My son is six.

He loves this podcast.

No, seriously - He really loves it. As of the time I am writing this, he has listened to the entire series twenty or thirty times. He listens to it as he falls asleep at night. He plays it loudly alone in his room and sometimes dances to it like pop music.



So, after hearing Aaron, the 6 year-old host of the podcast answer other children's questions about dinosaurs, The Boy asked me to email in a question about archaeopteryx - a primitive dinosaur-like bird (or maybe a sophisticated bird-like dinosaur).

The next morning, I got an email from Aaron's father, with an attached sound file of Aaron thanking my son for his question. My wife and I were very excited about this. We knew we'd have to scrape our son off the ceiling when he heard a message from his hero.

"Come here, Boy" I said to him when he woke up that morning, "I've got something I want you to listen to."

He came over and sat next to me on the couch, while I played Aaron's greeting.

"Cool," he said when the message was over. "Can I listen to my podcast now?"

My 8th graders have just finished blogging about the final episode of Roots. They have more or less unanimously agreed that:

1) Watching this 35 year-old tv mini-series is way better than listening to my normal drivel and

2) They love Chicken George, the character played in the movie by actor/performer Ben Vereen.

A day or two ago, on a whim, I looked up Ben Vereen's Twitter account and shot him a message. To my shock, he responded (see above).

When I told my fellow teachers that my guys had gotten a tweet from Ben Vereen, it brought out our inner 14 year-olds. They were like, "NO. WAY!" and I was all, like, "WAY!" (We were all very impressed.)

My students were politely interested.

"Come ON, guys!" I yelled. "This is the actual guy!"

They nodded.

"No, really! BEN VEREEN!!! The actual actor! Chicken George wrote to you!!"

They nodded. Yes. They got it. They understood. Yes, the famous actor had written to them. Yes, they were happy that I was so excited.


So here's what I'm wondering:

In a truly interactive world, where a shlubby middle school teacher can reach famous scholars and actors in minutes with less effort than it takes to walk to the post office and mail a fan letter, whose reaction is odder - the calm acceptance of children who know that celebrities are just people, or the panting, semi-hysterical excitement of their middle-aged parents who JUST SAW SOMEONE FAMOUS!!!  ?