Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Muppet Socialism

Let's talk Fraggles. Thank you, Jim Henson.

From the Wiki entry: As described by Henson, "[The series is] a high-energy, raucous musical romp. It's a lot of silliness. It's wonderful." While the program was accessible to audiences of all ages, it used the fantasy creatures as an allegory to deal with serious issues such as prejudice, spirituality, personal identity, environment, and social conflict.
 
The hippy flower children of the Muppet world, they had the most intricately laid out television puppet culture ever. They broached serious topics with as much candor and intelligence as All the in the Family ever did. They entertained. They educated. The mere thought of them make me smile. I've often wished that we humans could share dreams the way sleeping Fraggles could.

And, for the record, I always felt a little bad for Sprocket.

 
Dance your cares away,
Worry's for another day.
Let the music play,
Down at Fraggle Rock.

Work you cares away,
Dancing's for another day.
Let the Fraggles play,
We're Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, Red.

Dance your cares away,
Worry's for another day.
Let the music play,
Down at Fraggle Rock.
Down at Fraggle Rock.
Down at Fraggle Rock.

I don't own a Fraggle shirt.
These are Doozers
Doozers are the anti-Fraggles. Doozers live to work. They spend all their waking hours building structures out of radishes that Fraggles eat. EAT. In fact, when the Fraggles stop eating Doozer buildings, Doozer look to move elsewhere because they run out of space to build and obviously they aren't needed anymore if they aren't serving the Fraggle need. Doozers tell stories about Doozers who don't WANT to work and build all the time and end up turning into ... Fraggles. The antithesis and yet the symbiotic partner of everything Fraggle.

The Doozers are the public servants of the Fraggle world. Fraggle Rock wouldn't cease to exist without them but it would be a lot more difficult to find food. They truly to live to serve. And, of course, there are Doozers who rebel and try to buck the trend. Some even try being Fraggles. Eventually, they find their niche though and the status quo is restored. I have worked in public institutions since I was 15 years old. And the few jobs I have had that weren't government jobs have been in the service industry. I have to admit there are days when I feel more like a rebel Doozer when I want to be a Fraggle but I wouldn't do the work I do if I didn't enjoy it. 

I believe there has to be meaning in one's work if it is truly a "career" versus a "job". I remember learning about "vocations" in school (of course, they were talking about religious callings at the time) but it wasn't until someone tried to comfort me on a bad day that "it's just a job" and I really bristled at the phrase and said,"No, it's really not" that I knew I was in the right place. Doozers aren't forced to do the work they do. They do it because it fulfills their purpose and, without purpose, what's the point? Although Fraggles had a lot of fun, the episodes were often about their purpose-of-the-moment. And that's fair : it doesn't have to be a life-long purpose, but you gotta have something.