Drug War

No, I Didn't Criticize Sesame Street For Having a Muppet Whose Dad Is in Prison

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Sesame Street

Earlier this month the makers of Sesame Street released an educational kit for children who have a parent (or parents) behind bars. I wrote about the kit's contents, including tips for helping kids cope and for helping them stay connected to their imprisoned parent. I concluded my post by writing, "Congratulations, America, on making it almost normal to have a parent in prison or jail."

Writer Kathryn Dehoyos has a post up at Business Insider (syndicated from the Good Men Project, where it originally ran) titled, "'Sesame Street' Criticized Over Muppet Whose Dad Is In Prison." Apparently, that critic is me: 

Overall, the response has been a positive one…..However, there are critics as well. Mike Riggs, a blogger with Reason Magazine, wrote, "Congratulations, America, on making it almost normal to have a parent in prison or jail." While Mr. Riggs may be addressing the bigger issue of incarceration rates in America, the point he seems to be missing is that the children of those people who have gone to prison have no control over their circumstances. By ignoring the issue of parents who are incarcerated, we are essentially shaming the children who are truly the innocent victims in these cases.

Emphasis theirs. I didn't criticize Sesame Street at all, actually. I criticized America for having so many prisoners. Or, as Dehoyo actually acknowledges, "Mr. Riggs may be addressing the bigger issue of incarceration rates in America." 

Why Dehoyo then implies in the very next clause that I think the children of incarcerated parents have some control over their circumstances is absolutely beyond me. I didn't write that and I don't believe it. My cousin's children back home in Florida–all under 10–don't have any control over the fact that their father has been in and out of prison since they were babies. My aunt's kids out West have no control over the fact that their mother has been in and out of jail for the last 20 years. While I strongly believe it's a national shame how many kids could benefit from the Sesame Street kit, there's nothing wrong with the kit itself. (I'd even go a step further than Dehoyo and say that there are a lot of "innocent" parents behind bars, in that I believe most consensual crimes shouldn't be criminal.) 

I'd love to know why Dehoyo wrote what she wrote. In place of speculating about her motives, I'll simply note that if my Sesame Street post didn't accurately reflect my sympathy for people whose lives have been damaged by over-criminalization and the drug war, my archives here at Reason do

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  1. Only an idiot could misinterpret, willfully or not, the post in that way.

    1. Actually, a lot of progressives have a knee-jerk reactions to libertarians.

  2. But we are criticizing you for skipping the alt-text.

    1. Pwn’ed.

    2. Thank you for making Riggs put up some alt-text. 🙂

  3. I’m guessing they were desperate to find a critic and purposefully misinterpreting your piece was close enough for government work.

    1. My guess is that she just read the last sentence and thought her intelligence was so superior that she just KNEW what the rest of the article said.

  4. She needed a strawman to burn, and you looked like you could use a little fire, scarecrow.

  5. WHY DO YOU HATE THE CHILDREN RIGGS

    1. Because their parents are criminals.

  6. Since you are a libertarian, you obviously hate children, including those who have parents in prison.

    1. Why would I hate the children of incarcerated parents? I need them to work in my monocle factory.

      1. Watching Sesame Street cuts into valuable monocle and top hat production time. It must be stopped.

      2. Yeah its double productivity because you can get the parent to make monocles in your PPP prison industry cooperative venture.

  7. (I’d even go a step further than Dehoyo and say that there are a lot of “innocent” parents behind bars, in that I believe most consensual crimes shouldn’t be criminal.)

    Jesus Christ, Riggs. I would have expected a racist diatribe like this from Shackford, but I thought better of you.

    1. Dude, the guy is a Grand Cyclops in the Klan. Of course you should have expected this.

      1. What do you expect from a guy who named his kid Adolph Hitler?

        1. How many swastika tattoos does he have again?

          1. Counting the one he carved into his forehead?

            1. I really thought he’d turned over a new leaf, but I see that he’s still the same guy that he was when he was fronting all those short-lived Neo-Nazi punk bands. Although I still think All Hail Joseph Mengele was a pretty good album, all things considered.

              1. Fuck, have you heard the Goebbels Project latest iTunes?? THAT is some shit right there – Riggs wrote a brief piece introducing them.

                1. Yeah, dude. I can’t get “Lament for Blondi” out of my head. Amazing stuff.

              2. …”all things considered.”
                I see what you did there.

  8. Due diligence is for suckers!

  9. I’d love to know why Dehoyo wrote what she wrote.

    Because she gets paid to write words that give the appearance of being English while being devoid of any actual meaning.

  10. If you thought this was bad, just wait until Dehoyos finds out how you feel about the Jews.

    1. Well played squirrels. Well played.

  11. My cousin’s children back home in Florida–all under 10–don’t have any control over the fact that their father has been in and out of prison since they were babies. My aunt’s kids out West have no control over the fact that their mother has been in and out of jail for the last 20 years.

    It suddenly becomes clear who the ringleader is, in this family crime syndicate.

    1. So Riggs is a racist and a criminal?

      1. Well, look at his home life.

        He needs some Sesame Street.

  12. She probably looked at this site, saw a bunch of anti-Obama articles, and then pegged you for a callous, hateful Republican.

    1. It’s pretty obvious that we’re all Rethuglican tools of the Kochtopus Konglomerate of Korporations.

      1. Well done, sir

    2. But Tulpa told me this site is in the tank for Obama?

      1. Yes. By not voting RomneyBot, you voted for Obama.

        ARE YOU PROUD, H&R? IT IS YOU THAT HAVE BROUGHT THIS DOOM UPON US!!!

      2. But wait, OG Esq or whateverthefuck his name is says this place is in the tank for Cheney.

  13. the point he seems to be missing is that the children of those people who have gone to prison have no control over their circumstances.

    You know who else has no control over their circumstances?

  14. the point he seems to be missing is that the children of those people who have gone to prison have no control over their circumstances.

    Whoosh.

  15. I’d love to know why Dehoyo wrote what she wrote.

    Libertarians by definition hate PBS.

    Without PBS, America’s children would all be illiterate savages.

    hth

    1. “Libertarians by definition hate PBS.”

      Not true. That’s the same kind of false conclusion that liberals make about tax-payer funding for birth control. Just because I don’t want something funded by the government, doesn’t mean I want it to go away. I also don’t think the government should pick up the tab for ice cream, but I think ice cream is great. PBS always had some excellent programming, IMO. Sesame Street, Nova, etc.

      1. It’s kind of a specious argument in the case of Sesame Street, too. They make more than enough money through merchandising to continue filming without any type of public funding. I think last I heard they had something like $128 million in the bank.

      2. So you want to take everyone’s money to fund PBS 1005?

        /willfull misunderstanding of positions

      3. I think you need to get your sarcasm meter adjusted. Brooks’s implication that he hates PBS because it educates kids should be a dead giveaway.

  16. “Why Dehoyo then implies in the very next clause that I think the children of incarcerated parents have some control over their circumstances is absolutely beyond me.” Because she is disingenuous.

  17. Where does Melissa Harris-Perry’s ownership-by-proxy of these kids fit in?

  18. She must not have read the comments, because I remember them pretty much being on the same page, on the point that many hundreds of thousands of those inmates shouldn’t be incarcerated at all.

    Maybe it’s because she thinks certain other people ought to be in jail (such as gun owners)? Concerns about the prison industrial complex do seem to have faded from the progressive agenda of late.

  19. Mike, you are not a liberal progressive Democrat, therefore anything you write, no matter how liberal, progressive, and democratic, will be criticized.

  20. Sometimes dude you jsut have to smack it good man!

    http://www.cyber-privacy.net

    1. WomSom, this is a family site. Clean your fucking mouth.

  21. “I’d love to know why Dehoyo wrote what she wrote.”

    Maybe because she’s just a partisan hack and you’re not quite in her camp, which makes you fair game?

    Maybe because she couldn’t be bothered to read your piece and she just assumed she knew what you were going to say?

    Maybe because she actually did TRY to read your piece, but she found the big words too much for her reading level, so she abandoned the effort and just jumped to conclusions?

  22. SO, I go to the Twitterz, and what do I see not a couple minutes ago?

    Gilbert Gottfried ?@RealGilbert 3m Sesame Street is now going to feature a Muppet in jail. Tune in this week when he gets raped by Elmo.

  23. Hey, it takes some real skill to whip up a strawman like that!

  24. My cousin’s children back home in Florida–all under 10–don’t have any control over the fact that their father has been in and out of prison since they were babies. My aunt’s kids out West have no control over the fact that their mother has been in and out of jail for the last 20 years.

    The Riggs’ Family Cookbook contains several recipes for meth.

    1. WHISKEY TANGO is inscribed on the Riggs Family Crest.

  25. What do you have against sesame seeds, Riggs?

  26. “Emphasis theirs. I didn’t criticize Sesame Street at all, actually. I criticized America for having so many prisoners. ”

    Hey don’t whine to use, we understood what you were saying. Go over to BI and give Dehoyos a piece of your mind.

    1. On the other hand, Pawlowski didn’t see fit to accuse Riggs of hating teh childrens. That’s a plus.

  27. I actually had trouble even figuring out what position she was attributing to Riggs. It’s hard to get inside that kind of mind.

    1. inside that kind of mind

      you are in a maze of twisty little passages

  28. Professionally Outraged Liberal is outraged.

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