Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:56 PM
The Straight Story (48,006 posts)
"Swiper, No Swiping!": The Demonology of Dora the Explorer (aka witch)
Indeed, children become empowered by Dora the Explorer. Children are asked to memorize directions and repeat phrases, often at disarming decibels—watching Dora’s adventures rarely coincides with quiet time. But if problem-solving skills are the desired outcome, then what problem-solving skills are children actually being taught when it comes to Swiper the Fox?
After many more viewings and readings of Dora the Explorer than I can ever count, the figure of Swiper began to seem hauntingly familiar to me. To me, a professor and scholar of the history of Christianity, I saw this problem-solving strategy of dealing with Swiper within a larger, historical contest. He is an archetypal image of the diabolical fox-spirit in the history of religions. The words to ward him off are similar in pattern to spells or exorcistic formulae used to ward off evil spirits throughout history. And not only may children be learning how best to deal with the demonic, but they’re doing so in a very sophisticated way. For Dora does not completely cast out her demon, but rather allows for its redemption.
The fox holds a peculiar place within our collective consciousness. In Aesop’s Fables, the fox is often the trickster, and a dangerous one at that. Take for example the story of the Hare and the Fox, when, after the fox invited him to experience his culinary arts, the unfortunate rabbit discovers that he is the main course. Indeed, the fox appears throughout world cultures as a trickster, often with sinister implications. The common English expression “like a fox” implies both sly and powerful; Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” made him “wanna get up and scream!”
Through such portrayals, perhaps children might see that such “demonic” presences are not absolutely evil, but have a value and worth beyond simply being ostracized and counted as “other”. We tend to use the power of words today to demonize rather than exorcise. If we could get children to treat all such “old enemies” with compassion and understanding, they might indeed understand one of the central tenants of the Christian tradition, unfortunately lost by the most “pious” among us: “Love thy enemy.” Then, perhaps, we adults may all learn from our children to do the same to our foes, whether we conceive of them as demonic or not.
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"Swiper, No Swiping!": The Demonology of Dora the Explorer (aka witch) (Original post)
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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)
Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:02 AM
d_r (4,713 posts)
8. they wrote this before
the christmas carol episode was made. I noticed this was written in 2008, and I checked with google and that episode premiered in Dec. 2009. Anyway, Swiper finds redemption in that episode. It should be airing around this time of year.