Thursday, May 7, 2009

I Never Understood Modern Art

They say parents should support their children's creativity by encouraging and praising their artwork, regardless of whether or not it is actually "good" by any normal standards.  Wow, Ellington, look at all those scary looking spiders you drew!  Oh, that's our family - even better.  We have really crazy hair, don't we?  And so many arms and legs!  

But what do you do when your child brings home a crazily phallic art sculpture made of a long paper towel tube topped by a particularly bulbous plastic cap?  Why, you proudly carry it around Times Square (Hong Kong) and then help her find a permanent place to display it on her bedroom nightstand, of course!

That is actually a friend's true story.  But I'm kind of surprised that none of my children have brought home any arty phalluses yet.  Which is not to say that we haven't had any close encounters, just not of the home-made kind.

Take the velcro banana toy I bought for Guinness when he was about two and a half.  I know, you're thinking that anyone is just asking for trouble if they choose to bring home a velcro banana toy.  But really, it's part of a whole velcro fruits and vegetables set.  It comes with a plastic knife, and the kids can pretend to cut up the food and put them back together.  Most of them make sense and are quite normal.  

Then there's the banana.  The banana has a removable peel.  The three pieces of peel each have a dot of velcro on the top and bottom of the peel to hold them to the inside banana.  The inside banana on the other hand, has a thing strip of velcro that completely rings each end about an inch off the tip.  You know where I'm going here.  

So, that evening 6 years ago, Michael came home and was greeted by two excited kids playing with their new velcro food set.  Guinness was diligently cutting up the orange and cauliflower.  Cayman, meanwhile, had denuded the banana and was waving it around in her fist.  At a couple months shy of one, she was still in the mouthing stage where most of her toys eventually ended up in her mouth.  You know where I'm going here.  

Now coincidentally phallic junk art is one thing.  But you can't tell me that toy designer that didn't know what he was doing....