The best show on television is called the PBS NewsHour. Its the only news show I can tolerate because of their unorthodox taste for “journalism”, and their surprising tendency to provide things like “context”, “thoughtful analysis”, and “respectful debate”. But lately, the show has reached new heights, with an uncanny relevance to my life in New Zealand.
First, hackers responded to what they percieved as unfavorable coverage of the Wikileaks scandal by sneaking into the PBS servers and publishing a story on Tupac being alive in New Zealand. A little bit scary, but mainly hilarious. If only Pac and Biggie were indeed on a sheep farm in the next town over.
Then, during a week in which I was furiously writing an article on The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, the NewsHour goes and covers it as well (beginning at 4:05 in the vid below). That alone would be sweet. But their coverage also features Elmo and Common (as a penguin) rapping for the children. Mind blown.
In case you don’t have nine minutes to spare, here are the basics. The Dunedin Study found that childhood self-control strongly predicts adult outcomes such as health, wealth, and non-criminality. Adult self-control is already in short supply in American culture (see: huge private and public debt) and will only become flimsier as we move toward more immediately gratifying technology. Improving self-control in kids is therefore a critical task. Many educators (like KIPP schools) are testing new techniques. Sesame Street, unsurprisingly, is leading the charge.
Below is a jumpy video that features the whole song. I have no idea why the rappers are penguins, but I love it. The song itself doesn’t fit my hip hop taste, but I’m glad it exists.
If you want to see Common at his finest, see 1994’s Resurrection. Behold the masterful wordplay in “Communism” (which the uninitiated may want to listen to with the lyrics explained). Maybe that track title is why FoxNews fell all over itself trying to paint him as an America-hating gangster rapper. They, like all of us, would be better informed if they watched a bit more PBS.