Archive for March, 2010

Can’t hold out on the TV forever
March 26, 2010

Watching the bigger boy Wii

Eventually we’ll have to buy Jethro a TV at home. He was very taken with the Wii at the local pizza place.

You might notice the photo caption includes a pun, which came easily to me because potty training has begun in earnest. It’s messy at times.

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Crazy Granny
March 20, 2010

Looking up
March 18, 2010

The Evils of Branded Merchandise
March 12, 2010

The original and best

Winnie the Pooh is a wonderful, and much-loved character. Many people are fond of the related characters too (my personal favourite is Eeyore). Disney are fond of producing merchandise and selling it to all these enthusiastic fans. There isn’t a lot of merchandise for the original E.H. Shepard drawings, but I’m guessing this is to do with big media corporations not holding the rights to them.

The original illustrations are better, but what is my opinion against the churning of the Disney marketing-machine?

A number of my friends have been sucked into the machine by the currents created by the churning. No way I’m going to buy that crap, I thought. I’m a strong swimmer in these treacherous marketing depths.

I underestimated this marketing machine. Despite holding Jethro above my head, well away from the dangerous water, he still got splashed a little. It was enough to make him brand-aware. He’s not even two-years old yet.

Disneyfied Pooh

The propaganda started with Megan. After Jethro was born, her Winnie the Pooh zeal compelled her to shower Jethro with Winnie the Pooh gifts. It seemed to have no effect. I was pleased my protective influence was working.

In December, while visiting my parents, things escalated. My Dad decided to get Jethro a DVD to watch, featuring “My Friends, Tigger and Pooh!” All of a sudden. Winnie the Pooh is a CGI animated character, wandering about and solving mundane mysteries (like where can we find a lemon for some soup). They’ve added some other characters too. Christopher Robin has fallen out of vogue, and is replaced by an über-cheerful girl, and she owns a little terrier-type yapper-dog.
So even Disney’s take on A.A. Milne’s characters has morphed into something else. What’s next? Emo the Pooh? Though, in that case, all the characters will just resemble Eeyore.

Pulling back from the digression, the point is that Jethro now had a voice and movement to associate with all that merchandise he’d been accruing. Realising how awesome it was, he wanted more.

For a while we couldn’t walk passed a window featuring Pooh and friends without whining demands. At one point, we were buying clothes for him and he noticed a Disneyfied bag. While Angie was selecting shorts and shirts for him, he pulled the bag off the rack (deviously placed within reach of little people) and marched about with it triumphantly. Any attempt to take it from him was met with the most furious and vocal resistance. Now he has a Winnie the Pooh bag that he carries with him everywhere.

Purple Dorkosaur

Winnie the Pooh I can live with, but now Barney the Purple Dinosaur has come into my life.

This is entirely the crèche’s fault. They have a TV there—something we don’t have at home. For some godforsaken reason they pay Barney DVDs to the children. It really should be a crime against a humanity, but the children seem to love that dorky-purple-prehistoric-reptile.

Winnie the Pooh took a back-seat, and everything became Barney Barney Barney. Jethro has Barney books. He has a Barney plush-toy/bag. He has Barney balls (these aren’t so bad, because one can at least give the ball a good kicking).

The crèche assures me that Jethro will eventually tire of the lure of Barney by the time he turns six.

SIX! That is four more years of Barney fever.

Plush Toy Rabbit

I really tried hard from the beginning to steer Jethro down a more alternative route, where the mass-media propaganda would have no impact. The only sanctioned propaganda would be mine.

Jethro received a soft, fluffy plush-toy from his Aunty Jen. The rabbit is super cute and kind of looks like the image on the left (not exactly, but close enough). As part of my campaign I named that rabbit “Frank,” a reference to Frank the Rabbit from the cult classic film Donnie Darko.

Frank from Donnie Darko

I had planted the seed. One day Jethro would ask why Frank had been named Frank, and if I felt he was ready, I would tell him.

But no! Friggin’ happy happy Barney and Pooh have totally stomped all over my carefully tended garden, crushing the seedling I as nurturing.

I just cannot understand why there isn’t more Frank the Rabbit merchandise for kids.

Image credits: bibliodyssey; cr9245; ekonon; beautifulcataya; dclaudiob

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High Tea
March 7, 2010

How very sophisticated