BEAST Government Kid’s Page Review!
the course of our research, we at the BEAST often
visit various federal agency websites, mostly for referencing
instances of propaganda and misinformation. When we do, a
rainbow-colored, oversized font reading “FOR KIDS” invariably
distracts us from the rest of the otherwise drab home page,
and leads us down a twisted path of Orwellian surrealism,
colorful games and wasted hours.
seems every federal agency’s website contains one of these
kids’ sections, for unexplained reasons. Rather than gain
nothing from our apparent ADHD, we have decided to share and
critique some our most interesting finds. Pages and/or characters
contained therein will be judged on a scale of 1 to 5 Goebbels,
for their efficacy in “educating” our nation’s youth.
FEMA for kiddie’s page is a lot like the actual agency: slow
loading and basically no help at all. Seemingly link after
link taps into every child’s sense of fear by placing the
responsibilities of disaster preparedness squarely on their
little shoulders. The site’s most brilliant character, both
aesthetically and in his surely subconscious delivery of brutal
honesty, is Disaster Action Kid. Ostensibly, this young maverick
is impeccably prepared and has a sort-of sheriff’s badge to
prove it. He should be undeterred in the face of any catastrophic
contingency, but just look at him: he is totally freaking
out! Instead of exuding the calm one might expect of someone
with his superb knowledge of “disaster action,” DAK conjures
comparison with one of the most recognizable images of existential
crisis and despair: Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” The high
cheekbones, wild eyes and gapping maw are nearly indistinguishable
from Munch’s stranded man on the bridge. Even worse, DAK appears
to have the face of a skull, with just a hole in the middle
of his face where his nose should be! Yes, the artists responsible
for this traumatized, skull-faced, child-frightening character
have truly done “a heck of a job.” FEMA’s message to the kids
is clear: get your own self off that roof, we probably won’t
– The Surfin’ Squirrel
question: the Department of Agriculture’s kid’s site provides
our children with some of the lamest educational characters
in recorded history, including Pie Chart Pam and Stanley Stat.
RUS, an acronym for the Rural Utilities Service, is a balls-to-the-wall
extreme action squirrel with a fondness for the internet and
safety. Maybe it’s the fact the Surfin’ Squirrel’s board is
upside down, or maybe it’s just hard to get excited about
farm subsidies and power lines, but our inherent juvenile
disposition was nary aroused by the USDA kid’s site. A total
failure, both in value of entertainment and propaganda potential.
when we were losing hope of slick kiddie propaganda with so
many crudely drawn, improperly surfing rodents and pie charts
wearing whorish amounts of lipstick, the good old National
Security Agency comes to the rescue with a fresh group of
young, energetic animal hipsters with language, encryption
and IT skills. They sport cool names like T-Top, Crypto Cat
and Decipher Dog, and they all have amazing back-stories of
cultural diversity and hardship mixed with a pinch of patriotism.
In a realistic twist, Sergeant Sam, the Eagle soldier, is
Hispanic. After an hour on the site cracking codes and making
ciphers we became so enamored with this cast of well illustrated,
Flash-animated do-gooders, that we completely forgot the NSA
is trampling the 4th amendment. Great site!
is a brief footnote in the terminally slow paced, largely
puppy-guided “field trip” for FBI kids grades K – 5. A self-described
“language specialist,” Wayne seems to have a shaky hold on
Spanish at best. “Hola chicos! Me llamo Wayne.” reads his
voice bubble, which in English, according to a web translation
utility, means: “Hello small! I am called Wayne.” This shoddy
translating and absence of the upside down Spanish exclamation
point have strengthened our belief that the FBI is still totally
clueless, and Wayne ain’t helping none.
kiddies, that was fun and I think we’ve learned a lot! My
apologies to Pat, Your Passport Pal from the State Department
and Harry Recon the CIA aerial photography pigeon for their
being left of this far out list, but with each kid’s page
we visited, stronger grew our desire to end our own lives!
Remember kids: stay sharp – you are the future.