I began life as a ventriloquist, became a psychologist, and now I’m director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. With 48,000 members we’re only national organization completely devoted to reclaiming childhood from corporate marketers.
Along the way, I’ve written a couple of books, appeared on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, made video programs about difficult issues for kids, performed at the Smithsonian Youth Theater, taught students from the Republic of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia to create puppet shows about conflict resolution. With CCFC, I’ve been working as a hard as I can to counter and prevent the harms done children by excessive commercialism. We’re the organization that got the Walt Disney Company to stop marketing Baby Einstein videos (falsely) as educational babies—and to offer refunds to parents who bought them. Our most recent victory was persuading Scholastic to stop distributing coal-industry propaganda in 4th grade classrooms and significantly slash all its corporate-sponsored teaching materials. I’m also an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and lecture around the world about children, creative play, media and marketing.
Aside from kindness, I most value creativity--both for the sheer joy of creating something out of nothing and because, as the poet Kenneth Rexroth once said, “Against the ruin of the world there is only one defense—the creative act.”
Follow Commercial-Free Childhood: @commercialfree
Susan on FearLess
Alex welcomes Susan Linn to the cottage to discuss marketing to children.