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Thursday, August 25, 2016

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Those are so cool. Why am I immediately imagining some horrid creature like the Joker appearing amidst them, or them coming to life and scaring people? Is it simply that we've all seen so many movies where fun or childish or celebratory things are twisted around into scary ones? Or is the news just curdling me? No need to answer, just blathering...

For some reason, they made me want to hunt out those photos that guy took of abandoned mental hospitals and the poignant ordinary objects precious to their owners(suitcases full of personal possessions put in storerooms, never to be retrieved). I think of all that things mean to us. Security, magic, escape, status, comfort, protection, self-assertion, etc. In our current trendy flirtation with minimalism, we forget how precious certain things are.

Masks are interesting because they liberate a person from themselves. The wallflower can behave like a duchess for an evening, or the black sheep of the family act like a beatific St Francis, and there's a kind of magic in those paper mache masks that make this possible. The promise of a new identity.

Dolls can either bring back fond memories of happy childhood play or of miserable clinging to a toy for comfort, feeling unloved. Or of NOT receiving the doll one pleaded for, for Christmas. Dolls are also one of the first big sources of disappointment for little girls (or were in my day) because they are advertised as so lifelike, shown as like a real soft, responsive baby, then all you get is a hard plastic thing with shoddy clothes, and arms that pop off, and shoes that get lost. Your little brother runs away with it and you find it headless....But the main thing is you (back in simpler times) wanted that baby doll to croon to, cuddle, take care of, but it proved very unrewarding, fragile, and uglier than the ads. Perhaps good preparation for life, but not happy...The really beautiful dolls were those stupid collector's dolls that no parent ever bought a child but that some greedy grandmothers would get ostensibly for grandchildren, but actually just to collect for themselves. "DON'T TOUCH!" I think it's these kinds of fraught memories, and ambivalences, that make fertile territory for people to believe those horror movies where dolls that look cute become murderous. Back to my chores...

I think you've got some valid points there about dolls from the "good ole days". I have 3 granddaughters and I think dolls are so much better today. Even the horrendously expensive American Girl dolls can actually be played with and dressed and put to bed, etc. They are for girls 6 and older though. But the best dolls are the almost as horrendously expensive Corolle dolls. They are soft and can take the "care" a 2 year old gives them. Each girl was different and each one showed me in their own special way that nurturing must be learned -- it's not a given!

I'll stop now. I'm overdue for a grandchild fix.

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