What Kids Learn from ‘Silly’ Media
Posted on June 23, 2008 at 8:00 am
FlowTV, the always-interesting scholarly online publication about media, has a thoughtful article by Aaron Delwiche of Trinity University called “‘What we me worry?’ What the new media literacy movement can learn from Mad Magazine and Wacky Packages.”
Delwiche makes some good points about the legitimacy of video games as a subject for serious cultural and cognitive study and as a form of media that can be on a par with books, music, and movies. But I thought the more interesting part of the article was his discussion of Wacky Packages (the 1980’s trading cards with gross-out parodies of consumer products) and Mad Magazine and the way that the inherently rude and subversive nature of humor helps children begin to question assumptions, think more actively and creatively, and want to learn more about the world so that they can understand the jokes.
As we revamp the media literacy curriculum for the 21st century, Mad Magazine and Wacky Packages have something to teach us about the importance of humor, the value of simplicity, and — above all else — the importance of questioning the man behind the curtain.