Use alternative “clean” energy or a hideous monster will eat you. This is the heartwarming green message aimed at winning the hearts and minds of young children in the animated Netflix series The Magic School Bus Rides Again.
According to Newsbusters:
Episode 12, “Monster Power,” teaches kids that a monster will eat them if they don’t use alternative clean energy sources. Albert, one of the students, has seen a movie in which the evil monster loves pollution and is “coming for us next for what we’ve done to this planet!” With the class camping in the woods, Miss Frizzle and the other students help him come up with clean energy alternatives (wind, water, etc) so they won’t be eaten.
The series’ makers, Scholastic, have taken their cue from Soviet-era propaganda cartoons demonstrating the evils of capitalism through the medium of avant-garde animation. And also, probably from the Jesuits’ Ignatius Loyola who supposedly said: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man.”
Actually, though, the “use clean energy or die” episode is by no means the worst one.
That honor falls to Episode 10 – Tales Glaciers Tell – in which the magic bus takes children to a lecture on the causes of global warming.
One of the children, an insufferable little blonde girl, squeaks to a rapt, multi-ethnic audience an interminable lecture about climate change.
It goes like this:
Once upon a time, the earth was very different. Woolly mammoths roamed the land. That is when they weren’t being chased by saber-toothed tigers. Little bits of stuff – soot, pollen, dirt, ash trapped in the glacier’s air bubbles tell us that the climate was perfect for those animals. It was warmer, with higher sea levels, which was awesome for giant octopuses. Then it got colder. More ice formed at the poles of the earth. Sea levels went back down. It stayed like that for tens of thousands of years. Slowly people got smarter. Built things. Then around 200 years ago, people got really busy – inventing cool stuff that makes life better. But some of it makes smoking gases like carbon dioxide that go up into the air. Gases trap heat from the sun and keep it close to earth. So as time went on temperatures went up. The oceans got warmer, ice sheets started melting adding water to the ocean- more in 200 years than it did in the hundred thousand years before. Which means that if things keep going this way the earth is going to get warmer. Some places will get more rain and floods. Other places will get hot and dry with less food and fewer kinds of animals. It’s a lot of change in a super short time and that can make it harder to adapt.
If you find it painful to read, imagine how much more awful it was to transcribe.
I did so as a service to readers who may have wondered, from time to time, why their kids sometimes spout such rabid eco-zealotry.
They get it from their teachers and from TV programs like this, Captain Planet and, more recently, Bill Nye the Science Guy’s show (also on Netflix).
This isn’t entertainment: in fact, almost the creepiest thing about it isn’t the brainwashing element but the way the scriptwriting and direction team lamely try to liven this horrible child’s dreary monologue with what are supposed to be moments of humor. The saber tooth tiger chasing those mammoths; the giant octopus – they’re only there to persuade the hapless kids exposed to this interminable socialistic tripe that this is fun, fun, fun, because hey what could be more cool than saber tooth tigers and giant octopuses…
This isn’t education: it’s pure propaganda. Most of the claims made in that girl’s lecture are at best moot, at worst downright misinformation. Yet at the end she is shown getting a standing ovation from her audience and a group hug from her friends.
Man-made global warming is a shaky theory, increasingly falsified by real world evidence. Yet here it is presented on Netflix — by one of the world’s leading children’s academic publishers Scholastic — as fact.
If my children were still the age of this program’s target audience, I’d be writing to their teachers demanding that they never be showed a Scholastic book again. Quite a big ask, given that Scholastic have such market dominance (they publish Harry Potter, for example) – but isn’t that exactly the problem: these institutions are all powerful, all pervasive, and they are poisoning our children’s minds.