IN THEIR THIRD-GRADE YEARBOOK, THESE BOYS WERE ELECTED "MOST LIKELY TO USE ROHYPNOL TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WORKING-CLASS GIRLS, AND THEN BE TOLD, 'YOU'RE DADDY'S MONEY WON'T HELP YOU NOW!' WHEN THEY ARE APPREHENDED BY THE DEDICATED DETECTVES OF THE SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, WHO FIND SEXUALLY-BASED OFFENSES ESPECIALLY HEINOUS"

Cat_main_boys

We suppose Hickey Freeman should be commended for somehow locating the two most smug nine-year-olds in America for its ad campaign, but we look at these guys and we don't want to dress our kids like them; we just want to take a swing at them.


WE'D GLADLY CUT OFF OUR OWN HAIR IF NBC WOULD AGREE NEVER TO AIR THIS FOOTAGE AGAIN

Tdy_curry_haircut_060301vsmallThe Today Show ran a Very Special Segment the other day, about Ann Curry, her daughter, and her daughter's friends, all of whom had let their hair grow for a year so that they could cut it off (on air, of course) and donate it to Locks of Love, a worthy organization which gives wigs made from real hair to girls who have alopecia or are undergoing chemotherapy. You can link to the video here, and you really should, especially if you're looking for a reminder of why you stopped watching the network morning shows in the first place. Before the segment aired, Curry wrote on her MSNBC  "blog":

. . . in my core, I know the best gifts are given anonymously, without needing attention or even thanks. I am also a reporter who doesn't like being part of the story, so much so, I have to be convinced to do what in the profession is called a "standup." 

Well, somebody sure "convinced" the Hell out of her on this one. Today aired a 10-minute segment, filmed over weeks, if not months, profiling Curry, her daughter, and her friends as they grew their hair for the cause. The footage of Curry's daughter and her crew is really sweet and lovely - they're a nice group of girls inspired to do a good thing, and they're completely sincere, especially when they meet in person the girl who will receive the wig to be made from their hair.

But the scenes of Curry and her daughter together have an astonishingly high Ick Factor, even by Today Show standards. In one scene, they're sharing an intimate moment on the couch at home, as Ann tells her girl how proud her own mother, a cancer victim, would have been if she could have lived to see her grand-daughter do this good deed. In another scene, they stroll through the park, a network camera filming them from a discreet distance, as the anchor whispers, "I'm so proud of you." Amazing how they were able to catch the family in an unguarded moment like that, isn't it? This staged mawk cheapens the whole exercise.

Inevitably, we all regroup outside Rockefeller Center, where Katie stands poised, shears in hand, to cut off Ann's hair. At one point, Couric says, "Ann is so beautiful, she'd look good with no hair," and Ann shoots her a look which can only mean, "No, Katie, I'd look good if YOU had no hair! Now pipe down; this is MY moment!"

In the end, hair is donated, cause is promoted, and the people from Locks of Love go home and have a long bath. But Curry has some nagging worries, as she writes online:

The real rub?  Later, the same day as the big hair event, I am flying to Africa for NBC News, to report on the ethnic cleansing in Darfur, a subject of international importance.  I can only hope the stories I bring back will generate as much public interest as my hair.

Well, maybe if you spent six months promoting those segments to death they might, but that wouldn't drive ratings like an on-air Tonsorial Event, would it?

RELATED STUDIES PERFORMED AT FD.COM HEADQUARTERS HAVE SHOWN THAT THIS ALTRUISTIC URGE FADES BY AGE 5, WHEN CHILDREN SIMPLY LAUGH AT ADULTS WHO DROP THINGS, THEN TURN BACK TO THEIR CONNECT-THE-DOTS BOOK

German researchers have performed experiments proving that toddlers as young as 18 months have the capacity for altruism. Without engaging the children directly, scientists would appear to accidentally drop books or clothespins and then react with sadness or frustration. Time after time, the child would toddle over, retrieve the fallen object, and give it back - but only if the researcher appeared to be upset about dropping it in the first place:

. . . the toddlers didn’t bother to offer help when he deliberately pulled a book off the stack or threw a pin to the floor, [Felix] Warneken, of Germany’s Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, reports Thursday in the journal Science.

To be altruistic, babies must have the cognitive ability to understand other people’s goals plus possess what Warneken calls “pro-social motivation,” a desire to be part of their community. “When those two things come together — they obviously do so at 18 months of age and maybe earlier — they are able to help,” Warneken explained.

DON'T WORRY, TARGET AUDIENCE, THE SYSTEM STILL WORKS

As Manhattan's preschool-age population continues to soar, nursery-school admissions are more competitive than ever. Today the Times offers the harrowing tale of a Yale-Harvard drug company executive with twins, who was put through the wringer by vicious preschool admissions officers with non-Ivy degrees, drunk with their power to play God with the fates of the next-generation ruling elite. The father - "despite his accomplishments!" - was forced to sweat bullets when it came time to write the twins' admissions essays. But he persevered - and then came the long wait for validation.

Betty Holcomb, the policy director of a Chelsea-based child-care referral service, put the fears of parents like our hero in a nutshell, with the article's straight-out-of-New-York-magazine money quote:

"Even if you're rich, you're not guaranteed a place in a preschool."

We know that coffee spilled in back seats of many a Town Car when people got to that line this morning. But, gentle reader, do not fear: The story has a happy ending. Like Rocky toppling Apollo Creed, like Sam Wainwright's telegram from London, there is redemption in the final reel. The twins "got into their parents' first choice of preschool two weeks ago."

Oh, thank God. But wait, a shaken reader might ask, I'm still feeling uneasy. Even though the twins were accepted to their first choice, it sure sounded like they had to wait on pins and needles, just like the rabble. Can't you reassure me, even a little, that the world still works as I imagine it does?

They were notified before most other parents because they applied through an early decision program.

Yesss!

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT SUCH ABSURD LIMITS ON FREE SPEECH WOULD CROP UP IN GERMANY, OF ALL PLACES?

Daniel Radosh reports today on German rules limiting parents' freedom to give their kids any name they choose, even lame ones. We're just glad we live in a country where we can name our kids Goofus, Aquaman, or even Cheesehead.

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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