley and the Wailers 

Elizabeth Mitchell and family

Tags:

Theater of Memory

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