Madness? THIS. IS. PLAYSCHOOL!

I wrote a REALLY long post in my Uni blog today. (The title was “There’s a bear in there, and it disapproves”)

Without going into risky waters of likening anything to pedobear, I will clarify that yes, I am making a Playschool reference.

I was on the phone with a friend who is still in Yr 12 this year, and in the process of our conversation I mentioned that I actually used to watch Playschool up until I was 17. You know, when you’re reading a book in the living room and complete silence unnerves you (at least, it unnerves me) so you turn on the TV just for the sound. I used to do this during my school holidays, when my parents weren’t home.

In those days, we only had ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten, SBS and that other channel with the fish swimming back and forth for 5 hours each day. During the day, the only shows on the commercial channels were old-grandma shows, like Days of Our Lives (which I did end up watching during a period of time when I stayed home cos I was feeling a bit feverish and thought I had the Swine Flu but that’s another story), or those boring fishing shows for stay-at-home dads. I was a teenage girl. Those shows not only FAILED to capture my attention, they actively DESTROYED my SOUL.

SBS was usually showing a Russian news anchor firing off rapid speech, and for a while I thought he was recounting a particularly distasteful rampage of a rapist, he sounded that angry, but then the story turned out to be some old lady turning 90. (A bit of racist stereotype there. BY THE WAY, I totally got this off the Simpsons. I searched but can’t find the video clip to show you.)

So I was left with ABC. Remember, I had no amazing new choices like GO! or Seven2, or SevenMate for TV shows I actually like, and there weren’t two other ABC channels where I can watch more Arthur (which, by the way, is still awesome).

So, while reading my book, I would have ABC running in the background. As you would, you start to recognise all the shows, and you start sort of having this guilty pleasure in putting down your book when the familiar “There’s a bear in there” comes on.

I admitted to my friend on the phone, who is Yr 12, about to turn 18 and way too cool, that when I was in Yr 10, and I was watching one of the episodes of Playschool (my favorite playmate was Karen, the only Asian chick. Dude. She clearly was better) I actually learned, from Playschool, that avocadoes grew on trees. I had no idea before that. I didn’t know WHERE they came from but I didn’t think it was trees. So there I was, 16 going on 17, doing a VE&T course at Swineburne outside of my school hours, and I learn from PLAYSCHOOL.

When she heard this, my awesomely-cool friend (who we’ll name Brenda, cos that’s totally not her name or anything) started laughing hysterically. She was actually having difficulties stopping, and so I sat there for about 5 minutes while she wheezed with laughter at the other end. When she finally decided to breathe again, she clarified, “YOU learned from PLAYSCHOOL when you were SIXTEEN!?”

And so, 8 paragraphs in, I finally get to the point of this post.

I have spent the past…hmm let’s see…probably since Yr 6 I have been laboriously building an image of myself. Admittably, in Yr 9 when I changed schools, I threw away most of my work and tried to start anew. Still, the point is that, as a young adolescent, I spent quite a lot of time creating this certain image of myself.

And this included the stuff I bought and consumed. I started caring about my hair a lot more when my parents finally let me go to an actual hairdressers, and I cared about my clothes (though still not as much as most girls my age) near the end of Yr 9. I especially started caring about my media image (and this media I mean by internet and technology gadgets etc) by Yr 10, when it became apparent to me that my goals in life involved the Media heavily.

I deleted my old blog on Xanga (which looked great, but had horrid spelling and grammar and it was full of me bitching), and started one on WordPress after going to a Journalism Convention thing. I deleted that WordPress as well, but not because it was horrible like Xanga. You don’t need to know why. I got a new WordPress in Yr 11, and has kept that since (yes, that’s the WordPress that this appears in as well).

I held of getting Facebook for a while, because it felt like it was giving too much power to other people to mold what I appear to them – they comment, they tag, they like – but, in the end, for communications’ sake (and because everyone else was doing it) I got one.

I didnt hesitate in getting Twitter, because that, I felt, was me in power. On my profile, you only see what I posted. I may not have many followers, but it wasn’t like the follower count was at 0.

Finally, I got Tumblr. I got it on the basis that I felt my WordPress wasn’t pictorial enough, and I wanted more pictures. Tumblr gave me the power to follow people with similar tastes to me, and for me to repost what I like. This action of reposting what I like shows to people who subsequently follow ME what kind of person I am.

Brenda was a friend I’d met on Tumblr through mutual friends. The image she received of me initially was a sarcastic and cynical one I have on my Tumblr account. She told me that she thought I was rather “snarky” on Tumblr, because I wasn’t hesitant in shooting anyone down, and I wrote captions that were borderline rude.

She added me on Facebook, which didn’t change her opinion that much. I linked both my Twitter and Tumblr to Facebook, so whatever public image I create on Tumblr and on Twitter, I have to maintain it on Facebook.

But then she added me on MSN. MSN is definitely much more private than Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter. I am more like my physical presence on MSN. And it was there that she saw I was different.

Still, I kept a certain image of myself on MSN, as I do in every day life. I was vocal about how much I love TV shows like NCIS, Glee, HIMYM etc, and I wasn’t shy to admit I love Pokemon – anywhere. But one thing that I do not admit too vocally was my tendency towards children’s shows (Arthur doesn’t count). I like watching them to see what they consider approrpiriate codes to present to children, and also because it’s kind of funny to see grown adults play with dolls.

So when Brenda regained her regular breathing pattern, I realized that the image that I’d created had been slightly shattered by the fact that I apparently do something that goes AGAINST the ideology I created about myself. No matter what I said to her, I will always have the label of “Playschool lover” on my forehead.

I’m saying this out loud now, not only because it goes with the topic of branding through what we consume, but also because I don’t see how watching Playschool makes me a loser. It’s all subjective, right? I personally don’t get why people watch the Kardashians show, or that show with Snooki in it. I used to love the Idol and X Factor shows, but I have began to see them as contrived and fake. Playschool is purposefully fake, it’s purposefully staged, but I don’t see any underhanded influencing of the audience (yes, they promote mostly a heterosexual nuclear family, but I honestly don’t see any positives in confusing really little kids with the gay-rights thing. Teaching kids about gay-rights can come a bit later in life, and of course is solely dependent on their own parents).

I’m sorry for such a long post, but I really tried to not use big complicated words because I hate reading them too.

Alex.

In other news, and this I swear was not a request…haha okay it was a teeny bit a request but I’m more than glad to do it:

I think I’m a decent singer, but no way I have enough guts to lead sing in a band. My friend JAYMEE, however, has the guts. And, thankfully for her, the skills to back those guts up.

Check out her YouTube account: MyNameIsJaymeeNotAmy, and below is one of her videos. (And, no, I’m not running ads or plugs now, she asked me to and I think she deserves it. If I don’t know you and you randomly ask me to plug you, um, no.)

Check out her wild emotional hand gestures and her soulful eye closing!

Alex.

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