Knowledge is one of the most valuable and beautiful gifts that we can give ourselves in this world.
Ghandi once said "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." And while these words are so profound I put them on a sticky note next to my alarm clock in college in hopes it would motivate me to get my ass out of bed on time, there is something that peaceful little son of a bitch forgot to mention about knowledge.
Some things, no matter how hard you try, you just can't unlearn.
Sure, there are some things, such as the Snuggie, that make me a bit cranky. But if I was in a freezing car, broken down on the side of the road in the middle of a blizzard and needed to stay warm to stave off possible hypothermia, would I wrap myself in a Snuggie to keep warm? Of course not. But I wouldn't blame someone else if they did. Do what you need to do to to stay alive. But maybe just plan ahead next time and have a bathrobe handy instead. Or, you know....real clothes.
There are a few things, however, that when I research them send me into a fit of pale Irish fury so severe that I have difficulty forming complete sentences out loud. Luckily, this blog is all about the written word, so I will do my best to articulate in writing the heaping pile of bullshit I have just discovered courtesy of the interwebs.
Toddlers and Tiaras
I don't know if the rest of you are aware of this, but there is such a thing as a child beauty pageant. In these pageants, girls--and sometimes boys--as young a 8 months old (according to my cursory research) compete to see who will be named the child most likely to grow up to have severe psychological problems. It's like high school yearbook superlatives, except all of the contestants are still knee high to a duck and haven't yet begun trying to dry hump anything with a pulse.
What's that? The psychological problems aren't the prize? They're just potentially irreparable side effects? Good to know. Then they probably compete for money or a shitty trophy or something. I really couldn't care less.
I also think this is an important time to reiterate that children as young as 8 months old compete in these pageants. To put that in perspective, the average child is taught to stop routinely shitting his or her pants between the ages of 22 and 30 months.
The world of child beauty pageants has been made famous in recent years by a television program called Toddlers & Tiaras. In this program, mentally disturbed parents try to live vicariously through the meaningless success of their children by entering them into such competitions as the "Darling Diva Pageant" and "Little Miss Glitz." To my knowledge, there are no pageants named "Little Miss Beauty is on the Inside."
From what I hear, the show focuses predominantly on female participants, which I will have to accept as fact because I just plain refuse to watch it. These young girls are taught poise, self-confidence, and what it's like to have parents who see them less as a human being, and more as a living, breathing science project they can slap makeup on and show off to the judges.
At first glance, what concerns me most about these pageants is how the girls, who often times still don't know how to write their names by the time they are competing, look like creepy miniature versions of 25-year-old beauty pageant contestants. They have meticulously styled hair, layers of makeup, and fake eyelashes, just like their adult counterparts.
These girls are, quite honestly, the bonsai trees of the human world.
And did I mention some of them are so young they still shit their pants on purpose?
In the fifteen minutes I scoured YouTube for clips from Toddlers & Tiaras, I'm fairly sure I developed a medically treatable anger disorder. I saw mothers waxing their daughters' eyebrows, young children throwing tantrums because they didn't want to compete, and pixie sticks--the main ingredients of which I'm fairly sure are sugar, heroine, bad parenting, and bribery--being consumed by the handful. I came as close as I'll ever come to knowing how Wayne Brady felt when he inquired if there was a necessity for him to forcefully asphyxiate a woman.
An Excellent Source of Irony
As thoughts of requiring potential parents to have to pass an IQ test before conceiving a child darted through my head, I watched a clip of a mother that bleaches her daughters' teeth once a week. I paid close attention as she told her daughter her teeth were yellow and later commented to the 8-year-old that she had made her own gums bleed during the process. At the end of the clip, she pops her head out of the bathroom and chuckles at the fact that she keeps the bleach next to a book entitled The 7 Worst Things Parents Do.
I assume she was featured somewhere in the book, since when I googled it I found that #3 and #7 on this list of terrible things were "pushing your child into activities" and "expecting them to fullfil your dreams," respectively. I'm a man who loves irony, but that actually made me start to twitch a little.
Worse than ‘Nam?
The next clip I watched was of a mother giving each of her daughters a spray tan while one of them cried in the corner of the kitchen, begging to be excused from the process. Her mother, oblivious to the fact that this was an indicator she may like the idea of the pageants more than her daughter did, made the gifted observation that "if [my daughter] does not have it in her mind that she wants to do it, she’s going to whine about it." For the sake of perspective, this would be a pretty acceptable justification if we were talking about the child not wanting to eat their vegetables.
Shortly after, while spraying her inconsolable daughter with what I assume was leftover Agent Orange from the Vietnam War, the mother exclaimed, "Remember what I said about the tears and the streaks? You’re going to look like a zebra.”
...And you're going to look like a stupid bitch.
The Bear and Her Cub
The last clip I watched before deciding that my cardiovascular system could no longer contain my hatred began with a mother and daughter throwing an abnormally large number of rolls of paper towels at each other. While the reason for this was never actually explained, I'm guessing the girl's father, the Brawny Man, left when she was very young, and this is how she gets to know her father better.
This clip easily contained the most disturbing young girl I came across associated with this show. She spoke like a child would if they had been conceived by way of a drunken, backseat encounter between Crystal Meth and ADHD. And she had crazy eyes that felt like they could see into your soul and make it commit suicide.
Her mother, who was a woman of many necks and brought about a whole new meaning to the term "Mamma Grizzly," explained to the camera that she feeds her daughter "special juice" because it gives her the extra bit of energy she needed to impress the judges. She drinks this "go-go juice," the mother explains, because they went through 15 boxes of pixie sticks at one pageant without being able to get their desired level of energy. That's not a sarcastic joke. She fucking said that.
The clip then cut to the daughter spinning around on the floor on her stomach while I died a little inside. Her mother probably went on to explain something about the legitimacy of child beauty pageants, but all I could really make out was her ear-raping Southern drawl muffled by a mouth full of bear claws.
Maybe Dory Had Memory Problems Because Of All The Terrible Things She Saw…
I'm sure it's possible that participating in a pageant to teach a child valuable traits such as self-confidence and poise. However, it's also true that these values could be gained through participation in a multitude of other activities. These pageants are about who can put on the most makeup, dress in the nicest clothes, and win--life lessons that are so painfully misguided that the child's moral compass probably thinks it got slipped a roofie.
Beyond that, I consider these pageants the second creepiest thing in America, right behind Gary Busey. These events require toddlers to strut across a stage wearing a swimsuit, appear to be held in hotel conference rooms that are filled with no one besides the judges, the parents of the contestants, and all pedophiles within a 100 mile radius.
This idea is disputed by one mother who recently dressed her 3-year-old daughter as Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman, who stresses that there are far more pedophiles at the park or the beach than in a room full of 5-year-olds dressed as prostitutes, Daisy Dukes, and Dolly Parton. "The whole idea was for people to see the comedy behind it," she said in defense of the hooker costume. "It's like when you take your children to a kids' movie, there's always adult humor that the parents get that the children don't get and that's what it was about."
It's like that time in Finding Nemo Dory wouldn't kiss Marlon on the mouth. All the kids thought it was because Marlon had cooties, but the parents knew it was really because Dory had fish sex for money and was trying to avoid any risk of intimacy and emotional attachment. You know...comedy...
In the end, all I really just want to attend one of these things, call up social services and tell them to bring a van, cause they've hit the jackpot.
And after that I'm going to the doctor, because I'll be shocked if learning about child beauty pageants hasn't caused lasting detrimental effects on me.
Thanks, Ghandi. You asshole.