Sunday, October 23, 2011

Don't think I'll be watching

One of the kids' tv networks (The Hub) has given Warren Buffett his own cartoon.

You read that right. Warren Buffett as a cartoon character. The show is apparently one of those overtly-educational cartoons, aimed at teaching kids about earning money.

(My immediate reaction: Mr. Buffett, are you also going to teach them about taxes, that anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 what they earn will go to the government? After all, seeing as you now have a tax plan named after you...)

Aside from the fact that I just find the idea of a cartoonized Warren Buffett faintly creepy, I also find those kinds of overtly-educational cartoons NOT entertaining. (Remember "Captain Planet?"). I suppose they play a role but I remember hating those kinds of things even when I was a kid. Though I could be wrong about this one, and I hope I am. Maybe what kids need is some show promoting earning money and being smart about it, instead of just the endless "gimme gimme gimme" that some kids seem to learn.

But I hope they're not too heavy-handed about it. Because the heavy-handed shows can be just awful.

There are some cartoons - Phineas and Ferb does this a lot - that sneak in snippets of educational stuff, like vocabulary words ("Aglet") or little historical facts. Or some shows aimed at younger kids take a problem-solving theme and try to teach some moral lessons, like don't immediately reject someone who's different from you. And as long as those aren't done in a heavy-handed way (and in Phineas and Ferb, there's almost a winking, "hey, kids, here's the daily dose of education" humor about it), the cartoon can still be entertaining.

Although, I don't know...maybe there is a precedent for teaching kids about money and investing via cartoons; I remember an old Looney Tunes cartoon where Sylvester came into a lot of money, and Elmer Fudd (I think it was Elmer) taught him about how investing it being better than spending it, because it generally improved the country by allowing businesses to grow and new products to be made.

Though, I don't know, looking at some of the statements I've received lately from TIAA-CREF and my IRA, I'm beginning to think maybe spending more and investing less is the way to go right now. Because that iPad or whatever might drop steeply in value when I walk out the door of the store, but at least I still HAVE something for my money, instead of just shares of some company that may or may not increase.

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