My Own Private Guantanamo

Pranks, Power and Pop Culture


The Adult Baby Zeitgeist

March 27, 2011

How much longer will the mainstreaming of the adult baby continue before the New York Times publishes a trend piece? Well, I’m not gonna sit around, sucking my thumb, waiting to find out. I call dibs now. This scoop is MINE, ALL MINE.

Nevertheless, I’m sure that the author of this hypothetical trend piece would begin by noting this bizarre “Live Young” ad campaign for Evian, now appearing on LA’s finer bus shelters.

The judicious researcher would then find other examples from the world of print advertising.

But, our writer would note, this phenomenon is not confined to print ads.

The paper of record might also point to more overt displays of infantilism in Hollywood advertising.

A particularly adept cultural critic would then note the phenomenon of Hollywood actresses literally eating baby food to lose weight.

The discussion of Hollywood would likely include a few paragraphs on the emergence of the “manchild” in popular movies, especially those of one Judd Apatow. If the author has a feminist bent, they might also note that women are reduced to the dual role of mommy and lover in such scenarios.

Ms. Heigl, behind you. An escape ladder!

The “manchild” would then be connected to more overt examples of the adult baby in film and television.

They would likely include at least one example from popular culture that confronts the adult baby as a legitimate variation in human sexuality, if one inevitably doomed to dysfunction.

An erudite writer may note that the adult baby has existed in cinema for at least a few decades. Here’s the chance to bring in a classic Hollywood figure like Mickey Rooney.

The NYT writer might even mention an obscure 70s exploitation film or a John Waters movie.

The writer might then strike a sociological note, pointing to the trend by which children (and especially girls) are being sexualized at younger ages, with things like “virgin waxing,” and push-up bikini tops for adolescents and high heels for toddlers hitting the mainstream.

Our writer might then speculate on how this cultural trend in which children “grow up so quickly” is mirrored by another trend in which adults become increasingly infantilized.

If the writer is particularly daring, he might assert that there are aspects of accepted mainstream sexual expression which share some similarity with the exotic world of the adult baby.

Having made a convincing case that there is something going on in the culture at large, our writer will probably wrap up at this point, acknowledging that he or she has barely scratched the surface, while signaling that there is a complementary phenomenon, equally deserving of another 10,000 word think piece. For these reasons, Quizno’s Baby Bob and The E-Trade Baby will have to wait their turn.

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