Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014 Continued: Best Gifts, Worst Gifts, and the Lost Joys of the Sears Catalog and Old School TV Toy Commercials

Some more Christmas 2014 thoughts.

One of the good things about having a website with seven years plus of content is that you can pull some lost gems from the virtual archives.

In a post from 2008, I shared the worst gifts of my childhood Christmas years.

Here, I did some research and researched the lost black actors of the movie A Christmas Story. I made some new discoveries about their subsequent life paths; they were too horrible to share.

Perhaps, I/we/us who were the children of the 1980s and 1970s were programmed by psychologists and TV cartoons such as G.I. Joe, Transformers, and He-Man to be consummate naggers and consumers.

As an adult, I now know that I was programmed to yearn for the toys I saw on my favorite TV cartoons.

False consciousness can be bliss: many of those moments of desire were pure ecstasy--in the Song of Solomon goes to Toys R Us and finds the Snake-Eyes ninja commando action figure in black with his wolf and spirit guide Timber sort of way.

Consumer culture is a reflection of a society and its people's wants, dreams, desires, and yearnings.

As such, the black blood of the Transatlantic slave trade helped to birth both Europe's and America's mass consumer culture of (relative) excess for the masses.

An exegesis on the sugar economy, spices, and cotton in the growth of modern capitalism may be essential and useful for all times--but on this Christmas 2014, I would rather pretend that my youthful nostalgia and wanderlust for toys, electronics, the Michael Jackson albums, and new bowling balls exists outside of time, social context, and the economy-culture of desire.

Do you miss the toy commercials of years past? Is the Internet a substitute dream machine and desire generator for the youngsters of today? What insight do those of you with children have to offer on these questions?

Am I alone in having salivated over the expensive remote control helicopters, planes, and trains in the Sears Wish Book?

[The Sears catalog is a fascinating historical document that reveals a great deal about America's consumer culture, the rural/urban divide, and "progress".]

Don't be shy. Did you too salivate over the woman's lingerie section, with door locked in your bedroom or bathroom, as you enjoyed some "private time"?

Do you have any one toy that was denied to you as a child, that today, you still dream about?

Alternatively, do you have a toy that you dreamed about, then received, and had to fake toy orgasms for because your family sacrificed a great deal to give you said item?


Werner Herzog's Bear said...

I spent a LOT of time with the Sears catalog, for more than one reason (wink wink). Much of that time not spent in the lingerie section was spent dreaming about stuff I would never have. My parents were/are epic cheapskates, so I rarely, if ever, got what I wanted for Christmas. For example, I wanted Transformers, and got fucking Go Bots instead. I wanted an AT-AT, and got a piddly scout walker. They did come through for me twice: one year I got the Ewok village playset, and when I was 11 years old, the Axis and Allies board game. I have probably never been happier than I was that Christmas.

Courtney H. said...

I miss the Norelco commercials with Santa Claus riding on the shaver on the snow and saying **Ho, ho, ho!** I thought that commercial was cute!

buddy h said...

I always liked the little details in that animation; how his arms would go up and down as he sped down the hill on the shaver.

Courtney H. said...

Yup. That is why I thought that commercial was so cool!

BobbyV said...

Being born into an upper middle-class family, I never doubted that every new toy or game available would be under the tree Christmas morning. I never had to limit my expectations. That was the high tide of the 1950s economy.

SW said...

Lol. Go Bots = Fake Transformers like Fraggle Rock = Fake Muppets.

SW said...

We had about a $100 limit for my brother and I at Christmas. This usually meant one "big" gift, then a series of smaller items. My mother was always very creative in coming up with gift ideas.

One year my brother and I wanted a Super Nintendo. Didn't happen. The trick this Christmas was being sufficiently grateful for what we did get, while masking our disappointment when we looked under an empty tree, with no SNES in hand.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

Santa came a little late with this one, but damn Steve Scalise has to be one of the best Christmas surprises I've gotten!

Listened to half your podcast with Tim Wise, it's a good one.

Happy Holidays all!