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The Cute and the CoolWondrous Innocence and Modern American Children's Culture$
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Gary Cross

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195156669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156669.001.0001

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The Two Faces of Innocence

The Two Faces of Innocence

(p.19) 2 The Two Faces of Innocence
The Cute and the Cool

Gary Cross (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Today's newspapers and magazines regularly feature stories about schools — reports on test scores, changes in the curriculum, proposed laws to raise academic performance — and the latest findings on child rearing, such as the impact of reading stories or playing classical music upon the later success of toddlers. At the same time, children's TV, beyond the toddler years, has been largely shorn of “educational” content and has little to do with growing up to success. These battles between consumerism and education have been with us for generations. Parents are frequently confused about how to balance serious effort with fun in their children's lives, especially when the ubiquitous commercial culture is so successful at the serious business of promoting fun. As a result, the very meaning of innocence has changed: the idea of sheltered innocence, with its insistence on effort, reason, and work, has ceded much influence to wondrous innocence, with its appeal to desire, imagination, and gratification.

Keywords:   children, parents, sheltered innocence, wondrous innocence, fun, consumerism, education, child rearing, media

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