Friday, January 16, 2009

Obama-rama-ding-dong: Plush Like Me

It's Obama fever., the no shame celebrity gossip site, named Barack Obama 2008 Celebrity of the Year. No amount of sax playing on Arsenio and Oval Office shtupping could have earned Bill Clinton this kind of politician-as-celebrity status. Hell, the Reagans started their careers as actors, yet Nancy's outfits failed to inspire national trends. You can say it's the 24-hour news cycle or idiot bloggers with nothing better to do, but Jackie O and the Kennedys managed similar feats of political celibrigodliness back when black and white televisions still outsold color sets and stations signed off at midnight. And I seem to remember something about one of the Founding Fathers' wives bringing Parisian fashion to the consciousness of the American elite.

I'm not going to analyze why people go gaga over some politicians and don't give a crap about others. Instead, I'm giving in and looking at what the Obamas tell me is cool. After all, I actually like the Obamas. I voted for Barack in the primary and the general election. I voted for Rahm Emanuel however many times he was up for reelection while I lived in his district in Chicago. I like what Barack is doing politically, I think Michelle dresses like a stylish human being instead of the freaky robot crap the other First Ladies of my lifetime have opted for, and the kids are cute. They're like a step up from kittens or that piglet who wears galoshes. Chelsea Clinton entered the white house as an awkward 12 in braces. Not so cute. But a couple of overdressed little Lincolns? Adorable.

So enough introductory yapping. Here's my point: From now until the inauguration, I'm going to explore some of the trends the Obamas are setting, or at least fanning. Today: Ugly Dolls.

A week and a half ago, Sasha Obama went to her first day at her new school in DC with Babo's Bird the Ugly Doll hanging from her backpack. The media went ape, and Ugly Dolls flew off the shelves. Even grownups, like the Daily Beast's Kathleen Parker went out and bought herself Ugly Doll keychain Icebat to hang off her purse.

At age 26 (for some reason I always think I'm 27...), I finally know the formula to be "cool" in elementary school: get the exact same Ugly Doll as Sasha Obama. Only the Alphas are allowed to get the ones that are different and have it still be cool. Otherwise, you just got the wrong one. The Alphas can do what Kathleen Parker did and opt for a slightly different Ugly - Trunko, perhaps - but nothing that strays too far from the norm. Uglyworm may be your true favorite, but carry him and risk taunts like "is that even really an Ugly Doll?" and "What's with the giant green sperm?" You'd be amazed how many kids know the phrase "cum dumpster" by the time they're 10.

BUT! At age 26, I am (for all intents and purposes) a GROWN UP now! The world is a much bigger place. For whatever reason, I've always found Ugly Dolls fairly appealing, and strange plush in general tends to make me very happy. So! they may not be Ugly Dolls, but "cool" or "Alpha" or "Epsilon," here are some of my absolute favorite stuffed oddities:

Perfect Children. "Animals that must be believed to be seen."

This whole shop makes me happy. It's one of the first places I go online when I'm feeling sad and fussy. The descriptions of the items are as fantastic as the creatures themselves. One of my BFFs actually got me Gravitron last year and I love him very much. He's extremely well made and has that strange but lovable quality that makes this whole category of plush so appealing.

She specializes in bunnies that say things like swear words or "cake" or "herpes" or "omg." She has literally hundreds of them and has sold over a thousand.

Spiderbite. Nightmare journals.

I don't know what it is with "spider____" Etsy shops, but that's besides the point. The point: furry snuggly monsters that are journals! Yes, these are awesome. If I wasn't on a journal diet (I have so many effing blank blank books right now it's sick) I would totally get myself one.


I first encountered this world of fabulous at the DIY trunk show. They're weird little plush things that come with smaller weird little plush things. Some of them are eating their babies, others are more like wack-a-mole if the moles were coming out of a giant mommy mole pillow. Perhaps some day I'll use them to replace my couch cushions.

Just poke through the Etsy plush category or the Plush Team's blog for awhile. There's all sorts of fabulous stuff to be found. Who knows, maybe you can be as cool as Sasha Obama.

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