Sunday, July 31, 2011

On Heaven and Paisley

Oh, Honey Honey.
You are my candy girl,
and you got me wanting you. - The Archies - "Candy Girl"

Window Display, Dylan's Candy Store,
Midtown Manhattan
There's a whole new - well maybe not so new - candy world out there. A world of glitz and child pageantry. More so in America, though I was shocked to read yesterday that it has reached my old home town of Northcote - a suburb of staid Melbourne - a city not generally known for its crassness.

Pageantry - that word used to conjure up images of Medieval processions, of men in gold black brocade doublets, of young men, pages, unfurling banners. Of heraldry. And of guilds and illuminated manuscripts. I guess these were what people watched for entertainment, when taking a break from ploughing the unenclosed fields, fighting Goths, and discussing Magna Carta over goblets of mead.

Well, not really, but you get the picture.

I have known about these child pageants ever since JonBenét Ramsey made news - JonBenét Ramsey the child beauty pageant contestant who was discovered murdered in her home in Boulder, Colorado in 1996. JonBenét's untimely death spawned numerous TV documentaries and print-press articles - scathing stories about the little girls who enter beauty pageants, dressed up like Barbie dolls with big hair, fake cosmetic teeth and spray-on tans.

But recently I have become even more aware of their existence, thanks to my friend Dee who introduced me to the American TV series "Toddlers and Tiaras".

"Toddlers and Tiaras" is a must-watch. I even stop playing Angry Bird to watch it. Sometimes I even put it before "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as I scroll through my DVD cable recorded TV titles.

Toddlers and Tiaras Website
Whoever does the editing of T&T should be nominated for a Pulitzer. The media is the message!

Every episode features two or three contestants and their parents, with cameramen following them around detailing their lives from the preparations at home, to their appearances at the pageant competitions, invariably held in Georgia Tennessee and Arkansas.

What I like about T&T is the way the image of a screaming toddler will be shown with a voice-over of the mother proclaiming how much little Kerleigh (sic) "just LOVES" being a pageant girl.

"She's our little pride and joy," a proud parent will say, only to be followed in the next screen with his off-spring saying to her proud daddy, "You stink, shut up!!!".

And then there are the classics, such as "What is Paisley having for lunch today?" from her Mommy, as the camera zooms in to little four-year-old Paisley picking her nose up to the third joint of her index finger.

"Everyone who knows Paisley calls her "The Little Turd" comments her proud mother. Proudly!

As well as its educational non-value, T&T is worth watching in that it keeps me up with the latest trends in American girls' names.

A while back, say in the late eighties, when using place names for females given names was beginning to become a bit too old-hat - when just about everyone under 12 was called "Chelsea" or "Britanny" - trend-setting parents, not wanting their child to be just one of the crowd, found the solution - a way of making their child stand out - by misspelling the kid's name. So the made up name "Caylee" became "Kayleigh", Masison "Maddyson" and China was on the baptismal certificate, misspelled as "Chyna".

Manhattan Kids, Au Naturel
But there's a limit to how much one can misspell without completely making the origin unguessable. Like "Kaylezs" from the misspelt "Kayleigh" which was once "Caylee". Or "Grayce" for "Grace"

For a while there, after the birth of Paltrow's daughter, Apple Blythe Alison Martin, I thought that we might be in for a run of fruit names. Pineapple, Avocado and Peach. I can just hear it, "Now Pomegranate, please put on your INSIDE voice now."

Or numbers - as in "Seven" - Seinfelds' George Costanza's favourite kid's name. "Now Six, give Five back his Tonka toy!"

But now ... now it's just words. Like "Heaven". And "Paisley". And "Puddle". I was going to quote Michael Jackson's "Blanket", but that is just a little too normal ...

And yet, even these aren't good enough. We need to misspell the words! I just came across a "Triniti". And a "Saryniti" (from Serenity???)

And there was I, 18 years ago, cringing at Australia's "Jaydon"s and before them, at the "Wayne"s and "Leanne"s. It could be worse. Instead of living in America in 2011, I could be living in Australia circa 1980.

Well, maybe not ...

The Middle Ages are looking better every day. Or should I spell that My-dell Ajays?


Anonymous said...

How 'bout Oxycontin, Benadryl or even (a boys mane) Viagra?
Or, if daddy is back from the wars, Prosthetic?
Sweet Jaysus, by all means back to the Middle Ages.

Vanessa said...

I'm all for the middle ages....except the dentistry must have been awful.

Plus don't get me started on the "Pear of Agony" hint - google it. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Vanessa, you just put me off my lunch!

vanessa said...

oops sorry - should have made a disclaimer. Do not look at while eating.

Warning - medieval torture device. Boy people were just sick back then.

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