Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Parent Pit

If you’ve ever read your Dante (and you should), you will be impressed at the encyclopedic imagination for torture and suffering the poet was able to cram within thirty-four chapters of the Inferno. The faces of the damned make up the stairs and floor of some parts of Hell, with visitors stepping on them, crushing noses and lips, digging heels into eye sockets. Some unfortunates are impaled, torn apart, gored, sliced, spun in maelstroms, the list goes on and on.

Dante didn’t live long enough to see the refinements upon sheer cruelty the human race has inflicted upon its members. The seven hundred years that have passed since his heyday have demonstrated clearly that despite some theologians’ and philosophers’ claims, we are nowhere near the seraphs, nowhere near the beasts. We are in a class all by ourselves, believe me.

Had Dante been around to witness such elemental horrors as the singing career of any member of the Simpson family, the celebrity status of Joan Rivers, or the ubiquity of “alternative rock” in every public establishment, he’d have headed back to the parchment for a rewrite.

What the Poet could have never ever have dreamed up despite his diabolical imagination is what I had to endure this Monday morning. Were I a believer, I’d certainly have come to the conclusion that the pride of Florence had been chinboning with Yahweh to start my tribulations early. Perhaps a sequel to Job is in the mix.

The sensation for kiddies that is The Wiggles can almost certainly be taken either as a sign of damnation and proof positive in the non-existence of a god of loving mercy and kindness. Mark Twain’s description of the deity as a “malign thug” likewise doesn’t go far enough.

Imagine if you will, four prancing grown men in red, yellow, blue, and purple rejected Star Trek uniforms who dance as if choreographed by a rhythm impaired zombie while singing a collection of already annoying public domain jingles. Add on to that their occasional bit of retarded song writing, their manic facial expressions and bulging eyes and gaping mouths, and their lame-o graphics and captions as though the product wasn’t just aimed at children but produced by them as well.

More? God, yes. Then there’s the co-stars. A mouthless, green Barney wannabe dinosaur, a stupid dog, an octopus with clearly only two working arms, and, worst of all, a fruity pirate named Captain Feathersword who dashes about with some flaming bright bit of fluff in his mitts. To tell the truth, even if he is a dainty smear on piracy, Feathersword is the only one who looks like he’s having unmedicated fun.

More? Shit, yeah. The fuckers are Australian. Pardon the little bit of down-under bashing I’m about to engage in, but save for Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue there is no greater bunch of festering gobs of talentless wankers hopping about the globe than those from that former penal colony. Prior to the Bush Administration, there was (from my traveling experience) only one group of tourists more loathed abroad than Americans and that was the Australians. Stupid, drunk, obnoxious, obscene, loud — and that was just their visiting clergy.

My sister asked me to babysit her son while she went about completing a preschool hearing check — but without once ever mentioning that her going-on-two tyke was into The Wiggles. Granted, I had only an inkling that these children’s favorites were annoying. Any look at any picture of any one of them will demonstrate this.

But with the sound on. With the sound on. When I lie on my deathbed and the words “the horror, the horror” escape my lips, my wife will probably imagine I’m quoting Conrad. Regular readers will be in the know.

My nephew insisted on The Wiggles. He whined for them; he cried for them; he fussed and fussed. I gave in. It wasn’t my house. I was babysitting. When you babysit, you indulge children if it’s harmless enough stuff. The next time I babysit him, I will indulge him in a bit of schnapps in his sippy cup.

The three interminably long bile-inducing DVDs I had stuffed under my soul’s fingernails like bamboo were

The Wiggles Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas. The best thing I can say about this is that at least they were grammatical enough to include that comma betwixt the two “Wiggly”s. I don’t normally go in for Christmas music for the simple fact that most of it is treacle infused pabulum on par with Precious Moments, Thomas Kinkade paintings, and posters of teary eyed puppies. How bad it could really get wasn't clear to me until I popped in this video. With all the money these four Aussie dipshits are pulling in, you’d at least think they could spring for a better Santa than the blatantly fake one that cavorted with them in any one of the nineteen skull splitting song and dance numbers included. Honestly. A fetus could have noted how fake that Blue Light Special beard was. The thing looked like left over Halloween spiderweb held on with the waistband of a pair of tighty-whities.

(For the record, I suspect that every member of The Wiggles is a tighty-whitie man save Jeff who is a Speedo wearing dingaling if ever there were one.)

The Wiggles Wiggly Safari. High point of this video? No unnecessary and annoying repetition of “Wiggly” in the title. The low point? Industrial strength douche bag The Crocodile Hunter pops in for a visit. There are homicidal brain-damaged chimpanzees with permanent priapism I’d rather be locked in a cage with than to spend any more time in my life in the video presence of Steve Irwin. I hear they’re currently testing this video as a means of dispersing rioters. Should intelligent extra-terrestrial life visit our planet during his lifetime, prepare to be exterminated.

The Wiggles Yummy Yummy. Ever wanted to hear a bunch of uber-sucky tunes about food sung by creepy, bad haircut sporting, goofy latent homosexual Australians? All you can stand and then some. For those of you just dying to hear kids warble the words “hot potato” ninety times in a row and call it a song.

By far the best part of this babysitting venture was that my own child virtually ignored these tinpan twits and spent her time hogging the Power Touch Book of Elmo's Big Surprise. She may not go for The Wiggles, but she loves her some Elmo. At least it was a book. On the way home, I was treated to listening to this furry red devil cover The Beatles “Drive My Car.”

For the whole twenty minutes.


Every so often I check in on my traffic, and I'm always amazed to see how popular this particular review is, especially in other countries. I think my hit count might be about one third less were it not for this little bit of savagery.

I see from my sitemeter traffic monitor-thingie that there are a great, great many readers, quite specifically a great number of southern hemisphere readers, who show up to read this review. If any of you feel like it, please write me at the above email address with the subject line "Re: The Parent Pit." I'd be interested to know a.) how you've heard of this review, b.) what you thought of it, and c.) if you've passed it along to anyone else.

Ps. I'd also like you to know that I don't really have anything against Australians. That was just a pose adopted to amuse myself at the time I wrote this. I rather like Peter Carey's work. Anyway....

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