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-   -   sesame streeet to get new hiv + character (https://www.u2interference.com/forums/f290/sesame-streeet-to-get-new-hiv-character-60150.html)

Lilly 07-13-2002 06:32 PM

sesame streeet to get new hiv + character
An HIV-positive Muppet is moving into Sesame Street.
The character, who will be a five-year-old female, will be unveiled this September on the South African version of the show, called Takalani Sesame. The Muppet is still being designed and doesn't yet have a name or a color. She will interact with the show's other Muppets, including Elmo, in an attempt to overcome the myths that surround HIV and AIDS in a country where more than 10 percent of the population is infected.

The new addition to the Muppet roster was announced this week at the 14th International AIDS Conference in Barcelona by Sesame Street Workshop's vice president and senior adviser, Joel Schneider.

"This character will be fully a part of the community," Schneider tells Reuters. "She will have high self-esteem. Women are often stigmatized about HIV and we are providing a good role model as to how to deal with one's situation and how to interact with the community."

Although scripts are still being hammered out, officials at the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which airs the program, have a general idea of how the character will behave.

"It will have, in a childlike manner, open discussions about sexuality, HIV and AIDS, and death and dying," the broadcaster's Yvonne Kgame tells the Associated Press. "The reality is that children as young as they are affected very closely by HIV/AIDS. They experience death and dying of people very close to them."

South Africa has the world's largest population infected by HIV, with more than 4.7 million people living with the virus.

The HIV-educational outreach was initiated by Sesame Street in cooperation with South Africa's Department of Education, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

"Sesame Street works with all of its partners to develop content specific to that country and that's what we do broadcasters all over the world," says Sesame Street Workshop spokeswoman Beatrice Chow.

And for those parents worried that the children's show may be crossing the line into sex ed, Schneider says the subject matter would be handled like all serious topics with appropriate delicacy.

"Not every show will deal explicitly with HIV/AIDS," he tells Reuters. "We want to show that here is an HIV-positive member of our community who you can touch and interact with. We will be very careful to fashion our messages so they are appropriate to the age group. What do I do when I cut my finger? What do I do when you cut your finger? That sort of thing."

The show is no stranger to difficult themes, having taken on school-bullying, death and even the September 11 tragedy.

Sesame Street, which is broadcast in 70 countries, has no immediate plans to debut the character for American viewers. But it's possible she could turn up on other international editions of the show where AIDS education is needed.

good for them.

z edge 07-13-2002 06:37 PM

Great, now Jerry Falwell can claim she has AIDS because she is a lesbian

Lemonite 07-13-2002 08:10 PM

I couldn't even bring myself to make this DoucheTastic worthy.


adamswildhoney 07-13-2002 08:18 PM

Okay, I guess that is good!:eyebrow:

Stories for Boys 07-15-2002 12:13 AM

i'm interested in how they plan to make a preschool show talk about sexuality and hiv/aids.....i mean....those are more adult things.........i don't think they'll understand too much........

although it does sound like a good idea for south africa!!

Achtung Bubba 07-15-2002 10:23 AM

The question is the ultimate fate of this Muppet.

If they are going to go down this road, it seems possible that this new Muppet character will get terribly ill and eventually pass away.

Should that happen? Certainly, when the actor who played Mr. Hooper (in the U.S. version of the show) passed away, they decided that his character had also passed away, and that gave them a chance to tackle the difficult subject of death. But that's a FAR cry from introducing a character with the expressed purpose of having him die.

And if they don't follow this to conclusion, are they really dealing with the disease in a responsible manner?

FallingStar 07-15-2002 12:18 PM

Mmmh, I think it is a good idea that they maybe 'show' that AIDS is not a disease that you can get when just talking with someone or being friend with that person, but maybe they........*hmpf*.......it really seems to be not that all day kid-topic and I'm pretty sure that when the puppet will die - or they will give her medicine and just give her a bit more time - there'll be a lot of sad kids around..... :( I don't know what to think about this all......

U2002revolution! 07-15-2002 01:06 PM

how dumb https://forum2.interference.com/old_smilies/icon13.gif ....its a lil' pre-school kids show for god's sake!!!!

FizzingWhizzbees 07-15-2002 01:33 PM

I think something that's important to remember is that it's a show being broadcast in South Africa - a country where in some parts of the country over 10% of the population have AIDS or are HIV+.

It's not something which doesn't affect children - hundreds of thousands of children are affected, often because the illness is passed on to them by their parents. AIDS/HIV isn't the remote, unfamiliar issue it is in some countries - it affects the lives of many children in South Africa, either because they themselves have the illness or they have friends or family members who do.

In that situation, it's a positive thing that the issue is dealt with responsibly in a way which will educate people. Lack of education about the subject not only leads to unnecessary fear of those who have AIDS/HIV (ie ideas that you can catch HIV from holding hands with someone, or from using the same bathroom as someone with the illness), but can also put people in danger if they are unaware of how to protect themselves from the illness. Hopefully this show will educate children and mean that children who have the illness don't suffer because of the mistrust or fear of their peers, and reduce the risk of children being affected by the illness because they don't know how to protect themselves.

On the subject of whether they're just introducing a character to die - if an individual is able to get good medical care, they can live for many years even after contracting HIV.

meegannie 07-15-2002 01:46 PM

I completely agree with FizzingWhizzbees. I see no reason that sexuality even has to be brought on the show up in regards to this. I would question it if the character were being introduced on the US show, but in Africa, I think it's a very pertinent topic.

sulawesigirl4 07-15-2002 01:54 PM

fizzing pretty much summed up my thots.

Achtung Bubba 07-15-2002 02:18 PM


Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
On the subject of whether they're just introducing a character to die - if an individual is able to get good medical care, they can live for many years even after contracting HIV.
True, but that only delays the inevitable: the show's producers will eventually have to confront the character's mortality. Otherwise, they will be rightfully accused of glossing over the reality of the disease.

It's one thing to have a Sesame Street Muppet be a toddler for twenty years. It's one thing to have a Muppet live with a physical disability - be it blindness or relegation to a wheelchair. But it's another thing entirely to have a Muppet live with a LETHAL virus for twenty years.

melon 07-15-2002 02:25 PM

Not everywhere is lucky enough to be in the idyllically naive United States. South Africa has a 44%+ HIV infection rate in the population, not to mention countless numbers of children in that rate. It's meant to express tolerance, and death by HIV is very much a reality for South African youth, whether it is fair or not. At least those children with HIV shall perhaps take comfort in their short years of life with a friendly character to identify with.

I'm not even going to discuss sexuality. Again, this is unimportant. Most HIV infections are passed on through heterosexual activity outside of the U.S., and this is true for South Africa as well. Most children are born with the disease in this nation. Drugs are not readily available to most people in Africa, so death is a relatively quick inevitability.

Perhaps think about this before we put on our judgmental, Puritanical American colored lenses.


Spiral_Staircase 07-15-2002 03:35 PM


Originally posted by melon
I'm not even going to discuss sexuality. Again, this is unimportant.
Just remember it wasn't the naive, judgemental, Puritanical Americans who mentioned it.


"It will have, in a childlike manner, open discussions about sexuality..." the broadcaster's Yvonne Kgame tells the Associated Press.
I believe Yvonne is South African.

Anyway...I think it's a smart addition to the show. It certainly seems that HIV would be a very relevant topic to kids there.

Anybody remember Linda, the deaf lady on Sesame Street here in the States? She was the only deaf person I knew when I was a kid, so I'm glad she was on the show.

LOVE MUSCLE 07-15-2002 03:58 PM

I wonder if the show will have a muppet Bono come visit them

U2Bama 07-15-2002 05:55 PM

It sounds like a good idea to me; and Melon is right: sexuality need not be an issue with this character, just as it is not a sole factor in the African AIDS crisis (or AIDS in general).

Spiral_Staircase makes a good example of the deaf character as well, and the effect the character had on him.


Basstrap 07-15-2002 06:35 PM

Seseme Street was sooo much better! I grew up and that stuff!

But aside from that...sounds like a good idea

Lemonite 07-15-2002 07:30 PM

I don't think this is a good idea.. Thankfully it won't be coming here to America.. It robs these kids of their childhood.. They don't need to be confronted by diseases and the horror that accompanies them as a young child. It has been commented on that in S. Africa... HIV is a social issue.. Well, How about Prostitutes.. Murder.. Very Prominent Social Issues in that country. Do we need a muppet for all of these things to bring these other social issues to the forefront? Sure arguments can be made to bring it into S. Africa.. But to do it without even bringing in Sexuality?.. Are we going to bull shit these kids.. I mean, how does this thing get transferred ultimately (the root cause before being 'born with it as a kid').. Sexual Activities, and Blood Contact from needles et al.. Specifically Drugs. Are we going to pretend this thing just appears when they are born say, 'That's just how this person is'?.. Please.. It's not something you can go half way on, if you're going to do this.
Anyways, I'm also giving a wayward glance to where this thing came from?.. I've got a feeling it's from some Gay Rights.. or Homosexual Conglomerate agenda to 'popularize' or 'normalize' this Disease into common society's views.


U2Bama 07-15-2002 07:37 PM

But, Lemonite, wouldn't you agree that the African AIDS epidemic is broader than the social AIDS epidemic here? It is so widespread there, that for most of the children with AIDS, it does just "appear" when they are born (after being passed from their parent(s). The sexual issues and shared needles (which probably isn't a big source in sub-Saharan Africa) do not even have to be addressed.


Lemonite 07-15-2002 08:37 PM


Originally posted by U2Bama
It is so widespread there, that for most of the children with AIDS, it does just "appear" when they are born (after being passed from their parent(s).


I've been thinking on this since I first heard it, but this is just part of the issue, and only a small reason of a totality to be against this muppet... But on this particular part, I see how they can view this Horrible and Lethal Disease as just appearing, but I feel it's an exploitation on their ignorance and naiveness, and just think that it doesn't need to be half assed... regardless of appearances...
I know.. just differences of opinions.. But, as I wrote earlier, I acknowledge that I see how the idea can surface.. I guess that's it.. Ah well.. Someone pass me the innuendo free, social commentary exempt 'Song Of The South' Video.. Don't ya love the Bluebird.


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