Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brought to you by the letters "P" and "C"

The letter people used to be cool, man.

In kindergarten we were introduced to the letters of the alphabet by way of the 26-member troupe called "The Letter People." The first one introduced was Mr. M, with his munching mouth easily my favorite, followed by Mr. T, of tall teeth fame.

Each was incarnated in an inflatable doll and sang a song according to alliterative theme. My sister and I listened to the compilation tape for years later as bedtime music. Needless to say, they occupy a foundational niche in my brain.

Recent nostalgia led me to order the songs again on eBay and read up on their history. Not surprisingly, the songs didn't age especially well according to my tastes, although I couldn't get "Mr. V's Violet Velvet Vest" out of my head for a few days.

However, it did surprise me to learn that The Letter People were reincarnated in the 90's (the originals had been born in the 70's). As is characteristic of the 90's, the group's character became completely dominated by political correctness, in all of its identity-confusing, parade-raining, life-sucking anti-glory. Peruse if you will the two versions of the group:

Miss A A'choo Ms. A A'choo
Mister B Beautiful Buttons Mr. B Beautiful Buttons
Mister C Cotton Candy Mr. C Colossal Cap
Mister D Delicious Doughnuts Mr. D Dazzling Dance
Miss E Exercising Ms. E Exercise Energy
Mister F Funny Feet Ms. F Funny Feet
Mister G Gooey Gum Mr. G Gooey Gum
Mister H Horrible Hair Mr. H Happy Hair
Miss I* Itchy Itches; Incredible Inventor Mr. I Impossible Inches
Mister J Jumbled Junk Ms. J Jingle Jingle Jacket
Mister K Kind Kicking Ms. K Kaboom Kick
Mister L Lemon Lollipops Ms. L Longest Laugh
Mister M Munching Mouth Mr. M Munching Mouth
Mister N Noisy Nose Mr. N Noisy Nose
Miss O* Obstinate; Optimistic Optimist Mr. O Opposite
Mister P Pointy Patches Ms. P Pointy Patches
Mister Q Quiet Mr. Q Questions
Mister R Ripping Rubberbands Mr. R Rainbow Ribbons
Mister S Super Socks Ms. S Super Socks
Mister T Tall Teeth Ms. T Tall Teeth
Miss U Upsy-Daisy Umbrella Ms. U Unusual Umbrella
Mister V Violet Velvet Vest Ms. V Vegetable Vest
Mister W Wonderful Wink Ms. W Wonderful Words
Mister X All Wrong (Mixed-Up) Mr. X Different
Mister Y Yawning Ms. Y Yodeling Yawn
Mister Z Zipping Zippers Mr. Z Zipping Zippers

  • The primary difference is in gender. Instead of occupying different, but equally important roles (consonants and vowels), men and women equivalently occupy all roles (13 men and 13 women).
  • Along the same lines, marital status of women is not presumed: female characters are "Ms." instead of "Miss."
  • Instead of celebrating delicious and delightful treats, healthy food is promoted. Cotton Candy becomes Colossal Cap, Delicious Donuts becomes Dazzling Dance, Lovely Lemon Lollipops becomes Longest Laugh, and Violet Velvet Vest becomes Vegetable Vest.
  • Fun and masculine Mr. R of the Ripping Rubber Bands transforms into feminine-at-best, paper-cut-at-worst Rainbow Ribbons. I assume the logic was that kids could hurt themselves with rubber bands, and classroom distractions could not be promoted.
  • Hyper-sensitivity over disabilities: instead of being "Mixed Up," which at least contains an "x," Mr. X is simply "Different."
To get very concerned would be a bit silly, but the Letter People debacle is a good illustration of how much more than simple academic facts is taught in school from an early age, and of how pervasive the social changes of the last several decades have been.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YEAH Letter People!!!! :)

"I slip into my Super Socks..."