Free to Be... You and Me (1974)

Free to Be... You and Me (1974)
Uploaded by John Roderick. - Look out World!

It's amazing how every note of every song from this production is as familiar to me still as my most indelible childhood moments. When I catch myself wondering why the conservative movement in this country is so vitriolic, so passionate in their conviction that there's a giant liberal conspiracy to indoctrinate children into becoming homosexual deviants who build mosques at Ground Zero, I recall this.

Of course Marlo Thomas, Alan Alda, Mel Brooks et al, had a gentler intention, trying to rid the world of prejudice by educating children through puppet shows and pop music. In their time it was controversial and political to teach gender neutrality to kids, but they believed they were on the right side of history and that the change would be embraced in the long run. Here we are, 36 years later, and the ideas put forth in this simple, charming film are still current, still galvanizing people, still controversial.

The backlash against the hippy/feminist indoctrination we received as children growing up in the 70s is so passionate it obscures (perhaps intentionally) the simple message: don't judge, don't hate.

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