I hate the circus. I will not be taking my kid(s) to a circus. I reckon this will warrant an eye roll from some. I’m OK with that. That’s how much I hate the circus.
There are few things I am passionate about. There are even fewer things I have deemed off limits when it comes to how I raise my son. My kid is allowed to watch TV. He is allowed to play with iPads, iPhones, and computers. He’s allowed to play games. He eats candy, drinks cocoa and consumes dessert every day. He’s allowed to stay up late and sleep in his clothes sometimes. I’ve taken him to Disney World. He’s even been to the Bronx Zoo.
But circuses (and Sea World!) are off limits.
I realize this might open me up to attack. Given what I’ve written above, it likely stinks of hypocrisy. But until the circus stops enslaving/abusing animals, we won’t be giving them a dime.
Today I was cleaning the apartment while Em was playing. He brought out a bunch of books and started building a “car” around himself and a stuffed bear. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “We’re going to the circus!”
I laughed and then asked, “Where did you hear about the circus?”
“On the television.”
“Which show were you watching about the circus?”
“It was a commercial, mama.”
Em doesn’t watch much live TV. We will rent family movies via our AppleTV. He watches shows on OnDemand or previously recorded TV shows. Very, very rarely do I turn on Nick Jr or PBS, but they don’t show circus advertisements. They don’t really show advertisements at all. So I wondered, again, what had he been watching that showed him a circus?
“Do you remember what TV show you were watching?” I asked him again.
“Nope.” He answered, still playing.
My guess is that it was one of the seasonal shows we had on during the holidays. We do watch soccer and football together, but they don’t usually show circus advertisements. They show fast food advertisements (almost as bad) and ads featuring chesty, hot women and beer toting idiots, but that’s a different type of circus, one he doesn’t yet care for or understand.
“Em, we won’t be going to the circus as a family. I will take you almost anywhere else you want to go, but the circus is a no-no.”
“I’m just pretending, mama.”
And then I just felt bad—too political and uppity for a 3-year-old and his active imagination. He has no desire to actually go to the circus. He was just pretending. But his mama had to get all indignant.
I felt like an ass.
Networks often refuse ads from certain companies. In 2009, NBC refused to air a Super Bowl ad created by Peta. It was deemed too sexually explicit. (Which is hilarious given what they show every other year, but that’s a post for another day.) I was annoyed with NBC’s decision to block the Peta advertisement. But as a cable consumer, I am nothing.
Peta wasn’t the only company turned away. In 2010 an ad from the gay dating Web site ManCrunch.com was rejected as well.
Talking to my son gave me a brainstorm. Since cable companies pick and choose what it is we’re shown, would you, the cable consumer, pay your cable provider a small amount each month to opt out of seeing certain advertisements from certain companies? Like, say you could tell them, “I don’t want to see anything from McDonald’s.” Behold, no more McDonald’s ads.
Now, I obviously have no idea what type of software and/or programming would go into such a thing, but the idealist in me wonders: if it were possible, would people use it?
Because I would.
And I’d start with the circus. ;]