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."