The Ethics of Doraland.

“What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you” (Mt 21:28-31).

The character of “Swiper” on Dora the Explorer illustrates this position. You see, Swiper the Fox is Dora’s main adversary. In each episode, Swiper makes some attempt at stealing the episode’s MacGuffin. Dora asks the viewers to yell “Swiper, no swiping!” If they successfully say it three times before he reaches her, Swiper snaps his fingers and says, “Oh, man!” and leaves.

Sometimes, Swiper sneaks up on Dora and snatches the object before she knows, or he gets there before Dora finishes saying “No swiping” three times. THen he’ll say, “You’re too late!” He grabs the item, and throws it off screen. Then Dora and the viewer have to find where Swiper hides the object.

Some more recent episodes have had Swiper even taking on a bit of a good guy role, helping Dora if her quest is sympathetic to him.

I have always pointed out to my kids that Swiper isn’t as bad a guy as they think, since he actually does what he’s told. Indeed, I proposed the other day that Swiper’s better behaved than *they* are.

Now, contrast Swiper to Dora, who runs around the rainforest without any adult supervision.

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