What are flat daddies exactly?

My words are no good here.

Go to the website , and let the jaw drop.

After reading an excerpt on Flat Daddies in The New York Times called “When Soldiers Go to War, Flat Daddies Hold Their Place at Home” I just had to investigate. Here’s the scoop:

Since September 1, 2006 SFC Graphics, in Toledo, Ohio has made Flat Daddies (oh, and Mommies) free to deserving children of deployed U.S. military service members. The company established a website and online ordering system to make it possible, and has received and filled thousands of orders in the past 20 months. The business apparently garned the attention and praise of children, spouses, groups and organizations who have benefited from the offer, not to mention the media from around the world, but it has not attracted enough like-minded financial supporters to sustain the free offer. Though the numbers different over different sources, it appears that over 6,000 orders valued at over $275,000 have been given away to date, and any orders received after April 9th, 2008 will be asked to pay $49.50, and will ship in three weeks or less. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services.

In the same way that Jean Baudrillard used to frequent DisneyLand and ride the teacups, I find Flat Daddies to be an equally pleasurable thought. Something that it is at the same time earnestly disturbing and frightfully misplaced. If one looks to anthropology to borrow the term ‘material culture’ then Flat Daddies have to be the end-all of this practice. They are the conflated icons of memory, love, representation and militarization and those ingredients all seem to combine to form just another problematic situation.

This all reminds me of the pieces we’ve read about the power of video games, and just media itself, to calm us through the separation of experience. The point is, these kids should feel the pain of missing their fathers and mothers- it’s a painful experience to lose a family member (not in death, hopefully, but just to the service), and that is not to say that children should suffer persay but that it is perhaps dangerous to teach young children who look up to their service-family members that war is so easy. That we can replace one another with flat, cardboard images which pacify our fears, which allow us to interact with a cheap reality of what true family is.


~ by 1womanarmy on March 21, 2008.

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