ERIC Number: ED368027
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Visual Argument for Social Ends: "Captain Planet" and the Integration of Environmental Values.
Muir, Star A.
While "Captain Planet and the Planeteers" has won numerous awards and is currently the number one rate household animated children's television program in the United States, the contradictions and complications of instilling environmental values in children through the medium of television are apparent. A content analysis of 15 episodes of "Captain Planet" indicates that while resource conservation and the excess of industrialism are highlighted, advertisements are interspersed encouraging consumption and individual excess. Where cooperation and teamwork are stressed by the various solutions to problems, the caricatures of good and evil build a framework that accepts no accommodation, and underscores the alienation of "Us" and "Them." Where individual actions take on increasing importance in saving the planet, the presence of an empowered super "other" allows an abdication of personal responsibility, an abdication made more likely by some of the exaggerated and easily debunked claims of the show. While science and environmental educators acknowledge the overall utility of such educational approaches, the caricatures, simplification inherent in the cartoon medium, and the artificial context of television work against a balanced environmental policy and rational discourse on critical issues facing society. (Contains 26 references. A chart listing aspects of the "Planeteers" and the villains is included; the opening monologue, lyrics to the concluding song, and the cast of the television show are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (79th, Miami Beach, FL, November 18-21, 1993).