Don’t mess with big bird

Charles Blow, NY Times op-ed columnist, on Romney’s plans to cut PBS:

And, for me, it’s bigger than Big Bird. It’s almost impossible to overstate how instrumental PBS has been in my development and instruction.

We were poor. My mother couldn’t afford day care, and I didn’t go to preschool. My great-uncle took care of me all day. I could watch one hour of television: PBS.

When I was preparing for college and took the ACT, there were harder reading passages toward the back of the test. Many had scientific themes — themes we hadn’t covered at my tiny high school in my rural town. But I could follow the passages’ meanings because I had watched innumerable nature shows on PBS.

I never went to art or design school. In college, I was an English major before switching to mass communications. Still, I went on to become the design director of The New York Times and the art director of National Geographic magazine.

That was, in part, because I had a natural gift for it (thanks mom and dad and whatever gods there may be), but it’s also because I spent endless hours watching art programs on PBS. (Bob Ross, with his awesome Afro, snow-capped mountains and “magic white,” will live on forever in my memory.)

I don’t really expect Mitt Romney to understand the value of something like PBS to people, like me, who grew up in poor, rural areas and went to small schools. These are places with no museums or preschools or after-school educational programs. There wasn’t money for travel or to pay tutors.

I honestly don’t know where I would be in the world without PBS.


3 thoughts on “Don’t mess with big bird

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