The Real Uglydolls of DC

So I am clicking through the papers this morning when I see on the front page of the Chicago Sun Times a headline teaser that catches my eye – "Sasha's dad has cool job, but pals will marvel at Uglydoll". Sasha is my favorite of the two Obama girls, with full cheeks and button eyes that remind me of one of my cousins during their childhood. But its this "Uglydoll" reference that's got my attention, because I've never heard of them before.

Another click and I've got the whole story about the Uglydoll, an accidental toy design that seems to be the rage among the younger children of the well-to-do. I look down the page while I'm reading and there they are, the entire cast of Uglydoll's are all lined up for a photo shoot.

They are definitely ugly.

When I enlarge the photograph, the first thing I think about as I look at these things are the hacky sack and Birkenstocks, two items I'd never heard of until the first time I went away to summer camp. To go from my black middle class life into this world, where kids might have diets based on their political convictions, rather than what their mothers had in their refrigerator, or wear expensive clothes that looked like they came from Goodwill - that was a learning experience.

I clicked the arrow at the top of the group picture, and there they were - Uglyworm, Wedgehead, Deer Ugly, Chuckanucka, and so on - the whole line of Uglydolls shown one at a time. I thought about the mischievous Sasha, lining up her own collection of Uglydolls for her friends and renaming them after the new faces that have been popping up alongside the old ones with which she's so familiar.

It’s the kind of thing we all used to do as children when the adult world began to intrude on the cozy one we'd created for ourselves. After looking at the third or fourth one, I started reverting back to my childhood as the faces of the dolls started to suggest to me the faces of members of Congress.

If you click through these pictures of these misshapen beasts for yourself, you might see what I see. Harry Reid. Nancy Pelosi. Hillary Clinton. Mitch McConnell. Barney Frank. They're all there, in all their wedge headed, worm bodied, three eyed glory - the Real Uglydolls of DC.

The members of Congress might not be actual Uglydolls, but there are some ugly undercurrents going on in its halls this week. The House Democrats appear to be backpedaling away from the Obama stimulus package they were so "rah rah" about last month. Senator Harry Reid's own brand of electoral redlining, where he rejects all the black candidates for the vacant Illinois Senate seat, is very likely to be captured on tape in a conversation with Rod Blagojevich.

The same Senator Reid is expected at a showdown this week when Roland Burris comes to claim his Senate seat, a showdown in which Reid will have to rely on chutzpah and his steely eyed gaze, since the law and Congressional precedent seem to be working against him.

I can see Sasha in her room now, bringing the Wedgehead Uglydoll to within a nose breadth of her face to interrogate it. "Are you telling my daddy the truth? Can you be trusted? Or do you want to spend the night in the closet? Alone? In the dark?"

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Shae said...

I have Ice Bat (2nd Row, 2nd doll).

It was my understanding that uglydolls were not for wealthy kids, but for young adult hipsters to place on beds in modern-decorated spare rooms. I guess it depends on what blogs you read.

Not that I have a spare room -- I sleep with Ice Bat.

S.W. Anderson said...

Even with kids, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like your attribution to the dolls being kids' own special thing, all the better if adults don't understand how and why. That rings true.

Re: the Burris affair. I've tried to get over seeing Joe Lieberman's footprints on Harry Reid's face, replacing George W. Bush's. But this is too much. What Reid is doing flouts the law in the same unacceptable way Bush is infamous for. Senate Democrats should replace Reid with Chris Dodd or John Kerry.

Before all this came up, I had never seen or heard of Burris. Now, I admire him. I hope he gets the seat, and if he does a good job over the next two years, I hope he'll win re-election to it.

MSNBC reports tonight Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, says the law is on Burris' side and that he should be seated. Good for her. Now, Reid's out on a creaky limb, looking like a jerk.

BTW, for all I think Reid is wrong on this and being a jerk, I don't think racial prejudice figures into it.

Brown Man said...


I must be in a good mood - "I sleep with Ice Bat" is almost too juicy to leave alone.

If I mentioned these dolls to - well, I don't know very many people with kids this age - I'll get back to on that one - I would just imagine that this would draw a blank. But I could be wrong - I haven't been in Toys R Us in almost ten years.


Burris IS your new Senator - just got finished watching the news - no other way to slice it.

Anonymous said...

Toys R us wishes they could sell Ugly Dolls!
The company won't let big stores sell them.
Mostly small mom n' pop shops.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

This was very clever. Loved it!

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