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Friday 17 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen

This viral video of an adorable, funny toddler is so entertaining! Why do I hate it?

You Tube

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 05/23/17

Okay, she’s cute as the dickens — no argument, there — and this is a funny video, too, but let’s talk about this…

I mean, no 2-3 year old, no matter how bright, does this without a LOT of prompting. And little Mila is a great little actress, but still…the video makes me uncomfortable. The camera cuts, the angles, the changing hairstyle tells us that this took hours of time to produce. This is an intentional marketing of the child — not a spontaneously “cute” moment captured on camera and shared — which is troubling enough, sometimes — but a scripted, polished product brought to market (right down to the captioning that insures we don’t miss a single adorable mispronunciation) for our mindless enjoyment and the profit of others.

So…the parental grooming for a life lived before the cameras enters into this. Yes, it’s a cute thing. Is it a good thing, either for the kid or for us? A few weeks ago some parents who put time into creating videos in which they “pranked” their children for the sake of their profitable YouTube audience lost custody of first two of their kids (and later all five) because — as Hollywood has shown us countless times — if you want to keep people watching you have to up your game, and the screaming and crying on display, which were horrible to watch, finally became too much for some.

So, in the case of little Mila and her channel, we’re not watching a kid being emotionally hammered. We’re being entertained by a toddler channeling a “mean girl”, and (if the comments with the video are representative) we’re also being made a little uneasy.

I think we should be a lot uneasy, for a lot of reasons, some of which I’ve said before.

There is something sick going on, when every engagement or pregnancy “reveal” requires a professional photographer for the “perfectly staged” (but inauthentic) pictures, or every pregnancy announcement requires a massively produced video. We are becoming a culture that stages every moment of our lives no matter how intensely personal and private it should be for the cameras, and for an audience of emotional parasites who travel along on the backs of it all, feeding on feelings, consuming human emotion like junkies, constantly in need of another fix of “aw” or “sniff” or “OMG!”

She’s cute as heck. I confess, I enjoyed the video. But I didn’t like it.

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