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On a recent shopping trip with a friend I found myself in a store where I had no intention of buying anything. This happens frequently in my life since I have zero disposable income and I detest shopping. I go with her because she is my friend and likes to have company while she looks at everything and anything in every store she goes in. this is torture for me and absolute proof that I am a good friend since I often find myself wanting to chew my own arm off to escape.
We were the store and my friend was standing in a line that was so long I think it may have ended someplace in Montana. She had run into someone she knew and was chatting away so I took the opportunity to wander away. I hate standing in lines almost as much as I hate shopping. I went to a wall where there were a bunch of magazines and books for enthusiasts of art and crafting to try and find something to look at while I waited. While I was perusing the stands I noticed a magazine cover with something so hideously ugly on it that I was forced to take a closer look. The publication was aimed at doll and doll making enthusiasts and the doll prominently featured on the front was so horrible and frightening that I thought it should have a plain brown paper wrapping on it to cover the front and prevent small children from having seizures or nightmares. I started flipping through the magazine and discovered that as terrifying as the doll was on the front cover, it was nothing compared to the even more horrifying dolls could be found on the pages. My definition of what constitutes the art of doll making was obviously vastly different from whatever definition was used by the publishers because in my mind, these were not dolls. They were ugly, twisted figures of terror that you would be likely to find in the special effects department of some horror movie studio.
I was amazed. Had the doll makers of the world run out of ideas for lovely dolls and decided throw out a tradition of porcelain beauties and go for hideous, twisted, grimacing, ghoulish trolls instead? Judging by what I saw in the magazine, it was clear to me that I had not been keeping up with the latest trends in the art of doll making. In fairness, I really couldn't care less about the latest trends in doll making, which might explain why I was both ignorant and surprised, but I just could not get over how icky so many of the dolls were. Even the ones I assumed were not designed to be terrifying looked like they came out of the severely diseased mind of some psychopath. I have been to a doll museum before and can recall looking at some truly beautiful works by masters and thinking, “What extraordinary craftsmanship, it looks so lifelike and beautiful it almost seems like it wants to speak to me.” With the dolls in this magazine I was thinking, “What kind of weirdo would dream this up? I almost seems as if it wants to kill me.”
According to what I read in the magazine these are “Art” dolls and collectors are willing to spend enormous amounts of money for them. Why anyone would want to shell out a small fortune for a doll that looks like its favorite pastime is murdering people in their beds, I can't imagine. If I somehow came into possession of one of these works of art I would gladly pay someone else to take it away, sprinkle holy water on it, and burn it at the stake. Some of the dolls I looked at made that horror movie doll look like Little Bo Peep. There was a mermaid who was supposed to be adorable but looked to me as if it might bite your leg off if you dangled it in any body of water where it happened to be hanging out. There was one doll that looked remarkably like Cruella DaVille, but on crack and possessed by a demon. I saw one doll that I think was supposed to look like some high society fashion maven but looked more like the Bride of Frankenstein after a couple of years of hard labor in a prison camp.
My youngest son has always maintained that all dolls are basically pretty creepy. He even finds my adorable girlhood Kewpie Doll icky. There might be something to his theory since artists and movie makers seem to be fond of using dolls as ways to terrify viewers. I can think of a dozen examples and more of scenes in books and movies with dismembered, blinded, or maimed dolls that are supposed to be horrifying. I briefly considered buying the magazine and bringing it home to show him so that he might look more kindly on my poor Kewpie, but I realized that it would probably be a waste of time. Although the experience might stretch the topmost level of his creepy barometer substantially, it probably would not knock my poor Kewpie off his list – just change her relative status.
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