Friday, February 26, 2010

Mrs Peepcock, in the Conservatory, with the Revolver

Okay, before you read any further, you all need to check out some marshmallow peep dioramas:

Generally, I abhor the trend of festive candies being sold months before their respective holidays (example: at the Sheetz gas station in Bellwood, on December 26th, Reese’s peanut butter eggs--an Easter candy--were already being sold alongside Valentine’s Day treats), since it usually amounts to nothing more than a revenue-grabbing scheme.

And also, it kinda takes the fun out of holidays, having 90 days of a holiday instead of all that quiet anticipation building up to one fantastic moment, when you find that Easter basket or Christmas presents in bright paper. Waiting gets a bit bothersome.

But after the above reader-submitted link, I have a slightly different take on festive treats--provided you can make them fun.

Apparently, every year, the Washington, D.C. metro area sponsors this marshmallow peep diorama competition. What amazed me with all of these entries--aside from how punny most of these funny bunny scenes were--is the depth of pop culture references. The Twilight Zone, Clue, and John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath are all parodied by the peep dioramas.

What’s intriguing about all of this is how these things still have cultural resonance, long after their respective eras. A number of writers complain that people just don’t have the minds they used to, that people aren’t as aware of things as they might have been back in the day. But that’s not the case here--this marshmallow com-Peep-itition is some tactile (and sugary) evidence that there’s still something fun and sweet in our catalogue of literary, board game, and television references. And people pay attention to--and remember--all of these things.


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