Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Disclaimer: This rant was formed before I noticed my mother-in-law has a considerable number of these things. It should be noted that I am not mocking Snowbabies or the people who collect them, but rather another target completely.

And yes, I put this disclaimer up top because I have no desire to have my mother-in-law pissed with me. She reads the blog. I am not a complete idiot, contrary to widely held belief in some circles. Thank you for your attention.

When I was back in St. John's last Christmas Cathy and I had to do some mad rushing around for a few days to try and get all of our shopping for gifts done. We had virtually nothing bought when we hit down, which was not all that bright, but hey, we just bought a house. We can be forgiven for being a bit distracted.

So one day we're both downtown and split up. I was wandering around feeling particularly hopeless. Not because I can't think of anything for Cathy; I had her pretty well covered. However, my mother is impossible to buy for. I was in Newfoundland Weavery and one of the sales clerks asked if she could help. I said only if she had a gun to put me out of my misery. That got a good laugh. She did try to help, but she recognized a lost cause and wished me well in my doomed quest.

I was wandering around the store looking for stuff when I saw them. Snowbabies. Well, to be honest, I wouldn't have noticed them even then. Figurines and knick knacks like this aren't my thing and my mother has enough that I can't even imagine where she would put one more. However, this one Snowbaby in particular leaped out at me. I can't find the exact one I saw, but this is pretty close.

Yes, it's a couple of cute kids riding a polar bear. The one I saw actually had the cute kids cuddled up next to a sleeping polar bear. I picked it up from the shelf, looked at it for a few moments and started to laugh out loud. It was disturbing enough to cause a few of the sales clerks to look my way. I put the item back on the shelf and, laughing and shaking my head, left the store.

Well, it was that or pitch the damn thing out through the window.

Those who know me know that I have...issues with polar bears. We won't get into they how and whys here on the blog. I just do. But what particularly drives me nuts is the notion that polar bears are these cute and cuddly things. Not to get all Stephen Colbert here, but are you people nuts? There are few things scarier on this planet than polar bears.

I remember being at the San Diego Zoo back in 2006 and we went to the polar bear exhibit. It's a bloody huge thing and there were massive crowds watching the bears swim around in the water, trying to keep cool. One little girl pipes up to her mom. "I wish I could go in there and play with them."

And I thought to myself "Yes, let's pitch little Suzy over the top of the wall to play with the cute, 1,000 pound killing machines. Then we're all going to get an educational experience."

The idea that polar bears are being sold and marketed as these cute, cuddly, harmless things just baffles me. They would eat you if they could. No problem. They have eaten people. We're just Happy Meals on legs to them. The closest I ever hope to get to a living, breathing polar bear was in San Diego, and even then I didn't feel comfortable being that close to them.

I've had these thoughts before and lord knows there are plenty of other examples of polar bears being marketed in that way. Coke is an expert at it. So what set me off about the Snowbabies? I think it was because I flashed on another image when I picked up the figurine. It's what I think would happen if three kids managed to get close enough to cuddle up to a sleeping polar bear and then it woke up. I think it would look more like this.

So, do you think they would be interested in making a Snowbaby that looks like that? No? Oh well...

Last Five
1. Little drop of poison - Tom Waits*
2. Merchants dub - The Idlers
3. Entering white collar Cecilia - The New Pornographers
4. Him - Lily Allen
5. The soldering life - The Decemberists


Tara Muise said...

touche (imagune the french accent)

jen said...

Hahahah! Fantastic. Personally I would like to see more tarantulababies, three little babies curled up next to a giant spider. Hey they're furry too.

Clare said...

Someone should have an exhibit where you could swim with the Polar Bears, oh wait... its been done.

WJM said...

touche (imagune the french accent)

On your numeric keypad, ALT-130.

Have all* the diacritics in the world!


(Not actually all.)

Aida said...

hahaha, after living in Arviat where a good 1.5 months every year, we have to watch out for those "killing machines" while just walking to work or going for a walk, i no longer see polar bears as cute!

Melodie said...

It is easy for us 'down south' to be illusion-ed that polar bears are cute. The coke commercials as Townie pointed out, and now these cute figurines are really the only exposure we have to polar bears (except in zoos I guess). I must admit I 'admire' from afar if I see them on tv in their own habitat. They are so regal, majestic, and yes, they have a beautiful coat. But I am at least not ignorant enough to know that these animals are NOT safe, OR cute...I would KEEP my distance if I were up north too.