September 6, 2006

The first lesson is never trust the media


Mischievous Monkey Turns to Educating

"This week comes a PBS series that turns [Curious] George’s adventures into a launching pad for tidy preschool lessons about math, science and engineering."

Science, as in the difference between monkeys and apes?

Posted by Daniel Radosh


This could work, actually. I've been teaching my kids about chemistry and physics through the old Scooby Doo episodes. My kids are 4 and 2.

The Times is well-known for lies and errors couched in bad writing, and for the plain old sloppiness that naturally obtains from arrogance. As the Brits would say, reporter Susan Stewart couldn't be arsed for even one moment in school to learn something as basic to common knowledge as the difference between a monkey and an ape. In any event, it seems her entire article was a forced context to justify the catchy "spunky monkey" coinage. One guesses that is what her naughty, naughty bedmate calls her in intimate moments. Armed with an actual education, or a quick Google search, Ms. Stewart would have learned the scientific truth about apes and monkeys, but then would have had to forgo her cute li'l trope.

To be fair, the root of the problem is that the Curious George books themselves identify him as a monkey.

Or "forego," as the case may be. My bad.

Ah, but those books were written sixty years ago to entertain.

OK, but the "educational" show repeats the error. That was kind of my main target.

Still, I like the nostalgia factor: "The 1940s! When colonialism was cool and chimps were monkeys!"

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