My old man writes letters to the head of programming at TLC to protest Toddlers and Tiaras as a form of child abuse, so I thought I’d send him a Honey Boo Boo update. In case you’re in need of one, the short version is that Honey Boo Boo’s mother, Mama June (June Shannon), is suspected of re-starting a relationship with a convicted child molester who molested her daughter Anna when Anna was 8. (Anna is now 20). While I was looking for a good overview of the shituation (best one I found here), I ran across a New Republic article by Sarah Marshall. Marshall thinks that the Honey Boo Boo franchise should be resurrected as some kind of moral tale about the trials and tribulations of being poor:
In the show’s new incarnation, TLC could present June Shannon not as a joke or a villain, but as a woman who became a mother long before she had the emotional or financial resources to raise a child, and who has enabled harm to befall her daughters not because she is evil, but because of her limitations. They can expose the layers of fear and self-loathing and codependence that can lead a woman to privilege her relationship with a man above her children’s safety. They can look deeper at the vulnerability that lives beneath June and her family’s brazen exteriors: at June’s legal blindness and disabling cataracts, at Anna and Lauryn’s history of abuse, and at the real little girl who lives somewhere within the “Honey Boo Boo” of gif sets and T-shirts, underneath the mop of ringlets and behind the set of quips and catchphrases that seem just a little too epigrammatically profane to have been cooked up on the spot by a six-year-old.
Maybe I’m not made of the right kind of liberal stuff, but this strikes me as one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard. It’s also grossly condescending to the vast majority of poor people who deal with many of the same issues as Mama June yet keep their children away from child molesters. But perhaps I’m judging too harshly and there’s a place for Mama June Shannon as the vehicle by which a television program, presumably produced by PBS, would raise awareness of the plight of poor mothers.