Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TLC: The Let's-dehumanize-people Channel?

Have you guys noticed the increase of television shows on networks like TLC that seem just designed to exploit people who are on the lower-end of the economic spectrum and/or who are somehow different or maybe even mentally or physically ill in some way?

I'm talking about shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo which is the newest atrocity. I admittedly haven't watched it but it is about people who are baring flubbery bellies with joy and leaping into mud puddles while a small child quips bizarre phrases like, "A dollar makes me holler Honey Boo Boo." and the whole family stands behind her arguing about whether or not they are rednecks.

What IS this? How is this entertainment?

Is anyone else reminded of days of yore when they used to basically capture people with genetic defects and parade them around the countryside in traveling caravans like they were animals in the circus?

And then there are the shows about people who have drug addictions, or who have so many possessions that they literally can't walk through their homes. How is this okay? These people have diseases - they have disorders, they need HELP and here we are stuffing chips in our faces on our couches watching them SUFFER THROUGH LIFE as if it is entertainment. As if we have nothing better to do than sit back and observe someone ruining their lives and endangering their families.

Doesn't this strike you as sick and twisted?

The shows that pretend to be about equality and awareness are some of the worst. Shows about Little People are constantly cropping up. And sure, maybe they are helping normalize the culture so that Little People don't get saddled with as much discrimination as before - at least I hope that's what's happening. But I can't help but wonder if those TV Executives are somehow sitting back and smirking to themselves, knowing that they're just exploiting a group of human beings that have been exploited since the beginning of time.

What is it about our culture that causes us to be fascinated by watching the difficulties of others? People have tons of kids - let's watch them go through drama! People are lower class and participate in activities that we wouldn't? Let's tune in and mock it! People are obese? Let's watch them struggle and huff and puff while we eat ice cream and take out.

It just seems so wrong, it just seems so dehumanizing.

I wish that these shows would stop being produced but I guess in order for that to happen there would have to be a decrease in an audience for them and, well, considering how many of these atrocities are getting churned out every seasons, that seems to be unlikely.

oh well. just my observation for the day. You know there's always one.

edit: since this post was written I have seen an ad for a new show coming on that is about a conjoined set of twins and how they live through life.

Seriously, if this isn't just a television channel exploiting the "circus freak show" mentality I don't know what is.

These are PEOPLE not acts. These are human beings and they should be treated as such, not exploited and put on TV for the general public to watch with unhinged jaws. Just because you CAN buy these people and get them to sign on the dotted line that they will do a television show doesn't mean that you SHOULD do that. We live in a culture that makes life difficult for people with differences. We live in a culture that is not accepting of handicaps and disabilities, that exploits those differences instead of normalizing them and incorporating them into society. These individuals probably really need the income and the fact that this evil television station is exploiting that sickens me. It really does.

They are not doing this in the name of Good and Equality. Let there be no mistake, they're doing this for the ratings, the numbers, the shock value and the cash. That is all each of these shows are to them. That is all each of these people - these lives - mean. Money in the bank.

How truly awful.

Monday, August 20, 2012

photoshoot: {beach session}

Earlier in the summer I was lucky enough to get to have a beach session with a beautiful family!

Below are just a few favorites from that session :) hope you enjoy!

all rights reserved, images encrypted and copyrited to Rhian Lockard of {for always}photography

Saturday, August 18, 2012

{photoshoot}: Oliver's Christening

I am so excited to be blogging this particular session I did! 

I was lucky enough to be present during the baptism of baby Oliver.  The ceremony took place in a gorgeous church and the day was just perfect. 

Hope you enjoy these photos! 

proud big sister!

Friday, August 17, 2012

coloring in the morning

my son is an artist-in-training. or, at least he's a crayon aficionado-in-training :)

he loves sitting down and coloring. He animatedly asks me to draw him trucks, cats, cars, choo-choo trains, and Mater or Lightening McQueen (from the movie Cars, of course).

The other day I saw a Cars coloring book and knew I had to grab it for him. This morning he got a chance to play with it for the first time and since he was sitting by the window while the lovely light filtered through I couldn't help but snap a few photos (of course) so here they are:

i know i'm biased but i really think he's so beautiful lol

Thursday, August 16, 2012

cool event to check out at GapKids this weekend!

This post is sponsored by GapKids. Check out all the fun Shine On activities at your nearest Gap store. For event dates and locations, visit Gap’s Facebook page and join the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #ShineOn.

I had the opportunity to write this very cool post about an event that's taking place at GapKids locations around the country! 

As you guys know, I am a creative and artistic person who believes in the power and importance of letting our children learn all about creative expression at a young age. 

Gap shares this vision because over the next two weekends in the Philadelphia area (and other areas, check Gap's site by clicking the logo above to find an event near you), they are putting on an incredibly cool event!!

Acclaimed artist and awesome blogger Merrilee Liddiard of mer mag is hosting Special Art Projects in select GapKids stores! These events were designed by Merilee Liddiard herself and were inspired by the GapKids and babyGap fall collections (which include the incredibly cute best new 1969 denim - Jewel Box Skinnies for girls (adorable new skinny jeans that come in bright stretchy denims (wish I could wear them)) and of course the Action Stretch Denim for boys (these jeans have literally been designed for playing ALL day, the denim is made to move - we love it!)). 

These events - called ShineOn Saturdays are designed to be fun and interactive for kids and families alike. They focus on education and FUN and you get to literally go into the store and participate in an art project with your kids! How great is that? From creating geometric masterpieces on canvas using paint and tape, to colorful custom journals that will get the kids ready to go back to school, these projects really focus on helping kids express their creativity. And seriously, how cool that they are designed and hosted by Merilee Liddiard??
check out this fun video for more info :)

For those of you who are in the Philadelphia area - this event starts THIS WEEKEND so mark your calendars! 

Upcoming GapKids Shine On Saturdays Events in Philadelphia 
Saturday, August 18 
GapKids @ Rittenhouse Square 
1510 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19103 

Saturday, August 25 
GapKids @ King of Prussia 
690 W. DeKalb Pike 
King of Prussia, PA 19406

If you're going let me know, maybe I'll see you there! And leave a comment and tell me how it went :)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

my son's toys are judging me.

My son's first steps were in pursuit of my vacuum cleaner. He had been wobbling his way around our house by holding onto furniture for months and then one night when I started cleaning he just took off running after it. Ten or more steps in hot pursuit of our trusty old Hoover.

Even now, almost a year later, he is still obsessed with the vacuum. He loves to take the attachments off and make a whirring sound while he touches the various knobs and dials. Hopefully this bodes well for our future and I'll have a teenager who just can't help but clean up after himself constantly (snort).

So you can imagine my elation when, last Spring, I found a toy vacuum that is just his size at a consignment sale. I proudly brought it home and presented it to him and, just as I suspected, he immediately fell into toy-appliance-love with it. He adores this thing. He plays with it every day (which, anyone who has a toddler knows is basically a miracle).

So, this should be where this happy tale ends, right?

I wish.

See, there's one vital flaw with this toy: it judges me.

I know I sound like a paranoid lunatic but I swear I'm not. I'm not even exaggerating the situation or saying that I'm imagining that its cold, empty, plastic eyes are mocking me (although, okay, they are). I'm being literal here. The vacuum actually literally judges me and criticizes the cleanliness of my home. Whenever my son pushes it across the floor, this vacuum says things like, "This place is a pig sty!" and "Somebody should really clean up around here!". Yea, you heard me right. That's seriously what it says.

At first I sort of chuckled to myself at these declarations and I even thought, "that's kind of funny!" But my amusement ended quickly after I found myself day after day watching as this vacuum looked around my house and told me how disgusting we are.  Every morning it says, "This place is a mess!" and it asks, "Does anyone clean up around here?" and every morning I want to yell, "Yea? Well if you don't like it why don't YOU do something about it, you jerk?"

I mean, maybe it's totally irrational but I can't help but defend myself whenever it's mocking the state of my home. I frequently retort with things like, "YOU try getting three hours of sleep last night and picking up all the toys all morning long. They only wind up on the floor again the second I turn around! You see if you can do it any better! I dare you!"

I can't decide if it was a genius move on the part of the manufacturer to make this vacuum so insulting or if it was the kiss of death. I mean, it is true that on that doomed day at the consignment sale I did only pay $4 for it and some amazon.com stalking reveals that its retail price is significantly higher than that (holy lord it costs $99 new!). I also distinctly remember (and should have heeded this as a bad omen) that there were two others of the exact same model sitting next to it at the sale. More seasoned mothers passed them all by as I thought to myself, "whoa, I am SO LUCKY to be snagging one of these!" how I laugh at my innocence. Now I know better, you see. Now I understand why all these vacuums found themselves in the 'Sell' piles: they're Rude! No wonder people want to rid their lives of these snarky toys.

On the other hand, my son is absolutely obsessed with it and therein is where the genius of the item lies. Were I ever to give in to my impulse to hurtle that thing through the sliding glass doors at the back of my house and into the flower bed, I know I would have to replace it. He would be devastated without it. So maybe that's the brilliance. Maybe this company knows they've created an addictive toy that our kids love and that we are forced to endure. And maybe they planned it so that eventually parents would give in to the anger and actually carry out our rage fantasies onto these toys. Maybe these corporate geniuses knew that there will eventually come a particularly exhausting morning when we will no longer be able to control ourselves and will find ourselves beating the vacuum to death with a high heeled shoe (that, let's be honest, we only have in the closet now for nostalgia and bug-killing purposes). Maybe if we kill these vacuums, the manufacturer is betting that we will then have to turn around and buy another one. Who would be able to resist the look of tearful guilt in our child's eyes after witnessing us murdering their (deserving) precious favored toy? Basically, it's like planned obsolescence in a sense only they know that it will be the customer breaking the toy intentionally and joyously after being pushed to the limit. Who needs new customers the executives at the toy company will think with a cackle when your current customers are making the same purchase multiple times? Mu-hahahahaha! (and then they stroke a fluffy but clearly evil white cat while sitting in their swivel chairs and puffing on cigars).

Either way, this vacuum is living on borrowed time and if I have to hear, "Look at all this dirt!" again coming from it's judgmental little face I might just lose it. Literally. That vacuum might get "lost" forever on trash day.

Check yourself, Vacuum. This is your final warning.