Reasons My Ten Year Old Can Watch 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver'
I banned most Disney Channel shows in our house years ago, and I still don't think they are appropriate. But somehow HBO's approach to a news roundup is an acceptable favorite.
- •It starts important conversations.My job to teach him everything he needs to know is pretty daunting. Sometimes I forget things. Sometimes I'm too tired. I don't feel like explaining Putin without a little groundwork to set the stage.
- •The Supreme Court justices will always be dogs.For the rest of his life, when my son hears references to Supreme Court proceedings, he will smirk at the thought of Alito, Ginsburg, and that amazing hen-ographer. He definitely knows they aren't actual dogs, but this is the visual imprinted on him.
- •There's a big election coming up.We need to raise the next generation of voters. We need them to be educated enough to smell a rat in Donald Trump. He was born at the end of 2004. He's young enough to see a world of opportunity in front of him, and still believe that everyone has a fair shot. One February, after an especially memorable Black History Month lesson, he came home and asked me if I knew that Barack Obama was the very first black president we had EVER had.
- •It shows him what smart + funny looks like.I want him to be proud to be smart. He's already proud to be funny. A pretty powerful combination for sure. It will be funny when his fifth grade yearbook memorializes his career aspirations at 10: political satirist/comedy writer/Greek mythology expert.
- •Keeps him relevant without an iPhone or an Instagram account.Many of his friends carry iPhones everywhere they go. They don't know their own numbers and the phones never ring. But they can play mine craft anywhere. He's sick of watching people play video games. It could be worse. Apparently the girls are all on snapchat already.
- •He loves curse words and references to male "junk."What ten year old boy doesn't? There's no shortage on LWT. His uproarious laughter following a good simple nuts joke is one of the best sounds you'll ever hear.
- •He remembers the details and wants to discuss big issues.Joking aside, he's learning to filter out the message to get at the value of a story. He can remember what he's learned and is starting to make connections. He is still deathly afraid of the PBS News Hour's unfiltered coverage, but can get into big stories. He probably knows more about the European migrant crisis, pay day loans, taxpayer funded stadiums, and Miss America than lots of adults.
- •We can fast forward the super raunchy stuff.I didn't let him watch those creepy Michigan state reps and their weirdo affair. And we haven't quite explained abortion just yet. Fifth grade is complicated enough. But skipping ahead can also show their are some limits to what's appropriate.
- •He's not yet embarrassed to watch it with his mom.He will be soon enough. For now, I'll take what I can get.