It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights…

Posted On April 22, 2014

Sorry for the Muppets earworm, Xers – it was either that or Sesame Street’s “Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away…” And now they are both stuck in your head, aren’t they?  Me too, thanks to a great read from Salon.com. In her article, Millennials just don’t get it! How the Muppets created Generation X, Elizabeth Hyde Stevens takes Xers on a tour back in time, uncovers tons of subtle (and not so subtle) influences Jim Henson has had on the entire psyche of 70s and 80s kids, and brings it all home with connections to today’s business and media legends. It’s a great bit of nostalgia that also touches on some supremely Gen X traits and, perhaps, sheds light on one of the ways they originated. According to Stevens:

Henson told his staff that with “Fraggle Rock,” he wanted to make a show that would help “stop war in the world” by teaching conflict resolution. “Muppet Babies” was made to encourage imagination. According to the show’s head writer, “[Henson] wanted children to believe anything is possible. That’s the only thing that’s going to save this planet — the power of imagination.” Though “The Muppet Show” did not have any overt “teaching objectives,” it had the implicit message that all kinds of weirdos and goofballs can work together in peace, give or take a few explosions. Underneath the screwball humor, “The Muppet Show” had a message of brotherhood.

 Conflict resolution, imagination, brotherhood.  These are not the key phrases that typically come up in discussions with Xers. Or are they?  Is part of eschewing authority and establishment embracing the concepts of diversity and creativity?  Perhaps Henson’s created a blueprint for Generation X that they are only now beginning to realize? Or perhaps it’s all just hype for the latest in the Muppet Movie franchise.  Either way, I think it’s time to dig up some Fraggle Rock archives and introduce the kids to Wembley, Sprocket and Traveling Matt. 

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