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Commentary and thoughts on Honey Boo Boo
August 31, 2012 10:50 AM   Subscribe


 
Why does the headline of that article say Don't Judge Honey Boo Boo, then the article is about not judging her mother. They are different people.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:58 AM on August 31, 2012


As I stated in one of the previous deleted Honey Boo Boo threads, this show is but a single symptom of the disease. TLC has attempted, rather successfully, to become the 21st century equivalent to a carnival sideshow.

FREAKS! REDNECKS! DWARFISM! CONJOINED TWINS! POLYGAMISTS! HOARDERS! DRUNKS! DRUG ADDICTS! FETISHISTS!

LET US ALL GAWK AT THEM!

LET US ALL GAWK AT THE FREAKS!

This AV Club review of "Abby & Britney" suggests that even the TLC bosses themselves may be growing slightly uncomfortable with this aspect of their channel, given the comparatively understated, respectful manner in which they are promoting the show.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:00 AM on August 31, 2012 [21 favorites]


If you're interested in this topic, you should really listen to this week's episode of Slate's Culture Podcast -- what they have to say about the show was really interesting and much more intelligent than most of the commentary I've read.

(As I was listening to it, I considered keeping the smart things I agreed with in my head so that if this topic came up here, I could just use it all as my own, but I'm (a) wracked with academic honor code guilt when it comes to Metafilter and (b) don't remember and (c) I will steal the stuff the say about the horribleness of the public wedding proposal because it's even more right on.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:00 AM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think it's just a TV show. Just like not every song has to change your life, not every TV show has to "say something about american culture" in a meaningful way. Sometimes, it's just about entertaining people and giving them what they want to see.
posted by dethb0y at 11:04 AM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


All of mainstream culture is engineered to make the great majority of people feel superior to:

A) crazy, out-of-touch rich people who have no common sense

B) crazy, out-of-touch poor people who have no common sense

It's a big warm hug of manufactured complacency for the masses.
posted by hermitosis at 11:04 AM on August 31, 2012 [36 favorites]


As for my own opinion (which is also a spoiler for the podcast I recommended) the people to judge in this scenario are:

1) TLC
2) The audience of the show
.....


Eventually, probably, but way down on the list the Guardians of Honey Boo Boo.*

and absolutely never, no matter how star-posing and attitude-full, a 6 year old kid.

* Guardians of Honey Boo Boo = best unknown Ruby Spears production ever.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:06 AM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Honey Boo Boo exists to take attention away from the Kadashians so they can complete their plan to take over the GOP. Pass it on.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:06 AM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


These people are damaging their daughter in the name of fame and celebrity, and we're giving it to them. Maybe the best approach would be to not talk about them so much?
posted by rocket88 at 11:07 AM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Every time I start talking about Honey Boo Boo, I end up sounding like Britta Perry.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:07 AM on August 31, 2012 [20 favorites]


It's strangely compelling and is probably the carrier for an updated Videodrome signal.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:09 AM on August 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


Remember when TLC stood for "The Learning Channel"?
posted by KGMoney at 11:10 AM on August 31, 2012 [66 favorites]


What I didn't understand about the honey boo boo story is how they made money for pageants by buying hundreds of dollars worth of on-sale products. Unless you actually need thirty seven bottles of detergent and five hundred sticks of deodorant, you're not actually saving money when you buy them, no matter how marked down they are... right? Maybe I just don't get how extreme couponing works, because when they explained it, it just sounded like throwing an extra banana away for every frozen banana sold.
posted by crackingdes at 11:10 AM on August 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


I've been thinking about Honey Boo Boo since the last post. There are a lot of issue to unpack.

What is up with the mom? Dunno, but kids that age engage in all sorts of competitive activities , football, baseball, soccer. What we are unfomfortable with is a percieved sexuality in the clothes and makeup. If you think of clothes and makeup not at sexuality enhancers but as decoration, this may be no more than dressing up your dog. All parents decorate their kids, not many so excessively.

What is up with Honey Boo Boo? Dunno, but she seems to crave affection. I am not going to paint her as a victim, but she is a kid. Kids do what they need to do to get their parent's love.

What is up with America? Dunno, but all cultures have equally strange shit. We like to act like we are the most fucked up. This is a sort of backhanded American triumphalism pacticed by the same people that would decry chants of "America, America". It is odd. We are like every other country.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:10 AM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have to thank all of you that are watching this and talking about it. Because of your articles and discussions, it has been real easy to not even consider watching it (even if watching only to be able to join into discussions about how bad it is).

I'm sure my life is better because of all of you...thank you, thank you... (this will be my only contribution to this thread, because I didn't WTFS)
posted by HuronBob at 11:12 AM on August 31, 2012


I hate to break it to y'all but this family is not some freakish outlier that tlc hunted high and low for so we could be amazed at their outlandishness. They are us. There are more Junes than Desperate Housewives in this country by a longshot. Trying to pretend otherwise is denial.
posted by fshgrl at 11:13 AM on August 31, 2012 [15 favorites]


Next to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore is The Godfather II, The Real Housewives of New York City a John Updike novel.

Now I know what true fear is.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 11:15 AM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please stop caring about this. Please. I beg of you.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:17 AM on August 31, 2012 [21 favorites]


rocket88: "These people are damaging their daughter in the name of fame and celebrity, and we're giving it to them"

I'm not sure how much they are damaging their daughter though... by giving her lots of attention, by making sure they make money so they might not live in their (always highlighted by TLC) crappy house by the railroad tracks her whole life. So what? If we're going to condemning her mother, we might as well start condemning everybody who lets their kids work in TV. At least we have Dana Plato to look at it to show that fictional TV stardom can be bad for kids; let's wait until the reality TV generation grows up to see just how damaged they are.

I think a bunch of this problem goes back to the hillbilly issue -- an issue that is just scratched in the surface of the article posted. I think people are uncomfortable with June's attitude and acceptance with herself -- she's the one bringing their redneckness, her being overweight and flaunting her body, her everything to the forefront (with some helpful producers) -- but it makes people feel like they know best. It's weirdly and problematically paternalistic from this perspective.

That said, this is pretty much me playing devil's advocate -- my visceral reaction of absolute horror to pretty much everything about the show in practice means I can never watch it. But I think a lot of people who are watching it and getting off on that same horror. And I think that's worse.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:18 AM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


All of mainstream culture is engineered to make the great majority of people feel superior to:

A) crazy, out-of-touch rich people who have no common sense


Isn't that what the RNC was all about?

I just tweeted about Honey Poo Poo face. I want to know WHY we have such a thing, why are we making people like this rich and famous?
Or Senators, Govenors, potential presidents?
posted by stormpooper at 11:19 AM on August 31, 2012


This doesn't make me feel superior to anyone, it just makes me feel sad.
posted by tommasz at 11:22 AM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is up with the mom? Dunno, but kids that age engage in all sorts of competitive activities , football, baseball, soccer. What we are unfomfortable with is a percieved sexuality in the clothes and makeup. If you think of clothes and makeup not at sexuality enhancers but as decoration, this may be no more than dressing up your dog. All parents decorate their kids, not many so excessively.

I had no idea who or what a honey boo boo was, so I looked it up and watched a Youtube video. In that time I saw a six year old play with her stomach, spin while drinking some kind of green drink, and talk inanely, but not age inappropriately.

At no point was I uncomfortable with her sexuality.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:23 AM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nothing says quality tv and family life like having 4 kids from different felons. AWESOME! Including a child sex offender.

I'm sorry, this is not about poor Honey Boo Boo Child be exploited nor them making so much money they can change their ways and their lives. There is no friggen way this June woman is making that much money and seeing her pattern, that family, mom, kids aren't going anywhere except one more room in that house. I find them all disgusting, unhealthy, and wish they would just get off the planet. They aren't about calling poor people rednecks, they're talking about people who deliberately enjoy feeding into a stereotype and bringing their entire family with them. Those daughters dont' have a chance in hell in life. I don't find any of their behavior nor show amusing, entertaining, or an introspect into a way of life I know nothing about. I just find them vile and pathetic.

The woman had gnats around her infected toe and they thought that was so friggen funny at the water park. Sure, let's infect others with our "forklift foot" ha ha. And let's have a 6 year old talk about "dollar to make me holla". Oh my god that is so amusing and entertaining.

They're fucking gross period.
posted by stormpooper at 11:27 AM on August 31, 2012 [10 favorites]




If June were rich, Alana would be registered in tap or drama class. She’s not, so she does pageants and reality TV.

I may not be fond of sugary drinks - but yeah, it does seem that so much of the horror stems from the fact that what this family does isn't "classy".
posted by jb at 11:29 AM on August 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


At no point was I uncomfortable with her sexuality.

Maybe you aren't but many people are uncomfortable with "toddlers and tiara" type pagents because they feature clothes and makup of typically much older women.

I think the notion that there is a good way to become famous and a bad way to become famous may be outdated. With the internet and cable tv it no longer takes a lifetime of work and building a following to become famous. There is now nearly unlimited fame bandwidth.

As for why people like stuff I don't like. I don't think of things as good or bad, but only as fitting requirements. Things I like are not "good" they simply match certain requirements I have , most of which are subconcious and I am unaware of.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:29 AM on August 31, 2012


The woman had gnats around her infected toe and they thought that was so friggen funny at the water park. Sure, let's infect others with our "forklift foot" ha ha.

I've only seen the show in snippets, but yeah...that's nasty.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:31 AM on August 31, 2012


I have to admit I sat down and watched an episode.

When Cops first came on, there was something cathartic about watching real idiots having a much, much worse day than you will (hopefully) ever have. And no one watching said "man...I want to be that drunk naked guy who just got tazed" or "wow, that guy who just rolled the stolen car going 100...he's cool". It was very much "you don't want to be that person".

Now, we're buried in an ocean of semi-real schadenfreude-porn shows where the victims or whatever you want to call them are running around going "look the fuck at ME! I'm FAMOUS!". I kept expecting the camera to pan to someone off screen waving a twenty dollar bill and mouthing "more crazy shit" and doing the I-know-you-want-it finger gesture. Even worse, there's just enough implied "look how easy it is to have your own TV show" that I'm betting there's going to be a never ending stream of these things spawned from a generation that's been convinced that fame is more important than dignity. This show is even worse, because it *explicitly* says "if being famous means fucking up your kids too, then do that".
posted by kjs3 at 11:33 AM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure how much they are damaging their daughter though... by giving her lots of attention

At Alanna's age, I would have been all about being in front of the camera and I would have loved to have starred in a TV show.

okay, I probably would still love to star in a reality show, if anyone wanted to watch one about "35-year-old reads too much, never does the dishes and spends too much time on the internet".
posted by jb at 11:34 AM on August 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


Remember when TLC stood for "The Learning Channel"?

I do. Remember when TLC used to run shows about surgeries? As in "now we will remove his appendix [CLOSE UP OF GUTS]."
posted by cosmic.osmo at 11:34 AM on August 31, 2012 [13 favorites]


Weird...I'd heard of a Honey Boo Boo but I didn't know what it was until my wife and I (up late with our newborn half-consciously channel flicking) stumbled upon the show last night. My only question is - why isn't this shut down for child abuse? Seriously...I think she feeds the kid energy drinks.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:35 AM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


All of mainstream culture is engineered to make the great majority of people feel superior to:

A) crazy, out-of-touch rich people who have no common sense

B) crazy, out-of-touch poor people who have no common sense


Yes, that totally explains The Avengers, the biggest movie of the year. It also totally explains CSI and NCIS shows (any of which is seen by ten times as many people as Honey Boo Boo or Jersey Shore). Is some "mainstream culture" the result of people liking to look down on people who are different? Sure. But it requires a tremendous amount of cherry-picking or active spinning to say that anywhere near all of it is.
posted by Etrigan at 11:36 AM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Remember when TLC stood for "The Learning Channel"?

I do. I also have only hazy memories of them ever actually being about learning. They were knee deep in air shows about weddings and babies in the mid-late 90s.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:37 AM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously...I think she feeds the kid energy drinks.

They call it "go-go juice," and it's a 50/50 blend of Red Bull and Mountain Dew. Apparently they only give it to her before pageants. OH MY GOD, WHY DO I KNOW THESE THINGS?
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:37 AM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


okay, I probably would still love to star in a reality show, if anyone wanted to watch one about "35-year-old reads too much, never does the dishes and spends too much time on the internet".

I got your sequel right here, replete with cats and a basket of unfolded laundry.
posted by desjardins at 11:43 AM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


TLC: Gooba-gabba. We accept you. One of us.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:50 AM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


[MetaTalk and/or the contact form are available if you have complaints or concerns about MeFi in general.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:00 PM on August 31, 2012


I give this show three thumbs up.

(Yes, I'm a terrible person. I know, I know.)
posted by ColdChef at 12:02 PM on August 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


It bugs me that a lot of people are judging the family in this show. I know is that TLC wants us to laugh at the dumb rednecks, but I'm not laughing (and when I am, I'm laughing with them). They seem like a solid family, they don't give a shit what anyone thinks of them (how many 15 year old girls would have the confidence to weigh themselves on national TV?), and even the pageant stuff seems pretty decent.

My wife watches Toddlers & Tiaras and some of those parents are clearly living out their dreams through their kids (who often don't want to be there). Alana, aka "Honey Boo Boo," seems to genuinely enjoy being in pageants and so her parents support her despite not having a lot of money to invest in costumes and such.

Also, they're not stupid. A bit crude and ignorant, perhaps, but definitely not stupid.

Frankly, I expected a train-wreck of a TV show that I'd feel like a dick for watching. What I've actually seen is a surprisingly funny show about a pretty awesome family. It's downright heartwarming.

That said, it pretty much is the perfect storm of modern TLC programming: child pageants, pregnant teens, extreme couponing...
posted by asnider at 12:06 PM on August 31, 2012 [21 favorites]


Also, it annoys me the way the show is edited. Mama burps while she's doing an interview? Let's leave it in for maximum laughter! Never mind that we'd edit that out if it were any other show.
posted by asnider at 12:09 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


The source for that '4 kids from different felons' factoid is the National Enquirer.

I don't even.
posted by Quonab at 12:11 PM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


As much as TLC is a modern-day sideshow, it's also kinda the exact opposite.

There's definitely a carnival barker luring you in, no doubt: "Come and get a load of these freaks!" On paper, the shows sound like the most dehumanizing thing ever. Once you're in, it becomes immediately apparent that these are just regular people living regular lives.

The freak show aspect is just the hook. I'm sure TLC would love to run shows about average-height non-conjoined middle-class people who never fart and have a reasonable number of children, but how do you sell that? (Without forcing them to swap wives, I mean.)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:15 PM on August 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, it annoys me the way the show is edited. Mama burps while she's doing an interview? Let's leave it in for maximum laughter!

Yeah, I saw that part on The Soup (yes, I know, I'm ironically supporting this exploitation, but I like Joel McHale), and it sealed this thing for me. It wasn't a small thing, and it wouldn't have been the least bit difficult for them to edit out. That's not something you do because you're trying to show that these are just regular people with an odd hook -- that's something you do because at your center, you hate the people you're showing and you want other people to hate them as well.
posted by Etrigan at 12:22 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Frankly, I expected a train-wreck of a TV show that I'd feel like a dick for watching. What I've actually seen is a surprisingly funny show about a pretty awesome family. It's downright heartwarming.

I agree. My daughters love Toddlers and Tiaras so I have watched many episodes with them. Alana is one of the few kids who isn't spoiled, heck, she rarely wins because she really doesn't fit the norm. June often tells her that she is not sexy, but cute.

The reaction seems to be so classist to me. OMG-they occasionally feed their kids sugar and caffeine. Their house (which looks a lot better than the farm I grew up on) is "crappy". They get pregnant and have babies with extra digits. Lots of baby daddys out of the picture. They get dirty in mud.

I see a pretty happy family who do a lot of things I personally wouldn't choose for my family, but I don't see any child neglect or abuse. I would rather hang with this family than a lot of smug, hip,"educated" people I know...
posted by Isadorady at 12:32 PM on August 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't care if it's a boy or a girl as long as it has twelve fingers and twelve toes.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:36 PM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


What is up with America? Dunno, but all cultures have equally strange shit.

America, I'd like you to meet Japan.
posted by Slothrup at 12:40 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Etrigan: "that's something you do because at your center, you hate the people you're showing and you want other people to hate them as well."

You really think that is the best a team of professional writers, videographers and editors can do to make us hate someone they are filming non-stop? A burp? They leave the burps and the head scratching and the dirt in to make them real. You could make the case that this show is one of the most real depictions of an American family ever on television.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:46 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


The point here isn't that it's strange, it's that these people are relatively normal Americans.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:46 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


America, I'd like you to meet Japan.

Yep, I know is isn't cool to say japan is weird, but those fuckers are weird. There is a Japanese word that is a mixture of artisan and master craftsman but goes farther and implies thay you have become one with your art. That is what those guys are with weird.

They gave us the love pillow and the dirty panty vending machine. If there was a competition judged by an alien overlord America might, might, come in third after Japan and Brazil.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:49 PM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just watched this.

I'm not sure I believe Honey Boo Boo is a real 6-year-old child. I'm pretty sure this child has been possessed by the angry spirit of a particularly-camping drag queen.
posted by jefficator at 12:53 PM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


SWPLs criticize them because they are the wrong kind of white people. Go-go juice? Bad. Goji juice? Yum! (so long as it's organic, of course)
posted by Tanizaki at 12:53 PM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


But, I like clutching my pearls.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:55 PM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's okay to not like things, but don't be a dick about the things you don't like.

Turn it off.
Change the channel.
Write an angry missive to the network, being careful not to fog your monocle or knock your top hat askew in anger.
posted by THAT William Mize at 12:57 PM on August 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


This family is not weird; I've met lots of folks like them. Most of this pearl-clutching is classism.
posted by The Sprout Queen at 1:06 PM on August 31, 2012 [12 favorites]


Rock Steady: "Etrigan: "that's something you do because at your center, you hate the people you're showing and you want other people to hate them as well."

You really think that is the best a team of professional writers, videographers and editors can do to make us hate someone they are filming non-stop? A burp?
"

Clearly no, but I think they're underpaid and probably not interested in doing their best, so...
posted by boo_radley at 1:06 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


My only question is - why isn't this shut down for child abuse? Seriously...I think she feeds the kid energy drinks.

This is normal. No, really. I can't tell you how many kids I've seen with energy drinks. And soda in the baby bottle.

But I guess as someone said in another thread, every generation is full of terrible parenting.
posted by Malice at 1:06 PM on August 31, 2012


This family is not weird; I've met lots of folks like them. Most of this pearl-clutching is classism.

Pretty much this.
posted by Malice at 1:07 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is normal. No, really. I can't tell you how many kids I've seen with energy drinks. And soda in the baby bottle.

I had half a cup of coffee after dinner every day as a kid Alana's age. Partially because everyone else was drinking coffee and partially to stop me from falling asleep at 6pm
posted by Ad hominem at 1:11 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


For a different spin on Honey Boo Boo, you could always check out the movie Bamboozled. "Feed the idiot box. Feed the idiot box."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:38 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had half a cup of coffee after dinner every day as a kid Alana's age.

I remember reading about some country (probably Brazil) that did a study where they gave kids a "coffee break" at school during recess. The "coffee" was just maybe a quarter cup's worth, heavily diluted with milk, so it's not like they were forcing the kids to down multiple espresso shots. Anyway, the result of the study is that student performance went up by an entire grade level, on average, with C students becoming B students, etc.

That's coffee, though, which is god's own medicine. Red Bull is Satan's own urine.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:48 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Red Bull is Satan's own urine.

It's also ridiculously expensive, especially considering there are dozens of off-brands (probably made in the same factory from the same syrup) that sell for considerably less.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:52 PM on August 31, 2012


Well, on the bad side it acted as a gateway drug. At my peak I was up to 6-8 ventis a day, now I am at maybe 4 a day plus 2 litres of Iced Tea. Actually right now I have a diet coke, an iced coffee and a bottle of Gold Peak Unsweetened Iced Tea open and I'm still sleepy.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:58 PM on August 31, 2012


You can’t tell that pig what to do.

Indeed.
posted by Splunge at 1:58 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


[T]hat's something you do because at your center, you hate the people you're showing and you want other people to hate them as well.

You really think that is the best a team of professional writers, videographers and editors can do to make us hate someone they are filming non-stop? A burp? They leave the burps and the head scratching and the dirt in to make them real.


I'm sure that's what those professionals tell themselves, yes. They may even believe it. But you and I will have to disagree that they are not contemptuous of their subjects. Their leaving in that burp was the editing equivalent of that guy at the party who brags about how he's so "brutally honest," yet his "honesty" always seems to manifest itself in insults.
posted by Etrigan at 1:59 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


These people aren't weird. Country, yes, weird, no.

Heck, when I was small, on the two days a week my mom and I hung out at my grandmother's house while dad was at work, I always got toast and coffee for breakfast (to be eaten and drunk whilst watching Captain Kangaroo.) The toast was drenched in butter and cooked in a skillet, and the coffee was well sugared with a generous helping of evaporated milk for the creamer. I joke and say that coffee stunted my growth, but it's one of my fondest childhood memories.

Now, is gogo juice good for children? Of course not. But of all the pageant kids I have seen on Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo seems the most well adjusted of the lot.

Good for her.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:07 PM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


why isn't this shut down for child abuse? Seriously...I think she feeds the kid energy drinks.

So soda/energy drinks for kids is child abuse now? lol. Thats warping the term beyond all recognition, IMO.

Also it would mean that most kids of my generation were abused. Yay us!
posted by wildcrdj at 2:16 PM on August 31, 2012 [3 favorites]


These people aren't weird. Country, yes, weird, no.

Country is weird to a lot of us city folks.

Honey Boo Boo seems the most well adjusted of the lot.

I was just laughing with a co-worker about how "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" beat the heck out of the RNC in the Nielsen ratings, and pointed out that whatever else you say about them, it is kind of admirable that they don't oversexualize the kid at the pageants.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:19 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is up with America? Dunno, but all cultures have equally strange shit.

America, I'd like you to meet Japan.


Japan's shenanigans are wacky and fun. TLC's shenanigans are cruel and tragic.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:24 PM on August 31, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've never seen any of this footage before. I just watched this bit that jefficator linked to and all I can think is how awesome it would be to have an enormous pile of paper towel rolls to have a fight with.

I'm not quite clear on why energy drinks would even be considered bad for kids. Is there any medical evidence of it causing real problems? I can see that it makes them more of a handful for the parents taking care of the kids but that would seem to be the parents' problem. If it established habits of being constantly active I'd think it could actually be beneficial and counteract the tendencies towards obesity that are endemic today.
posted by XMLicious at 2:25 PM on August 31, 2012


I'm all kinds of conflicted, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to watch this. That's exactly how I feel about the Whites of West Virginia (see previously), although the Whites, loyal as they are to each other, are less about adorable family togetherness and more about oxycontin.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:34 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I vaguely remember one of the top contestants featured on Spellbound, the spelling bee movie, was asked about her interests and hobbies, and in a quiet measured voice she said something like "I like coffee. I like making the coffee and drinking the coffee." It was adorable. And yeah, coffee is awesome!

Anyway, if you ask me "go-go-juice" is just a more fluorescent, less NPR-friendly version. So right on, little caffeinated girls.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:35 PM on August 31, 2012


What I didn't understand about the honey boo boo story is how they made money for pageants by buying hundreds of dollars worth of on-sale products. Unless you actually need thirty seven bottles of detergent and five hundred sticks of deodorant, you're not actually saving money when you buy them, no matter how marked down they are... right? Maybe I just don't get how extreme couponing works, because when they explained it, it just sounded like throwing an extra banana away for every frozen banana sold.

The 'hidden secret' of extreme couponing is that you take those extra basically free products and resell them at a discount, usually at some kind of 'garage sale.'

I don't know whether or not it's legal (but I doubt it - products are prominently labeled NOT FOR RESALE). But yeah, no one into extreme couponing talks about it.
posted by muddgirl at 2:42 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, more on-topic, I sort of love kids like Alana/Honey Boo Boo who have been exposed to, and therefore mimic, different aspects of culture than what is entirely mainstream. Fictionalized kids never read very true to me because they're never mimicing anyone, and mimicry is basically what kids are best at.
posted by muddgirl at 2:49 PM on August 31, 2012


Alana’s trademark phrases and mannerisms—“a dollar makes me holler,” a particular head swivel she does—are informed by racist stereotypes of black women.

I don't understand this criticism from the Slate article. When Hipsters do things like imitate black slang, they are doing it self-consciously and ironically. I would be reluctant to call that 'racism', but it is predicated on a certain kind of condescension (i.e. I'm so obviously middle class and white that imitating these lower class, non-white mannerisms will not be mistaken for authentic expressions). However the mannerisms of the girl in the video linked above (my sole familiarity with this show) are most likely unironic and unselfconscious. I suspect what makes the author uncomfortable is that higher status white people find low-class black mannerisms viscerally irritating, however they keep these feelings somewhat muted in order to avoid the status-swamp of racism. But white people mostly gain status by mocking and criticizing low class white people. So low class whites that adopt low class black mannerisms then create a kind of uncomfortable contradiction for the Right Kind of White. If you mock these mannerisms you are also mocking blacks.

It would appear one way to square this circle is to accuse whites who actually interact with and share cultural traits with black people (something "non-racist" higher class whites don't do) of "stealing" black culture or labeling cultural syncretism "a form of racist mimicry".
posted by dgaicun at 2:56 PM on August 31, 2012 [14 favorites]


Thanks for that paradigm shift, metafilter. I had this show sort of mentally categorized as "ew trash"... maybe from seeing that bit of Alana & June on Toddlers & Tiaras (not a fan, it was just on after Say Yes to the Dress or something and I was lazy).

Now I've got to watch an episode to find out how much of my ew reaction is classism.
posted by Baethan at 3:04 PM on August 31, 2012


Honestly, the part of the show I find most depressing is that Kaitlyn's father has opted out of any responsibility for her, but everyone -- participants and viewers -- is stuck on neck crust and farting.
posted by gnomeloaf at 3:09 PM on August 31, 2012


They're exploiting a woman who has gnats buzzing around her toe infection and those of us who find it gross... WE'RE the assholes? What. The fuck. Ever.
posted by grubi at 3:13 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know a reality tv story editor and I can tell you that making these shows is just a job. They put stuff together so it sells. Very little thought goes into the morality of it all. Bottom line.

Anecdote: A certain cable channel named after animals and a planet requested that all footage of animals be cut out of a reality show about alaska because "we want to change our image."

We are not talking about real people when we discuss these shows we are talking about products. I find it a little sad that these little kids are products but I don't think it is any different than watching movies with the Fanning kids. It is showbiz. Just because it is labeled reality tv doesn't in any way mean what you see is what is really going on.
posted by M Edward at 3:17 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Go-go juice? Bad. Goji juice? Yum!
posted by benzenedream at 3:18 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I haven't seen the coffee bit but if the kid is drinking Yuban or some other brand it is not about the coffee as much as it is about the product placement. Do you really think the Pawn Stars guys eat at Subway and talk about eating fresh?
posted by M Edward at 3:24 PM on August 31, 2012


It's kind of impossible to react to these shows. The whole child beauty pageant culture is revolting and abusive, BUT THAT'S ALSO JUST WHAT THEY WANT ME TO THINK!
posted by Afroblanco at 4:08 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


The reaction seems to be so classist to me. OMG-they occasionally feed their kids sugar and caffeine. Their house (which looks a lot better than the farm I grew up on) is "crappy". They get pregnant and have babies with extra digits. Lots of baby daddys out of the picture. They get dirty in mud.

I see a pretty happy family who do a lot of things I personally wouldn't choose for my family, but I don't see any child neglect or abuse. I would rather hang with this family than a lot of smug, hip,"educated" people I know...


but you have to be careful with what you mean by class. my grandfather was illiterate and literally worked himself to death in factories and shipyards in the midwest. the family went through periods of living on peanut-butter, but every one of his kids went to college. now, what's the difference between now and then: tuition is a lot higher and those factories and shipyards have been closed for 40 years or more now.

Take a view from a thousand feet up and "honey boo boos" family are part of a class of millions who have been economically abandoned in America. But, up close (and I haven't watched the show, don't intend to, but live in a white rural impoverished area) these people are ignorant. They live badly, have no values, and are raising their kids accordingly. And, ignorance has little to do with class in the end: Honey boo boo is being raised with approximately the same set of basic values as Paris Hilton, without the trust fund to smooth over the consequences.

There are plenty of families making the same kind of money as this one, who don't do this kind of stupid shit. The difference between them and this one *is* values. I don't think you can understand Christian fundamentalism without putting it in the context of the socio-economic devastation left in the wake of the de-inustrialization and de-agriculturalization of the U.S. You can be poor and think this family is trash where the only difference between you and them is what you believe.
posted by ennui.bz at 4:30 PM on August 31, 2012 [10 favorites]


Also, I just love seeing liberals defend gross conservatives and their grossness. Seriously people, it's time to stop excusing idiocy in the name of some misguided sense of fairness.

The gross conservatives would never defend you or your lifestyle. You don't need to stick up for them.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:37 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're exploiting a woman who has gnats buzzing around her toe infection and those of us who find it gross... WE'RE the assholes? What. The fuck. Ever.

First of all, I don't buy this as exploitation. I can see how that might be an accurate description of the interaction between someone who does reality television once with no idea of how it will be edited, but this is a group of people who have already gone through that. They know how they were portrayed during the Toddlers & Tiaras episodes, and they can make their own decision about whether the money is worth it to appear in their own show.

Second, nobody is saying that anyone has to watch this show. You're not required to think that this is anything but gross. I don't care for it and I don't care for these people. What is problematic is the level of vitriol and condemnation that I've seen aimed at these people and at the mother in particular.

I think we all know (or are lucky enough not to) that parenting blogs are possibly the most wretched hive of scum and villainy on the internet that involves fully clothed people and that a certain stratum of tedious upper middle class American likes nothing more than be over-the-top nasty about other people's parenting (and specifically: mothering) skills. I never thought that reading about breast feeding would make want to join Al Qaeda, but sometimes it does.

That kind of out of place judgemental attitude is what makes people assholes, and when they apply it to behaviour that is frankly not at all abnormal for wide swathes of rural America it is also classist.

Also, I just love seeing liberals defend gross conservatives and their grossness. Seriously people, it's time to stop excusing idiocy in the name of some misguided sense of fairness.

The gross conservatives would never defend you or your lifestyle. You don't need to stick up for them.


Oh, I'm sorry. I must have missed Alana's appearance at the RNC. Or did I miss where these people expressed any political opinion at all?
posted by atrazine at 4:45 PM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


Also, a Venn diagram with circles for "people who don't think caffeine is a big deal" and "people who've ever tried to quit caffeine for good" would show absolutely zero overlap.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:48 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I didn't understand about the honey boo boo story is how they made money for pageants by buying hundreds of dollars worth of on-sale products. Unless you actually need thirty seven bottles of detergent and five hundred sticks of deodorant, you're not actually saving money when you buy them, no matter how marked down they are... right? Maybe I just don't get how extreme couponing works, because when they explained it, it just sounded like throwing an extra banana away for every frozen banana sold.

One way was mentioned above with reselling stuff. The other is that coupons can produce overages sometimes, so if you get a product for 50 cents, with a $1 coupon, then that extra 50 cents can be applied to something else you needed to buy. Thus you wouldn't need to take that from your food budget.
posted by bizzyb at 5:02 PM on August 31, 2012


Also, a Venn diagram with circles for "people who don't think caffeine is a big deal" and "people who've ever tried to quit caffeine for good" would show absolutely zero overlap.

I think it just doesn't affect some people as much, addiction-wise. Over the course of months I can drink several cups of coffee per day when I'm working in an office that has a coffee maker and then just stop, without any substitute containing caffeine, with no ill effects. Caffeine has the enervating effect on me but for whatever reason I don't seem to get addicted.
posted by XMLicious at 5:11 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Over the course of months I can drink several cups of coffee per day when I'm working in an office that has a coffee maker and then just stop, without any substitute containing caffeine, with no ill effects

Yeah, but have you ever tried to quit for good?
posted by Afroblanco at 5:16 PM on August 31, 2012


I'm much the same way. Around midterms or finals and the like, I gravitate toward Visos with their 300mg of delicious non-soda caffeine. Outside of busy times, I don't drink them as much, and there's no dependence effect. For a while I had one daily for a month. Then I stopped, and there was no sense of "I feel more tired than I should".

And if I need to reset my tolerance? Just wait a weekend or so. Next Monday that same dose will perk everything right up. Drink it regularly, stop for a couple months; doesn't matter.

This is what makes it dangerous, honestly. No side-effect beyond the cost, and I can do more things within a certain span of time. Why wouldn't I want that?
posted by CrystalDave at 5:18 PM on August 31, 2012


Yeah, but have you ever tried to quit for good?

I guess it depends on what you mean by "for good". I've probably had between five and ten cups of coffee in the entire last year, for example, but it's not like I'm never going to have another cup of coffee in my life. (Mostly because I'm not trying to, though.)

I don't feel a need to drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages all the time; I just do so when they're easily available or on the rare occasion that I have to get up at 4am or something like that and need the stimulant effect. So I don't feel like there's anything to quit.
posted by XMLicious at 5:28 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but have you ever tried to quit for good?

I've had heavy-caffeine intake periods, and I've gone long stretches without caffeine without any thought. If you stop taking something in for a long period without difficulty and then end up taking it in again at a later date for reasons other than an irresistible compulsion to take it in, that's just changing circumstances.

I know some people who have struggled with caffeine dependency. I know some people who have not. People vary.
posted by cortex at 5:32 PM on August 31, 2012


Until today I thought Honey Boo Boo was a variant of the Honey Badger who doesn't Give a Fuck
posted by angrycat at 5:35 PM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


she is
posted by Danila at 5:42 PM on August 31, 2012 [20 favorites]


People were just as disgusted by how JonBenet Ramsey( whose father at the time was a billionaire) was being raised 16 years ago.
posted by brujita at 6:04 PM on August 31, 2012


oh, hell, i MARRIED into a family something like this, although there weren't any toddler beauty queens

alana honey boo boo seems like she'll grow up to be an old woman like my daughter's great grand mother, cleaning people's houses, cooking chicken in lard, being a mainstay of her church, clicking confusedly at the trials and misdeeds of her descendants, while she flits around a disorganized household asking jesus to help her find the things she's misplaced

and that's alright - i liked that old lady and she liked me

pity about the ex, though ...

there are many decent people among that tribe, you know, even if their political and religious views are distasteful

who knows? - i might even prefer dinner with them over dinner with YOU
posted by pyramid termite at 6:06 PM on August 31, 2012 [8 favorites]


For reasons I won't go into (because I don't fully understand how this came to be) I spent a weekend in Missouri, after a huge windstorm, that somehow managed to knock out all channels to my hotel room except for one.
Seriously, how is this possible? The dish on the roof has blown away. Fine, then how am I getting this one channel? Cable. You have cable for just a singular channel? That would be silly. We have basic cable and the premium satellite package to all the rooms. Then why am I getting only this one channel? That's all anyone is getting.
This singular channel only seemed to play marathons of Toddlers and Tiaras and Storage Wars. This was my entry to both shows. I was incapable of shutting off either.

At the and of the weekend I was hoping for a climatic cross-over where they open a storage shed and inside was the mummified corpses of all the adults from Toddlers and Tiaras.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:34 PM on August 31, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think Alana Boo Boo is a sweetie, and she seems much less self-centered and haughty than most child beauty pageant contestants. She's a bright young girl who does what she does for fun and to make her family some extra cash - and she's well aware of it. She doesn't make the pageant circuit about who's the most beautiful, and it doesn't seem like she or her mother considers it a metric of her worth as a person.

As for her enjoyment of the spotlight, I'd call it less attention-seeking and more being someone who loves people.

But that said, I really don't understand why this is worth making a television show about. Whoo, let's all look at these human beings having fairly normal lives within a community that is a few percentage points off from mainstream American culture!...? I think I'll just go actually socialize instead.
posted by capricorn at 6:38 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, but the whole thing where she imitates African-American dialect is totally weird though and she should probably cut that out.
posted by capricorn at 6:40 PM on August 31, 2012


You don't have to be rich to comport yourself with dignity and self-respect. You can call classism, but I call horseshit.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:02 PM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know some people who have struggled with caffeine dependency. I know some people who have not. People vary.

Then maybe, just maybe it's a bad idea to give it to children, especially for recreational purposes?
posted by Afroblanco at 7:04 PM on August 31, 2012


There's no reason to be all "maybe" about it, it should be possible to concretely demonstrate the alleged health problems caused by caffeine dependency resulting from children consuming caffeinated beverages, since children have been consuming tea and coffee and everything else for bazillions of years. Bazillions.
posted by XMLicious at 7:20 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, but the whole thing where she imitates African-American dialect is totally weird though and she should probably cut that out.


Are you sure that is what she is doing? Because I can assure you that a certain class of white Southerner dialect is pretty darn similar.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:27 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Then maybe, just maybe it's a bad idea to give it to children, especially for recreational purposes?

Why? Other than the fact it's packaged usually with way too much sugar which of course has its own issues?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:34 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm watching clips from the show....and it's terrible.

Not the family, they're fine. The photography - it's awful - shakey and blurry, I'm getting vertigo. I think I did better videography in my grade 10 television class, and I barely passed that.
posted by jb at 7:37 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can call classism, but I call horseshit.

Me too. I'm not enough generations out of the trailer park to be looking down on anyone, and I despise this whole lot. Seriously.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:53 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


You don't have to be rich to comport yourself with dignity and self-respect. You can call classism, but I call horseshit.

There's a reason it's called socio-economic class.
posted by atrazine at 7:54 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, then use your words and explain that reason is so you can win this argument and we can all go to bed.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:56 PM on August 31, 2012


Are you sure that is what she is doing? Because I can assure you that a certain class of white Southerner dialect is pretty darn similar.

If that is what's going on it's still weird--it's clearly affected--but less weird.
posted by capricorn at 7:59 PM on August 31, 2012


dignity: appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation. (another definition includes 'self-respect,' but the definition of 'self-respect' includes dignity, so this must be one of those 'you know it when you see it' situations. I haven't watched much of the show. Are they chewing bubblegum during funerals?

How much formality or gravity is necessary for a child's beauty pageant? A trip to the water park? Some kind of mud dive? Having cameras pay you to follow you around?
posted by muddgirl at 8:16 PM on August 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I've actually seen is a surprisingly funny show about a pretty awesome family. It's downright heartwarming.

Just wanted to agree with asnider on this one. I'm not laughing at the fart jokes or the mother's foot, mostly I'm laughing when they are joking around with one another. The family is very aware of what they are apart of and it seems like they all care about each other regardless if they look ridiculous or not. It is actually a very sweet family to observe. I've seen many other reality shows with much, much less genuine folks.
posted by SarahElizaP at 9:20 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny because I live in a left wing town where families like this get their kids taken away by Child Protective Services.

Seriously, I was on the phone with CPS today (they called me) about a family indistinguishable from this. Well, except my family were living in a motel and were prescription drug junkies, but it's a really fine line. I expect June's OxyContin addiction to be the focus of a future episode.

The only thing that's going to save us from an Idiocracy future is if there's enough of us to point out and laugh at the idiots among us now. I approve of this show.

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:22 PM on August 31, 2012


Paying idiots to be on TV, if that's what's going on, promotes idiocy. I will gladly be stupid if people will pay me for it.
posted by muddgirl at 9:41 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to add, caffeine seems to affect kids more or less the same way it affects adults - it helps them focus but in higher doses it keeps them from sleeping and it can make them jittery or upset their stomachs. I'm not aware of any evidence that it does anything worse. (The sugar strikes me as way more of a problem.)
posted by en forme de poire at 9:56 PM on August 31, 2012


The only thing that's going to save us from an Idiocracy future is if there's enough of us to point out and laugh at the idiots among us now. I approve of this show.

You know, some good old-fashioned genocide would be one hell of a lot more effective. Would you approve of that too?

(Yeesh, people. Haters be hatin', but this shit is getting ridiculous.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:06 PM on August 31, 2012 [5 favorites]


Caffeine is an addictive drug. Some people have serious problems with it. It seems like a bad idea to give it to kids who aren't old enough to understand drug addiction.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:15 PM on August 31, 2012


What serious problems? Sorry, still don't understand why you see this as so problematic.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:29 AM on September 1, 2012


There are great benefits for children who get plenty of sleep, mostly in the way their brains develop: attention span, information retention, mood regulation. Caffeine disrupts sleep patterns and is mildly addictive. It is unwise to knowingly addict children to substances that prevent them from getting a good night's sleep, as it can hinder their development and set them up for future addictive behaviors. Not to mention, fizzy sugar water is incredibly destructive to growing teeth.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:12 AM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess my bottom line is that I don't really think it's any of my business how someone else raises their kid, beyond a certain level of basic neglect. My parents did a lot of stuff that probably fucked me up mentally and physically without knowing it (and I bet yours did too), but I'm glad it wasn't subject to national scrutiny. If you don't think Alana's family should be on TV, then don't feed the desire for spectacle by watching the show or reading press about it or even criticism of it. There can't be a product without an audience.
posted by muddgirl at 8:51 AM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]



You know, some good old-fashioned genocide would be one hell of a lot more effective. Would you approve of that too?

(Yeesh, people. Haters be hatin', but this shit is getting ridiculous.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:06 PM on August 31 [3 favorites +] [!]


Yes, certainly. Feeling smugly superior to, and wanting a world better than, fat toothless dumb people from the south who lack humility -- that is the same thing as approving of genocide. Sorry for being ridiculous.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:54 AM on September 1, 2012


Slarty, the world is filled with all kinds of people, and having rubbed shoulders with all levels of American society, I can attest that the great common denominator is feeling superior to the other layers.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:06 AM on September 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


So poor, overweight people with little access to good dental care should at least have lots of humility?

Also, should they tip their hats or bow when one of their betters passes by in the street, just to show that "they know their place"?
posted by jb at 9:20 AM on September 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


That's some funny shit, jb. Overweight hyperbole, maybe. Your strawman could stand to lose a little weight and your rhetorical questions could use a trip to the dentist. But I laughed, so at least you're doing something right.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:34 AM on September 1, 2012


Comment threads like these remind me that people have 20/20 vision looking down the class ladder but are Ray Charles looking up it.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:46 AM on September 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Have there ever been studies done of why certain behaviors that don't hurt anyone are seen as low class? I'm asking in all seriousness. Are people's fear of having anything remotely in common with poor people just that visceral?

Mind, I realize that my social behaviour is as SWPL as it gets, but I never understood why, if one was secure in who they were, the behaviour of others was a big deal.
posted by droplet at 10:17 AM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Take a view from a thousand feet up and "honey boo boos" family are part of a class of millions who have been economically abandoned in America. But, up close (and I haven't watched the show, don't intend to, but live in a white rural impoverished area) these people are ignorant. They live badly, have no values, and are raising their kids accordingly. And, ignorance has little to do with class in the end: Honey boo boo is being raised with approximately the same set of basic values as Paris Hilton, without the trust fund to smooth over the consequences.

I have absolutely no idea where you're getting this from. Considering that you've never seen the show, I have to assume that you're speaking based on some idea you have about how poor people (or perhaps more specifically, poor Southern whites) live and interact with their children. Can you tell us where you get that idea?

My experiences with poor folks, and with poor Southern whites in particular, is that just like any other group of people, it's a mixed bag. Some are terrible parents, to be sure. But some very well-mannered, well-groomed, wealthy people are terrible parents too. Most people love their children fiercely, do their best to teach them the important lessons that will allow them to thrive as adults, and try to get them access to resources that will improve their lives. You may disagree with them about the choices they make or the values they promote, but I think it's really problematic to assume that people who disagree with you are bad people.
posted by decathecting at 10:46 AM on September 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


What serious problems? Sorry, still don't understand why you see this as so problematic.

Caffeine can totally fuck your circadian rhythm. It is also a strong emetic; it can increase the frequency and urgency of urination, and also cause serious digestive problems. This aside from some less-unpleasant, but still unpleasant effects like excessive sweating and having breath that smells like 1000 corpses.

But, you know, let's forget all that for a moment. You still have the fact that caffeine is actually addictive drug; you can build a resistance to it, and quitting often involves dealing with some very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. I love all the people who are like, "I don't have a problem with caffeine! I was drinking 6 lattes a day and then quit for months." Well, why do you think you were drinking 6 lattes a day in the first place? Your body builds up a resistance to caffeine quite rapidly. In fact, most users don't even get much of a rush from it anymore, and are merely maintenance users. There was a recent study posted to the Blue that stated this pretty clearly.

Anyway, I'm not saying caffeine effects everybody negatively or that everybody gets addicted, but the chances of those things happening are great enough that I'd hesitate before feeding it to a creature that doesn't understand algebra and is still capable of believing in Santa Claus.

Also, as a side note, I'll mention that I've tried nearly every drug I've heard of -- and some of them to excess -- but the only ones I've ever been addicted to were caffeine and nicotine. And caffeine was the more-difficult one to quit by far, even though I smoked over a pack a day for ten years.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:21 AM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "These people aren't weird. Country, yes, weird, no."

Really? Maybe it's regional but I grew up very poor in the county and this show has very little resemblance the the lifestyle I grew up in and around.

Well in 10 years 'Honey Boo Boo' will be raising her own tiara'd toddler and whatever TLC has become then can start showing 'Honey Boo Boo - The Next Generation.'
posted by the_artificer at 11:24 AM on September 1, 2012


Afroblanco. Dude. It's caffeine, not heroin. Withdrawal is no more "very unpleasant" than a minor cold.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:37 AM on September 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


So poor, overweight people with little access to good dental care should at least have lots of humility?

Also, should they tip their hats or bow when one of their betters passes by in the street, just to show that "they know their place"?


Listen, I spend my days treating the rotten foot ulcers of homeless people and my nights delivering the babies of crack addicts, and it's not the tipping of their hats that keeps me in this business. I work really hard to explain face to face to the families I care for how things like giving their children energy drinks is harmful. I'm simply saying that if a family chooses to proudly display their bad decisions on tv for money, then they are deserving of derision and mockery. This is the entertainment value of the show. If the nation laughing at these people causes one mother to reevaluate giving their infant Mountain Dew, then the net impact is positive. If the world appreciates the bravery of this family's "I do what I want - in your face" attitude without a critical eye to certain aspects of the show, then Mountain Dew becomes a more acceptable substitute for breast milk and the net impact is negative. It's not that my people are better than these people, it's that we should all aspire to always make better decisions and it's ok to recognize when we think someone's doing things wrong. That's all I'm saying.

That and also, when I am dictator, certain people that I feel superior to will be rounded up into concentration camps and forced to work on organic farm collectives until they are no longer useful. That's all. Cut me some slack.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:38 PM on September 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Slarty - I understand being frustrated when you see people doing things that are harmful to themselves and/or their children -- I grew up in a neighbourhood where kids went hungry at the end of every month, largely because their parents had spent half the welfare check on chips and soda and other treats (itself driven by the semi-starvation - it was a viscious feast-famine cycle). We need crack addicts and alcoholics - and some were our friends who we tried to help, but couldn't.

What got me angry was especially the reference to the family being overweight and having bad teeth. People in my family are overweight (severely so) and have bad teeth (much worse than this family) -- and they are hard-working, caring people trying to do their best, often in difficult situations. Having good teeth, especially, is a mark of priviledge, not morality.
posted by jb at 12:57 PM on September 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


also, I don't know about you, but I was raised on kool-aid. I would have been fed Kraft singles and Kraft Dinner if they hadn't been too expensive. And my parents weren't bad parents -- it just wasn't common wisdom then and in that place that sugar and processed food is bad for kids.

but I still laugh at the candies they sell at Whole Foods: 100% fruit juice, no sugar added -- as if 100% fructose wasn't actually worse for your kids than regular sugar-based candies. Rich people feed their kids crap, too -- and organic sugar is just as bad for you as regular.

(While there are excellent environmental reasons to buy organic food, there are no health reasons).
posted by jb at 1:08 PM on September 1, 2012


I'm simply saying that if a family chooses to proudly display their bad decisions on tv for money, then they are deserving of derision and mockery.

Or, you know, the same sort of basic human compassion you'd want if you ever made a mistake.

This is the entertainment value of the show.

This is true only to a certain segment of society, which apparently includes you. There are names for that segment of society; most are anatomical.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:20 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's not surprising to hear, coming from an anterior vena cava.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:42 PM on September 1, 2012


I watched an episode to see what this fpp was about and I found myself laughing with them, not at them.
posted by Danila at 2:01 PM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Afroblanco. Dude. It's caffeine, not heroin. Withdrawal is no more "very unpleasant" than a minor cold.

Actually, it's more like cocaine.

I've never really been sure why it's legal to put caffeine into foods when it is quite obviously a drug, but there have been discussions about it and from what I gather, it's a drug that makes people more productive, and productivity = good citizenship.
posted by Malice at 2:47 PM on September 1, 2012


Actually, it's more like cocaine.

Only in that it is a stimulant.

Sugar is far more addictive (and far more harmful) than caffeine.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:00 PM on September 1, 2012


Only in that it is a stimulant.

Actually, it's a lot more like cocaine than you might think.

Sugar is also addictive, I agree. But cocaine is less harmful than meth, yet cocaine is still considered a drug on its own merits rather than "Meth is way worse than cocaine! We snort coke because it's safer."
posted by Malice at 3:08 PM on September 1, 2012


Actually, it's a lot more like cocaine than you might think.

Not really, no. That link just says what I said, in a much more alarmist manner: They're both stimulants. End of story.

Besides, if you're going by the effects on brain chemistry, check this out: O NOES!!! SUGAR IS JUST LIKE HEROIN!!!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:17 PM on September 1, 2012


What got me angry was especially the reference to the family being overweight and having bad teeth.

Yeah, that was very poor of me, at least the overweight bit. I was thinking specifically of the CPS call yesterday I mentioned upthread. The kid that was taken away was five years old, 95 pounds, and had at least 10 dental extractions. This, despite the mother having every medical resource at her disposal and multiple serious attempts at intervention. She just thought it was perfectly natural for the kid to have a bag of corn chips and Dr Pepper at all times, including the doctor's office. I'm super angry about this and projecting too much. I stand by my assertion that there's nothing wrong by being shocked by self destructive people and reacting with humor or anger.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:18 PM on September 1, 2012


Seriously, I was on the phone with CPS today (they called me) about a family indistinguishable from this. Well, except my family were living in a motel and were prescription drug junkies, but it's a really fine line...

The kid that was taken away was five years old, 95 pounds, and had at least 10 dental extractions. This, despite the mother having every medical resource at her disposal and multiple serious attempts at intervention.

They were just alike, except for the major ways in which they were different. I honestly resent this so-called "really fine line" because giving a six year old Mountain Dew is very very far from being a pill-popping child abuser. This family has a stable home for their children, they aren't homeless. Little Alana isn't 95 pounds, she's six years old and 60-something pounds, and in the episode I watched the whole family decided to lose weight. And as they pointed out on the show, they don't have those kinds of dental problems. (Not that those of us poor folk with bad teeth are morally inferior)

If families like this one truly have their children taken away or even have cPS called on them I find that more chilling than a million honey boo boos.

Have there ever been studies done of why certain behaviors that don't hurt anyone are seen as low class? I'm asking in all seriousness. Are people's fear of having anything remotely in common with poor people just that visceral?

I don't know of any studies although this thread has me seriously contemplating doing my grad research project on the prevalence of prescription drug abuse amongst the wealthy, which I suspect is just as high, because I am now in a high dudgeon. Everyone hates the Kardashians but no one says the minor children should be taken away because the adults are likely cocaine addicts and pill-poppers (THOUGH THEY TOTALLY ARE MAYBE).

One thing that intrigues me about the show is that while the family seems to comport to a lot of stereotypes, there isn't any real harm associated with them. The parents seem engaged with the kids and genuinely affectionate, not abusive. There's no violence or drug abuse; no drunkenness around the kids, no knock-down drag-out fights. They're not living in squalor or anything close to it. If anything this show is a test for capitalism and anti-plebian sentiments because it's amazing how much is being assumed and read into the situation.
posted by Danila at 7:13 PM on September 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't see a fine line here. Her mother is a creep. The daughter is being abused. And the family is a bunch of borderline abusers.
posted by Splunge at 7:23 PM on September 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I honestly don't know what you're talking about Splunge. I'm not trying to be rude or dismissive, I just legitimately don't see any creepy behavior by the mother nor do I see how the family is even borderline abusive. But I have incomplete information, as I don't watch "Toddlers and Tiaras" and have only seen one episode of this honey boo boo show. So fine, I'll watch another.
posted by Danila at 8:26 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


That link just says what I said

I'm not sure you read either link.
posted by Malice at 9:22 PM on September 1, 2012


I have watched three and I don't think I'm going to change my mind because if anything, they become more sympathetic the deeper you get into the show. So I guess I'll just leave it alone. I'm sure I bring my own biases into it, as someone who washes her hair in the kitchen sink and has stepped on a scale and had it read "E" before, and thought it was because I was just too fat for it. Also, the crust around Mama's neck is acanthosis nigricans.

I actually had one of my more judgmental preconceptions knocked down a peg. I have always made fun of baby showers for pregnant teenagers because I saw it as encouraging stupidity or celebrating bad behavior. But in the third episode, Anna, who is 17 and pregnant, becomes the focus of the show and the family throws a baby shower.

What I saw was a girl who is in her third trimester and determined to finish high school, who has been completely abandoned by the father of the baby, and who is clearly tired and probably scared. Her own mother had two children by the time she was 17 and is completely upfront about how hard it is and how she regrets decisions she made. Nobody is glamorizing anything, it's just a family offering support and sorely needed baby items. And a contest to see who can drink apple juice the fastest out of the new baby bottles.
posted by Danila at 9:39 PM on September 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, I just love seeing liberals defend gross conservatives and their grossness. Seriously people, it's time to stop excusing idiocy in the name of some misguided sense of fairness.
The gross conservatives would never defend you or your lifestyle. You don't need to stick up for them.


I am so glad you love to see that, but I am not sure where you saw it. We have no idea of the politics of this family. The "grossness" of this family is no different to me than the placenta eating, vaccination eschewing, helicopter parenting I see at my local Whole Foods Store on any Saturday when precious little Sadie Ruby Trixiebella and her doting parents come to get their organic power drinks.
Seriously, people, this family is not the spawn of Satan because they have southern accents and don't wear hip clothes. If you watch it you will see that they do not spend an inordinate amount of money on the pageants, they love their kids and they just don't care what you think. I come from people like this and guess what? They aren't all conservatives. Some of them are LGBT, some of them are in biracial relationships,some of them picket with Occupied, some of them call themselves union socialists and some of them are assholes.
I prefer not to judge people just because of their accent or weight or where they live. Because I have seen my family judged for those things and more, and those judgements were WRONG.

You don't have to be rich to comport yourself with dignity and self-respect. You can call classism, but I call horseshit.

It's a reality entertainment show, It's not a documentary on the nobility of the worthy poor. For one thing-they aren't particularly poor- this is middle class in a lot of the country. I think they have a lot of self respect-just not the kind you want them to have.

Note : I never gave my children soda when they were little,hate the term redneck, don't approve of open wounds in public places and wish teenage girls didn't have babies. In case you want to judge me for liking Honey Boo Boo.
posted by Isadorady at 10:28 PM on September 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Remember when TLC stood for "The Learning Channel"?

Wait, it's no longer Tragic Lurid Corndog?
posted by krinklyfig at 11:29 PM on September 1, 2012


There is no "American Culture" anymore. It's all fragmented. Complaining about "American culture" is ridiculous. If you don't like some form of entertainment, turn off the TV.

It seems like there are a huge number of people who are, like, apparently completely unaware of the fact that you can just not watch TV
posted by delmoi at 4:49 AM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure you read either link.

Yeah, actually, I did. The first was a hacky infographic on some fundie (or perhaps Mormon?) blog. The second read like some "journalist" looking for a sensationalist headline asked some "expert" how caffeine and cocaine are alike, and got an answer just detailed enough to go over most people's heads so that all they remember is the sensationalist headline.

All it says is that both caffeine and cocaine block adenosine receptors. You know, just like sugar and heroin both activate opioid receptors. So fucking what.

It's really not the revelation you seem to think it is.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:46 AM on September 2, 2012


(And, to bring it all back to relevance: Giving a kid a Red Bull every now and then is nothing remotely approaching abuse. Jeez.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:49 AM on September 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


> While there are excellent environmental reasons to buy organic food, there are no health reasons

Not that it has anything to do with Honey Boo Boo (as far as I know), but there seems to be a link between pesticides and ADHD.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:15 PM on September 2, 2012


> I know a reality tv story editor and I can tell you that making these shows is just a job. They put stuff together so it sells. Very little thought goes into the morality of it all. Bottom line.

Joey Greco: The pig is in the sty.
Cameraman: (sighs) You know, I used to make documentaries about coal miners, migrant workers--things that mattered.
Joey Greco: (impatiently) Yeah, yeah...we're all whores, just get in there.
posted by ostranenie at 8:36 PM on September 2, 2012


Well, to paraphrase the Rev. Bruce Howard:

I'M THINKING ABOUT FORMING AN OPINION ON THIS MATTER!

*puff puff*
No, too hard....

posted by y2karl at 11:00 PM on September 2, 2012


It occurred to me that children in the coca-producing regions of South American probably chew coca leaves and drink coca tea.
posted by XMLicious at 2:10 AM on September 3, 2012


WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN????!? -Helen Lovejoy
posted by ostranenie at 5:57 AM on September 3, 2012


alana honey boo boo seems like she'll grow up to be an old woman like my daughter's great grand mother, cleaning people's houses, cooking chicken in lard, being a mainstay of her church, clicking confusedly at the trials and misdeeds of her descendants, while she flits around a disorganized household asking jesus to help her find the things she's misplaced.

She's Paula Deen?
posted by stormpooper at 9:28 AM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread has turned into a mean spirited mommy blog.
posted by Kokopuff at 12:23 PM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


TV Hangover talks Honey Boo Boo
posted by SarahElizaP at 12:40 AM on September 29, 2012


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