Sunday, March 8, 2015

What-What?! Week of March 8th

Everyone in the house is sick.  It sucks.

I finally ironed patches onto everything, any by everything, I mean Saffron's Girl Scout sash, and the big kid's Lowe's aprons (they get a patch for each project they complete).

This weekend, Amazon sent me a "don't you want to buy stuff?!" email, with links to various genres.  The most interesting one it chose for me was Graphic Novel Biographies.  There are some pretty neat selections in there, some with better reviews than others (the Immanuel Kant one is very poorly rated).  Of course, you have to read the reviews closely, as the one 2-star review on Escape to Gold Mountain shows; the woman giving the review trashes it because it's not suitable for children.  Of course it's not suitable for children; it's written for adults, like many other graphic novels.  Seems like the same sort of person who would be surprised and horrified at the amount of gore in Princess Mononoke.

At any rate, I may be buying some books soon... assuming the library doesn't have them. :P

The American Girl Brand and Extravagance

My daughter has recently been obsessed with the American Girl catalogues (link to online version).  We have two now, a winter and a spring, and she pages through them nearly every day.  Earlier this week, she thought I was throwing away one of them, and was seriously distraught.  Often, she'll draw detailed pictures inspired by the scenes and products showcased on its pages.

I view the whole thing with mixed feelings.

I like the American Girl books.  I bought a set as a kid, and I treasured it.  I still have it.  The history in the books is really why I loved them, but there was also the connection with the characters, who were my age and dealing with some of the same daily issues (having to do chores, disagreeing with your parents, etc.).
Sweet Shoppe?  Check!
However, American Girl products are extravagant in every single detail.  The line of dolls is fine.  But what about all the other stuff?  Literally hundreds of accessories.  Doll-sized books?  A sweet shop set, complete with clothes, furniture, fake treats, an so on?  Oh, now they have dogs!  There are also babies.  And these are just the products.  The stores take to the next level.  The first time we went to one of the stores, I was just floored.  They have a café, and a salon that styles doll hair:
The café
The salon.
It is perfectly reasonable to argue that this isn't any different than Barbie, or My Little Pony, or what have you.  But I don't get Barbie and MLP magazines sent to my house, and they certainly do not have such luxurious stores, nor such ridiculous prices.

The article that brought on these thoughts was an opinion piece published in the Huffington Post this past holiday season, titled Why I Won't Be Buying an American Girl Doll This Year.  The photos of the other, less expensive dolls lying mangled in various places rung true.  My daughter tends to have more care for our current dolls, but her two brothers definitely do not have that same sense of care.  The boys seem to like the baby dolls better, but more so than that, they enjoy pretending to be babies themselves (when they play this way, hearing their high-pitched voices go even higher is both hilarious and deeply annoying).  My kids are too rough and tumble for American Girl dolls, just like I was as a kid.  Between that and my annoyance at the extravagance, we're not buying an American Girl doll.

(images from the NY TimesYahoo! NewsEvergreen Power Systems, MyOnCell Mobi Tours)

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