Monday, November 15, 2021

Speaking Of Indoctrination

The Board of Directors was excited when we arrived at the doctor's office because there, on the edge of the reception window, was a row of small figurines.

"Look! Paw Patrol!" they said happily. 

The thing is, we don't watch Paw Patrol. We barely watch tv at all, and what we watch is streamed ad free. And yet somehow, we know Paw Patrol. I've been through this before. My older children also rarely watched tv, and yet they knew who the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were. 

If you want to talk about indoctrinating children, let's talk about the hugely effective world of marketing. So effective that products leak through to children who don't even directly engage with the product or the typical marketing channels. Let's talk about how much money Coke, Pepsi, and the US Army spend to make themselves omnipresent in schools all across the country. Or even how parents themselves often slide into letting their kiddos get in on the latest cool cultural thing (just how many children watched the ultra-violent Squid Games). 

What all of these various indoctrinatin' influences have in common is that they are massive, well-financed, and coordinated so that the influence is coming at children (and adults, for that matter) from a hundred different directions, including both old media and new. 

Perhaps that's why folks who worry about indoctrination in schools like to imagine this vast web of communist teachers all connected and coordinated, a notion that is, to anyone who has actually worked with teachers, hilarious. Teachers did not agree on which candidate to support for President, or much of any other office. I suspect you'd be hard pressed to find a school building in this country in which all the staff agree on vaccinations or masking. And there is not a union local president in this country who would forcefully argue that union leadership is not at all like herding cats.

But sure-- some folks should go ahead and rail against a massive indoctrination conspiracy where none exists, while at the same time ignoring the ways a giant marketing machine tells your kids what they need to eat and drink and watch and buy to be happy. 


  1. Exactly. I just heard that a district was banning the book "Handmaids Tale" from their school libraries. All I could thank was "all the students have already watched the much more graphic version on Hulu."

  2. So glad that Toni Morrison’s books are causing such hysteria at school board meetings with the book banning crowd. Now, more people will read them. Censorship always fails in the end. High school students can handle this material and people need to chill.