I think I might be channeling the curmudgeony spirit of Andy Rooney. It's a phase, and I'll be back to my happy-go-lucky self in no time. But while I'm feeling particularly disappointed today by a homework assignment, I thought, "Why not blog about it?"
Sammi and the entire fifth grade class is preparing to spend a day at Biz Town next week. Biz Town is a very cool local interactive exhibit where kids get to act out business and job-related roles. Sammi and her friends are totally psyched about this field trip, and in preparation, the class is learning about jobs, taxes, and expenses, and economics-lite. The kids have special homework assignments that digress from the usual. Today's assignment was to watch television, find 8 good commercials and write the reason why you like them. The class had discussed some of the properties that constitute a good ad.
Sammi started watching TV at 6:30 and by 9:00 had managed to write down 7 examples that were likeable. Besides the ad for a cellphone with a 3D camera, it was hard for her to articulate why she actually liked the ads. She liked the Hershey ad because she loves chocolate, and the pizza ad pleased her in the same way. Perhaps she was used to clicking the "like" button on Facebook -- an easy to express opinion that requires no comment.
Early on in her assignment, I asked, "Can you write down commercials that you do not like and explain why?" "No," she told me pointing to the form that provided a 3 1/2" L x 1/2" H "like" space for writing her reason. I said, "But I bet you could as long as you explain yourself." She didn't agree.
I took a shower, and found myself getting more pissed at the assignment. Was I over-reacting or was it narrow-minded to only ask kids why they liked ads? It wasn't like it was even the Superbowl or Oscars. As the holidays approach with ads for all the things we fake need, I would be much more interested in tapping into a healthy dose of budding skepticism.