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Ty Controversy Invades White House | Blogcritics
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Ty Controversy Invades White House

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class="post-90730 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry tag-fashion-and-beauty tag-society tag-u-s- post-listing">
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Ty Controversy Invades White House


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As if the world doesn’t have enough problems as it is, the newest wrinkle in the fairy tale dream that is the Obama family is the hullaballoo over the Ty Company’s decision to release two new, soft bean-bag dolls. Word on the street has it that the First Lady is violently opposed to “Marvelous Malia” and “Sweet Sasha” making their debut as the newest Ty Girlz. Michelle Obama feels the sale of such items is an invasion of the girls' privacy. The dolls in question have large dark eyes, soft brown skin and their long dark hair is tied back. For those out of the loop, the Ty Girlz brand is a blatant take off on the infamous Bratz dolls.

You might remember the Ty Company as the driving force behind the Beanie Baby phenomenon. I happened to have been a mom of small children at the time the craze was at its frenzied worst, and while I didn’t use fisticuffs that time Nordstrom opened their latest shipment right on the retail floor and all hell broke loose (with TV news cameras rolling), I did make weekly treks into the Canadian wilderness (Windsor) and procured and smuggled Beanie Babies back into the States in the deep recesses of my super-huge Ford conversion van. (Those were the days, my friend…)

Yes, I am ashamed to say this now, but I know my way around small, bean bag toys. I once frequented Beanie Baby chat rooms, and that is, in fact, how I met the oldest friends I have on the Internet. One entire wall of my basement is lined with storage containers stuffed with Beanie Babies. Of course, like my foray into the stock market, my purchases are all worthless now, what with the Beanie Baby market having taken a tumble around seven years ago. Well, they are worthless until I am presented with grandchildren; only then will they come in handy.

For those who are unaware, the Ty Company has long practiced the snagging of nomenclature of pop icons for the names of their creations. There was Garcia, the peace loving bear in tie-dyed splendor. A person could almost score a contact high just by looking at him. He was highly desirable; I think I paid $85 for that one. Supposedly his quick retirement was due to a lawsuit by the heirs of Jerry Garcia, but who knows. There was Princess, the purple bear, obviously taken from Princess Diana after her untimely passing. They shared the same birth date, July 1. Ty donated the proceeds from the sale of the limited edition bear to the Princess Diana Memorial Fund. I had to travel to Canada to get that one.

There’s Blue Beanie Shoes, a bear with an uncanny resemblance to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. There are bears named after movie characters (Frankenteddy, from the Frankenstein movies), beanies named after book characters (Catsby – Gatsby), beanies named after candy (Chocolate Kiss), beanies named after toys (Frisbee) and famous rodents (Punxsutawn-e Phil). There are beanies named after political persuasions (Lefty the Donkey and Righty the Elephant) and beanies named after cities, states and countries. There are sadly no beanies named after me or anyone I know.

Other Ty Girlz dolls are named Lindsay, Britney, Paris, Jenna and Hillary. So far, there is no word on any of those celebrities complaining of the hijacking of their first names.

The First Lady must think she has first dibs on the names Sasha and Malia. I hate to be the one to break it to her, but I happen to have heard of others with those exact same names. She probably won’t believe it. The one Sasha I know is even male!

If the First Lady succeeds in halting the production of the dolls, she will be setting a new precedent. The history behind your fellow Americans and the rest of the world following presidential offspring and turning them into playthings is nothing new. Recent history brought us the Amy Carter paper doll kit, now fetching a handsome price on eBay and elsewhere. Looking back, even Tricia Nixon was paperdolled. The prestigious Madame Alexander doll company also offered a porcelain Caroline Kennedy doll. That one appears to be a baby doll goldmine, currently selling for $10,000. The Baby Ruth the candy bar was said to have been named after Grover Cleveland's daughter, although there's some who swear the candy was named after baseball slugger, Babe Ruth.


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About
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Joanne Huspek
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I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.

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  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    This is probably a fight that Michelle won’t win. However, I find it understandable and admire her for her vehemence.

    Actually, her concerns as First Lady are NOT properly the economy, health care or education. Didn’t Hillary learn that the hard way?

    Michelle has stated repeatedly that her primary concern for at least the first year will be the care and welfare of her daughters. She is new to being in the White House. Her response to the dolls may be a knee jerk reaction, but rather that than just letting it slide. She will be the point person, the vanguard for her daughters. As a mother yourself, you should applaud her.

    Technically, Malia and Sasha are not public figures. Michelle has a right to protect their privacy.

    B

  • Arch Conservative

    Like any good mother, Ru Paul’s… I mean Michelle Obama’s first instinct is to be protective of her offspring.

    However as the first couple, and an extraordinarily thin skinned one at that, it would be wise to pick and choose your battles and as these dolls were obviously not intended to be complimentary, maybe this is a battle Ru doesn’t want to wage so early on.

  • Brunelleschi

    Papa is now at the helm of Bush’s Homeland Security apparatus.

    Both sides need to think-

    “pick your battles.”

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes and even “papa” needs to realize that though he is surrounded by friends now in DC, he may find himself surrounded by opponents in 2010.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Joanne,

    Funny article. So this is what the Obama administration is all about? Dolls that bring hope and change? And a mother who argues with hope and change? If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t beklief

    Joanne in all the excitement of your article, you forgot the most famous toy to result from someone the bully pulpit – the Teddy Bear!!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t believc it at all.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “Funny article. So this is what the Obama administration is all about? Dolls that bring hope and change? And a mother who argues with hope and change? If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t beklief”

    yep. this is what they’re all about.

    “If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t believc it at all.”

    it’s too early to be so drunk.

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/39420/joanne_huspek.html Joanne Huspek

    Ha. It’s never too early for a drink.

  • zingzing

    and what with ruvy living out there on olympus with the rest of the gods, who even knows what time it is there…

  • Brunelleschi

    “Pick your battles” applies to you too, Arch.

    This one is stupid.

  • Cindy D

    Is it stupid if you are trying to help your daughters learn something?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    zing,

    I tried posting a comment about what the Obama administration really is all about, and the damned Aksimet idiots called it “spam” – like I’m a spammer, right?

    The truth is that what is going on in your country is that your president is being made into a god. There is nothing wrong with parents in a fishbowl trying to protect their childrens’ privacy. The Kennedy’s did that with their children in spite of the adulation from the press that Jacquie Kennedy enjoyed. Baritone, Mark Schannon and Dan Miller, all of whom can get away with calling me “young man” can comfirm that to you.

    And, there is nothing wrong with making a beanie doll – especially one that portrays black Americans in a positive light, as these dolls do.

    But the reality is that your president is trying to pull a black curtain of silence and lies around himself, and almost all of the media, in love with him, are cooperating. Michelle Obama’s whining about the beany dolls that adulate her daughters is part of the attempt to pull that curtain of silence and lies around both Obama and his family.

    And zing. I usually drink once a week – on Friday night. I should drink more. My doctor said I should drink red wine once daily for my heart – but I don’t have the money to consume that much red wine.

    So, when you get shit-faced, have your first drink with me in mind – the sober Jew who looks east or south out of his window and sees the mountains – and who contemplates the world from there.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “I tried posting a comment about what the Obama administration really is all about, and the damned Aksimet idiots called it “spam” – like I’m a spammer, right?”

    askimet has been going crazy lately.

    “The truth is that what is going on in your country is that your president is being made into a god.”

    that’s not true. it’s just a right wing myth.

    “But the reality is that your president is trying to pull a black curtain of silence and lies around himself, and almost all of the media, in love with him, are cooperating.”

    he’s making the government MORE transparent and this is what you come up with?

    “So, when you get shit-faced, have your first drink with me in mind – the sober Jew who looks east or south out of his window and sees the mountains – and who contemplates the world from there.”

    can you see america from there? obviously not.

    not sure when i’ll next get drunk, but i’ll have one for you. what’s a nice jewish drink?

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    This doesn’t have anything to do with Obama’s administration. It has to do with a mother protecting her children. In and of itself it may be a minor affair. However, if Michelle stands up now, she may well set a precedent that will carry through their years in the WH.

    I wouldn’t characterize this as a “battle.” I doubt that any significant time is being spent on the issue of these dolls. In the end, there’s really not much they can do about it – free country, and all that. But again, as the kids are still private citizens, and are of an age where this kind of silliness and opportunism from without could in the long run be harmful to them, it is best that Michelle flex a little muscle now to stave off this idiot crap in the future.

    B