It's the three-story American Girl Doll store ("American Girl Place") on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, and Paige almost suffered an aneuryism of over-stimulation and joy when I took her and a friend there on Paige's birthday. Even on the walk over from 51st Street and Broadway, my Alaskan child was completely in thrall with the sight of a double-decker bus; a street-meat food truck vendor; the skaters and ten-story Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center; and a trio of men smoking cigarettes on the street. So you can imagine what American Girl Place did to her.
This utter racket of a dolly enterprise--as capitalist, manipulative, and over-priced as it is--at least attempts to celebrate age-appropriate, educational, and wholesome multi-racial and multi-abilities empowerment, instead of the hyper-sexualized, shopaholic, "math-is-hard" message of its numerous competitors.
Accordingly, American Girl should--and indeed has!--inspired a poem based on The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, which students of 7th grade civics will recall appears on the pedestal of The Statute of Liberty at Ellis Island:
Not like the busty sluts of Barbie fame,
With emaciated limbs astride from boob to boob;
Here at our prime piece of Manhattan real estate shall stand
A zillion girls with parents, whose credit cards
Are now melted from over-use to buy a doll whose name
From her Medic-alert bracelet clad wrist and vacant, plastic happy stare
Glows world-wide welcome (for those who want to spend more on a doll's clothes, spa treatments, and medical care than they do on their actual children);
Her vacant, bespectacled eyes command
The three-story pink and white abomination that Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall frame.
"Keep your Bratz Babies, LEGO Friends, and Barbie dolls!" cries she
With naturally-tinted pink lips.
"Give me your hysterical, your wide-eyed,
Your masses of little girls yearning to own a Depression era doll named Kit and all of her ironically non-Depression era-priced accoutrements
The wretched refuse of their confused and shaken-down parents.
Send these, the doll-less, tantrum-tost to me,
I lift my toy clarinet and cowgirl lasso beside the double-glass revolving door!"