Thursday, April 7, 2011

The inane party planner

At present I am travelling, having been to Victoria on Vancouver Island and now in Vancouver. Both places are wonderful and it is not often I visit cities where I can envision myself living without having to give up the sense of security that I associate with my home base of Iceland.

Often in hotel rooms I watch TV - something that I do not do much of at home. This time around I was unlucky enough to see a program called the Party Planner which was appalling on so many levels that I need to vent. IT was one of those reality programs, revolving around parties being planned for the very rich - and very stupid.

I only managed to watch two parties, I could take no more. One was a birthday celebration for a five year old girl where the main event of the party involved giving the little guests attending pedicures and manicures. There is something so wrong about small girls undergoing something so ridiculous as entertainment, as wrong was a big hoopla involving a Santa Clause that refused to wear a pink Santa suit to match the party's theme colour and stamping out. It was supposed to be dramatic and shocking - dear god! What will the party planner do now? Instead it was simply pathetic.

The second party was worse than the first because then you could see what happens to little girls that get pedicures and manicures at five and argue with Santa Clause about the colour of his suit. It was again a birthday party but now for a sixteen year old girl that was so spoiled rotten that she had begun to ferment. The party theme was Eurotrash - something that coming from Europe I had a hard time connecting with as it seemed to involve hiring transvestites and next to naked trapese artist to entertain. The girl was interviewed and she told the world boldly that she her only craft was shopping and that her best friend was her credit card. She proudly added that there was no limit on the card.

This poor girl's idiotic parents bought her a racehorse for her birthday. This was the drama of this particular party as it was A) unclear if the horse could be transported to the party in time and B) the girl wanted a Mercedes Benz as a present despite not having a driver's licence, something that had not stopped her parents from already have given her an Audi which she hated. The race horse was said to cost over five times more than a new Benz but no one seemed fazed over this.

The highlight of this Eurotrash party was when the twohundred or so teenaged guests invited were all paraded out of the party to see birthday girl receive her present. For me this was the lowest point of a show already scraping the very bottom. Why would anyone want to force other children that probably did not come from the same wealth to watch such an exaggerated gift giving moment is to me completely inexplicable. But what I really wanted to know was how did these idiots become wealthy? It cannpot have been because of any samrts. Did they win the lottery?

But there were other things on the TV that had more merit. I saw a documentary about Marion Jones, the track and field star that fell from grace. Now that is a remarkable woman, rising up to the very top, falling down and yet keeping her spirit intact. The program left me with a feeling of sadness, of greatness being purposely marred in a vindictive way. None of the sportsmen who did exactly what she did and lied to the same committee that she did were ever made pay or saw the inside of any jail cell - as she did.

Completely unfair - as is the distribution of wealth in the world.

Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. Yrsa, you have discovered the secret of life in the United States. If one is not already stupid and rich, one aspires to be.

    I watch very little television because what was once half-way decent entertainment has been given over to "reality" shows although I can't imagine whose reality is being displayed. Kids like those on the shows have everything and nothing. Their reality is such that the 5 year-old isn't going to remember her party because being placed in situations where she is made to be older is probably her reality. If you want to see heart-breaking, catch one of the shows about 4 year-olds competing in beauty pageants.

    As for the sixteen year-old girl, don't worry about her friends. It isn't likely that she would socialize with anyone who isn't in the same financial bracket. Her problem, one that is now her burden to carry, is concern about how much better the next birthday parties of her friends are going to be. They have to make sure the bar is higher for their big night.

    I enjoy buying clothes for my niece's daughters but that is ending soon. The oldest is in the third grade, she is going to be nine, and she is moving into the size range that I labeled "baby hooker" when my 28 year-old daughter was her age. One would think that after all these years the mothers and grandmothers would rise up and demand clothing that is age appropriate, but it hasn't happened. Girls are deprived of childhood. I'm such an old crank that I didn't let my two have Barbie dolls. Cabbage Patch Kids and stuffed animals got my approval.

    My kids always had birthday parties with their friends. Until I got smart, I was the entertainment director so the parties always involved some sort of craft so the guests would have something to take home. When middle daughter was in the third grade, I had a house full of loud little girls so to tone down the decibel level, I lined them up to play that old game "telephone". The first girls makes up something to say and then it gets passed down the line and the fun is how different the last girl heard what the first one said. If there are fifteen girls and each must have her turn, that eats up a wonderful block of time. I was surprised to learn that none of the guests had heard of the game. From that point on, it was standard entertainment every time she had a group at the house. Cost nothing. No one's feelings got hurt. Everybody loved it and they all thought I was the most clever mother in the world for having invented it. That made a memorable party.

    The trick to a great party is to stick to a two-hour time frame but plan as if the party was going to last for four. Never give the sweeties one unoccupied moment and everyone survives with their brains intact.

    I got smart when I discovered that a local gym did birthday parties. Nothing I could come up with at home could compete with being in a contraption that turns a child into Peter Pan. Ninety minutes of constant movement topped off with pizza and cake can't be beat. All the kids go home tired and their parents are grateful.

    Poverty is a scourge that impacts in every way on the lives of children. But more children are ruined by unlimited money because it is so hard for them to learn the value of anything.

    I think I have spent far too much of my life with kids.


  2. I wish I had an answer for what drives these folks to work so hard at living their own dreams through the circuses they make of their children's lives. It's one thing for them to do it to themselves, but to their children...

    And it's far from just a U.S. phenomenon. I see it all over the world.


  3. Hi Yrsa,

    Are you still in Vancouver? Are you making any public appearances? I'm heading there today and will endeavor to see you if you are.


  4. Ah, Yrsa -- How could you be on the west coast without coming to Los Angeles? And if you've come to Los Angeles, how could you not let me know? I'd love to buy you a meal, and not fermented putrid skate, either.

    The behavior of Ameritrash is increasingly objectionable in this age of widening gulfs between the rich and the hungry. Their selfishness and the total obtuseness with which they undertake lives that they probably think are enviable, is breathtaking. One word: Kardashian. A bunch of over-made up sluts in black clothes preening for the cameras hour after hour while presumably sane Americans sit in front of their TV sets and wet their laps with envious drool. (The ratings are high.)

    It's this kind of greasy opulence that drives so much of the rest of the world crazy. I don't mean the Islamic radicals. They're already crazy.

    Now, who haven't I offended?

  5. Hi all,

    I just want to thank you for your comments - a bit late unfortunately as always. It is a mission of mine to be more prompt when it comes to this but as missions go it is so far a complete failure. Not abandoned though.

    Boatlady - I was not on Vancouver on the Saturday - I flew back to ICeland that day from Seattle. I will try to blog in advance of my trips if anyone is interested in meeting me or attending any of my appearances.

    On that note I will be in Bristol for Crimefest - it is great, smaller than many of these conventions and really fun.

    bye Yrsa