I am honored to share coverage of popular culture with the thoughtful posters over at Idol Chatter. Two posts I have especially liked this week are Ellen Leventry’s commentary on the new homeless American Girl doll and the Mont Blanc $25,000 pen commemorating Mohandas Gandhi, a concept so stunning that at first I assumed it was a parody. She says:
Sure, American Girl has been working with HomeAid America, a leading national nonprofit provider of housing for the homeless, since 2006, and they have successfully addressed important social issues with other dolls, including Addy Walker, an escaped slave who is trying to reunite her family, and the Depression-era, penny-pinching Kit Ketteridge. But, American Girl is taking a problem that is less safely historical and merchandising it in the same way. In this recession, with more and more individuals and families becoming homeless, surely the Mattel-owned company could give a generous percentage of the sales of the even-in-economically-good-times-exorbitantly priced doll to charity?
That would certainly reinforce the learning experience of this doll. And I agree, too, that while Mont Blanc is giving some of the profits from this pen to charity, including one approved by Gandhi’s great-grandson, there is something fundamentally inconsistent in the idea of honoring a man whose possessions could be contained in a shoebox with a pen that costs as much as a car.
I also loved Esther Kustanowitz’s post on “The Family Goy,” about an episode of “The Family Guy” that explores Lois’ Jewish identity. There’s a link to the episode, too, so take a look.