We are in a Golden Age of baby-based humor. The mere appearance of baby is enough to elicit a smile from all but the most cold-hearted of adults, so put a baby on screen and you’re halfway to a laugh. Babies are wide-eyed innocents, perfect patsies for our childish pranks and perversions.
Perhaps the epitome of the current enthusiasm for exploiting infants for laughs can be found in The Hangover, the number one movie at the box office for two weeks running.
Although I generally found the movie unfunny and unimaginative, the scene in which Zach Galafianakis manipulates the baby’s arm to suggest a certain private male act had me cracking up even after leaving the theater. This juxtaposition of complete innocence and crude vulgarity is a recipe for comedy gold.
For a more toned down version of this, refer to the famous “E-Trade Baby” commercials, which first aired during the Super Bowl. Few commercials are as widely liked as those featuring this savvy toddler, with the slurred, nasal voice of a 30-something hipster. Again, combining the baby’s natural movements and expressions with sharp, sophisticated dialogue ¬has very humorous results.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond Hollywood and Madison Avenue, on the unlimited expanses of the internet, one finds countless examples of cute babies turned into comedic showpieces. The #4 most-viewed video ever on You-Tube is Charlie Bit My Finger, featuring two brothers, one of whom, you guessed it, bites the other. There are also several popular videos of babies laughing. Hahaha is #11 all-time, and The Evil Look and its many copies have tens of millions of views. Another, “Blood,” shows a concerned toddler pointing out blood to his parents, and growing increasingly frustrated with their unexpected reaction.
Anther popular internet meme is the Funny Photoshopped Baby Face, which is simple a picture of an evil-looking baby who has been digitally given all sorts of costumes, from Hitler to Shrek.
Parents have always been entertained by their adorable offspring, but it is only recently they have gotten the chance to share these moments with the world. As long as they remain cute and helpless, babies will continue to be playthings for grown-ups. I only hope that people do not abuse their power, but allow society’s only unadulterated members to enjoy their precious pre-conscious years in peace. Keep reading...
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Typically, the promotional materials sent out by theater companies all look about the same: Either a stapled brochure or an accordion fold-out, with a list of dates and performances. Yet a local Atlanta theater company at Oglethorpe University called Georgia Shakespeare decided to buck the status quo and do something different.
Their 2009 season announcement is written and designed like a cheesy tabloid, which certainly got my attention and made me read. I’m really impressed they pulled something like this off, especially in this economy. Cheers to GS. Keep reading...
I recently bought a book on Amazon, and found an interesting bookmark-looking think inside the front cover. It appeared to be a short intelligence test with seven brain teasers. I started reading through them, skipping the ones I couldn’t figure out, until I got to number 6. This question was twice as long as any of the others, and seemed to be a different kind of question. That’s when I realized this was no intelligence test. It was a stealthy piece of religious propaganda!
I flipped the card over to see the answers, and was not surprised to see that the answer to number 6 took up the majority of the space on the page. It talked about God, Jesus, and Judgment Day, and said the Christian faith was the only path to heaven.
The idea of mixing logic and religious information is completely perverse and inappropriate to me. One is a matter of reason, the other of faith. Religion has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. Nonetheless, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. If nothing else, the Christian proselytizing machine is powerful indeed, and they’re never short of new and innovative ideas to spread their message. Keep reading...
A couple weeks ago I was reading the paper and came across this story about a murder in Atlanta’s main park. The crime was shocking of course, but what really caught my eye was the picture of the two investigators in the case.
If the paper didn’t say 2009 at the top, I’d have thought I’d come across an article from the 1950s. Both detectives were wearing stylish straw fedoras, giving them an air of gravitas that is rarely seen these days.
Then I realized I’d heard about this hat fad before, in a story the AJC did last year: