Are moms of the world aware of how often, when they’re talking to their daughters on the phone, their daughter’s necks are being made out with? Do they have any idea? Because science has proven time and time again that a girl’s neck, an attractive make-out target to begin with, becomes…
I didn’t have high expectations for Green Lantern to begin with, though I’ll still see it. This review is a good statement on everything that Marvel, DC, and the studios that have licensed their characters have churned out since the critical and financial successes of The Dark Knight and Iron Man.
"This is the state of the modern superhero film: expectations have plummeted to the point where studios figure they don’t need to knock themselves out "getting it right" in the scripting phase."
The third book in the Baby-Sitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin is called The Truth about Stacey. In this third book, we learn about Stacey’s history in New York, her history with diabetes and how the BSC are best friends forever. At first read, the novel shares trite information about diabetes and those who suffer with it. Despite its mediocre tone and content about teens, the third book is deeply rich in economic philosophy and theory.
In The Truth About Stacey, Ann M. Martin teaches about the difference between perfect competition and monopolistic competition. Up until this point, the reader believes that the Baby-Sitter’s Club has exclusive rights to Stoneybrook Connecticut. However, in neither of the first two books does Kristy head to the local patent office so therefore, we can assume there are no barriers to entry. Demand for Baby-sitters must be high so a new supplier is needed. Enter the Baby-Sitter’s Agency, a new firm offering a similar yet different product. They are older, can stay out later and claim to be better, yet they care less about the children. This points to monopolistic competition because BSC and the BSA are not perfect substitutes. It is the typical Oreos vs. Hydrox situation, close but not the same. Their products differ in type (agency vs. club), reputation (bad vs. good) and quality of service (TV and boyfriends vs. Kid Kits), all signs of a monopolistic competition. In fact, the only sign of perfect competition is Kristy’s idea of undercutting the competitor’s rates, one that is quickly squashed by the club (or union, more on this later). The BSA eventually folds due to lack of long-run foresight and poor management skills; not to mention the violation of the First Amendment Kristy and the BSC commit by claiming the BSA is irresponsible in public without proof. Because demand diminishes, the BSA is free to leave the market and establish a new company.
Martin also explores Marx’s criticism of capitalism and defends labor unions. During the club and rules explanation (Chapter 2), meetings are held to ensure fairness and make each sitter equal within the club. Each sitter has equal opportunity to receive a job. The means of production, sitting jobs, are shared amongst the different officers, proletariat, of the club. This is equality is Marxist in nature. Also all entries in the BSC notebook and scheduling by Mary Anne document their work creating a paper trail to ensure equality and to meet quotas. In the BSA, there are two owners, of the agency and they set up the work for the sitter. The owners or bourgeoisie decide who gets what job and also get a cut off the top of the profits. This capitalist system eventually folds due to faulty leadership, exploiting labor, and overall lack of screening workers. These follow Marx’s argument against capitalism because workers do not care if they are not invested in the means of production. Martin goes even further to defend labor unions. In the BSC, each member pays their dues to remain in the club, replenish supplies, and pay for expenses incurred. Their weekly meetings keep them in good contact and can help the other officers strike should Kristy create unsatisfactory working conditions. The BSC can be compared to Communist China and its victory over the Capitalist United States (BSA). Since this book was written decades before China’s jump in GDP, Ann M. Martin also is a master of market predictions in addition to encouraging communism.
While deep in economic theory, this book lacks in teen psychology. We never understand why Stacey, Miss New York cool, finds time to meet with much less cool Mary Anne and Kristy. It is not until eighty books later in Stacey vs. the BSC do we start to understand Stacey’s thought process and her questioning her choices. This book lacks clear insight into Stacey’s mind and thus the world of Middle School children still avails us.
Somehow, ritual drunk-conversation concerning team captains for the apocalypse has become a major part of the lives of 20-somethings. Having been matured in the Grandaddy-crowned masterpiece film (put “A.M. 180” on and forget that you have a job) 28 Days Later and the best-selling …
This is the first installment of the Babysitters Club series (1 of 77 books I was able to obtain via the internet). Kristy is a 12 year old girl who, like most people with limited to no education or training, forms a union (the Babysitters Club1) along with her friends Mary Anne, Claudia and new girl Stacey. Kristy is from a divorced family and lives with her single mother, two older brothers and one younger brother who is annoyingly named David Michael, and is referred to as such constantly. Kristy’s father lives in California, rarely calls for special occasions, and does not pay child support. Kristy obviously has a problem with this, but he is my hero. This distrust of her father is an obvious contribution to Kristy’s dislike of her mother’s boyfriend, Watson (and will be the reason she will one day end up as a stripper). The rest of the family’s love is bought by Watson regularly bringing over pizza and Chinese food for dinner, but Kristy purposefully gives him the cold shoulder. Also, she has a dog, Louie.
Mary Anne is a crier with a strict-but-not-abusive father. He seems overprotective, but not unreasonable. Mary Anne is childish and boring.
Claudia is Asian and probably a forerunner of the hipster, evidenced by her quirky fashion choices (the book mentions knee-highs with palm trees on them – can you believe it!?); although, she is without irony. If we drew out a hipster “evolution of man”, Claudia would come well after Buddy Holly but before a topographical map of Williamsburg. Claudia has some other interests I don’t care about, but she also is into boys before Kristy and Mary Anne.
Stacey is the new girl from New York City, shares Claudia’s interest in boys, and is blond.
The girls form the club, elect officers, and jump right into business. The club is definitely modeled after a union. There are monthly dues to be paid, there is a “hall” (designated place for work to be handed out – e.g. Claudia’s bedroom, because she has a phone), and all non-union workers are swiftly eliminated from competition.2
Kristy’s first job ends up being a pet-sitting job for a pair of St. Bernards who live in a China museum or something. Stacey sits for David Michael, but spends most of the time flirting with Kristy’s 14 year old brother Sam during a World Championship Series of Candyland®. I can not recall Claudia participating in actual babysitting duties, although the book alludes to her earning money. No questions from me. [edit: I later remembered Claudia’s babysitting adventure: she calms a group of insane, screaming kids using the tried and true technique of ignoring your children. She powers through reading aloud four books as, little by little, the little monsters run out of steam and listen quietly.]
Mary Anne has an interesting adventure watching Watson’s two children when Kristy refuses. One child can not shut up and believes a witch next door cursed their cat, Boo-Boo, into becoming fat. The other child seemed mildly retarded, as he would only answer “Yup!” when addressed. After being instructed to not handle the ill-tempered cat – well you see where this is going.
Later, after the cat had been cursed a second time, the babysitters smartly decide on keeping notes of each job so each sitter will not make the same mistake twice. This is helpful to Kristy when she is forced to watch Watson’s kids without instruction in an emergency. After emotionally bonding with the children over the shared experience of divorce, Kristy offers up ice cream after lunch. The children balk at this idea, but she informs them that children of divorce are special, and can eat ice cream with impunity; thus, explaining our national childhood obesity epidemic. This eventually leads to Kristy warming up to Watson; engaged to mom; yawn.
The last part of the book deals with some Babysitter Club infighting, as Stacey has been disappearing on the weekends and lying about it! I naturally assumed she was off somewhere starting her own junior high escort business, but during the final pages (and naturally at a slumber party) it is revealed that Stacey has diabetes and that is why she has been “dieting” and lying about her whereabouts, NOT her predilection for male anatomy. The book closes as the girls giggle and tell ghost stories, and it is implied that Sam is peeping at them through the window.
1The book actually digresses into a discussion whether Babysitters should be possessive or not (via Claudia’s sister, Janine, who has an IQ of 196 – genius level). It is left unresolved, but stated that either could be appropriate.
2I assume, since there are no other competing babysitter operations