The objects that people choose to collect and the reasons why can usually be explained only through intense psychoanalysis. Yet there are companies in the business of guessing what "collectibles" people will want to own, creating items that exist only to be kept in boxes or placed inside glass display cases. The most common collectible is the porcelain figurine, depicting impossibly cute humans or animals in suspended animation. Ironically, not many of these objects will increase in value, nor are they particularly beautiful or well crafted. But millions are spent on their manufacture and purchase in a never-ending cycle of consumption. Of the hundreds of figurines currently on the market, here are the most bizarrely tasteless.
Tastelessness Hall Of Fame: "I'm a big boy now!"
No, your eyes do not deceive you: That is indeed a small boy taking his first crap on the toilet, a precious moment immortalized forever in the refined medium of porcelain sculpture. What parents would not be proud to lovingly display this artful tribute to a young boy's colon on their mantelpiece? One can only imagine the many dinner-party conversations it may inspire: "We bought this in honor of Timmy's first unassisted dump." "Awwww " "It just felt right." Truly, no other porcelain sculpture in the history of humankind comes close to the utterly bizarre tastelessness of this figurine created by artisté Elke Hutchens and issued by the Danbury Mint in 1993. It stands alone. (Click on Brian for the complete advertisement.)
The Franklin Mint
Ad Description: "This curvaceous honey will steal your heart!"
While Gilda is certainly the most detailed and finely sculpted of the Bottom 5 contenders, the fact remains that this is a $195 doll of a frontier whore. As the ad copy confides, Gilda's "delightfully saucy pose" reveals black stockings and a frilly garternot exactly standard clothing for a female settler. What's more, Gilda is clutching a "medallion styled from the famous 1849 'doubt eagle' $20 coin." Yep, Gilda's paid-for and awaiting your command.
Little Stone Cold
The Danbury Mint
Ad Description: "His hand-tailored, black faux-leather vest is a copy of 'Stone Cold's' vest, and atop his head is a baseball cap decorated with a skull and the words 'Stone Cold.' For the final touch, he proudly holds a replica of [Steve] Austin's personally designed Championship belt. Sculpted from head to toe of fine porcelain, Little Stone Cold captures his hero's blue-eyed stare to perfection."
One can only imagine the brainstorming session conducted at The Danbury Mint: "This wrestling thing is big. How can we cash in? Ideas?" "I knowa cute baby!" "Hmmm, not bad. But how can we make this a WWF baby?" "I've got it! We'll be the first to create a leather-wearing baby doll who looks like he can KICK YOUR FUCKING ASS!" Thus, we have the surly, glaring Little Stone Colda doll so repellent that owners must keep it locked in a basement closet.Why, that's $110 well spent.
Candy, the Ultimate Harley-Davidson Doll
The Franklin Mint
Ad Description: "The ultimate biker beauty, brought to life in fine hand-painted porcelain. Just got off her bike, wearing her authentic denim jeans, genuine leather-fringed boots, studded jewelry and real leather vest."
That's rightfor the low, low price of just $195, you can buy your very own skank. Previously, the only places you could actually see biker sluts were at truck stops, motels, and those unnamed bars with the solid-steel doors. But now, thanks to the Franklin Mint, you can put your own chain-belt-wearing, tattooed, Farrah-haired biker bitch on display in your living room. Just think of how your dinner guests will gaze in wonder at Candy's sassy style and come-hither looks. "Ready for any adventure," declares the ad copy. Grab a few bottles of Jack and let's party!
Ad Description: "Journey back in time to the simpler life of the Soul Kidz and meet winsome 'Jesse.' Measuring almost two feet from head to toe and ready to travel the dusty roads of the 1930s, he will capture your heart and never let it go."
Yes indeedif there's one era in African American history that inspires affectionate recollections, it's certainly the 1930s. And what better way to commemorate those "simpler" times of Jim Crow laws and public lynchings than with an "adorable vagabond" like Jesse? This bizarre piece of "nostalgia" truly boggles the mind. Apparently, the Soul Kidz Collection is a line of paper products (such as party invitations) that employ photographs of cute African American children dressed up as if they were adults of the '20s and '30s. Is this an effort to take back a lost era that never was, or pure historical blindness? Mostly, it's just plain weird.
Praying Spirit & Joyful Soul
Ad Description: "Meet Praying Spirit, a devout child so lifelike you'll want to kneel next to her and join her in worship. Posed on her traditional Indian prayer rug, Praying Spirit will capture your heart and never let it go."
Truly, there's nothing more comforting than seeing Indian children in their tribal garb praying to the god of the people who usurped their land, killed their leaders, and destroyed their culture. Yes, it kind of gives you that warm, conquering feeling inside to know that even though white settlers and government troops utterly laid waste to their entire way of life, cute lil' Indian children are still praying to their newfangled Christian God for protection.
June 7, 2002
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