OK, I know they're talking about the UK here, but I'm sure things are only worse in America.
According to "UK kids licensing worth £2bn" on C21 Media.net, Brit five-year-olds "are given on average 74 licensed products a year."
The key word there, of course, is "given." These kids aren't making active choices as consumers. They're being taught to integrate their identities with mass-marketed children's characters. They're being taught that consumption is how you communicate that identity. They're being taught what will become, in effect, their shared culture.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. It's just interesting. Sponge Bob, Dora, Blues Clues, and yes, Baribe . . . They're basically gods in a new religion. Sure, I might be overstating things a bit, but how many shirts does your kid have with Jesus on them? If someone ever purchased such a shirt for your child would you ever let them wear it?
I know I wouldn't.
Our Sponge Bob who art under the sea, hallowed be thy sqaure pants . . .
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My lovely wife.