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September 20, 2011

My Mentor, Little Lulu: A Treatise of Sorts

(Talk of the Town photo and image provided) 

By Susie Duncan Sexton

Katy Keene & K. O. Kelly. Brenda Star & that eye-patched Arrow Collar type guy, answering to Basil St. John. Clark Kent & Lois Lane, Nancy Drew & a girl-friend named George, Eloise & her turtle Skipperdee, Little Iodine & her nuttiness, Nancy & Sluggo, Mutt & Jeff, Archie & Veronica & Betty – “say ‘Hello’ to my little inky friends!”

ARGHHHH!  BLEACH!  …and do my tonsils show?  No other pulpy paper heroines informed me as beautifully and dutifully as did Little Lulu cavorting through my comic book collection which I perused repetitively.  Oh, I still do check in occasionally with the little spunky imp, via a slick anthology series.  Her friend Tubby seemed harmless, pretty bratty, and clueless in the 50s.   Little did I know that he needed to speak up more although not in ornery argumentativeness but rather in fair-minded teamwork with that short little asexual girl-person named LULU!
 
HINTS FROM HELOISE?  NO WAY!
 
Herein, LULU’S LITTLE LIFE LESSONS:
 
Chivalrous Role Models --
 
Actor Ossie Davis won my heart forever in the early 80s when he rather brashly scolded an IPFW audience, during BLACK HISTORY MONTH, for neglecting to extend a formal invitation to his Academy Award winning wife, Ruby Dee.  Since, the exquisite actress did not receive her own gracious inclusive “invite”, she remained at home in California (or New York) that evening.  Ha!  I personally congratulated him for his gentlemanly spunk, shaking his hand and requesting an autograph post-lecture.
 
Henry Fonda enthusiastically supported his politically active, gorgeous daughter Jane Fonda in a huge public forum (revisiting the Academy Awards Pageant I am) with the phrase, “I think she’s perfect!”
 
Thirty Rock’s Alec Baldwin, back when happily married, would screech his automobile to a halt on L. A. freeways, in the midst of downpours, to rescue stray dogs and cats from heavy traffic to gain points with animal activist wife Kim Basinger.
 
Actor Jeremy Irons could not have been more correct when he stated that marriage is a bold yet fragile commitment which far too many humans on the outside peck away at, in order to divide and conquer?   Why?  Why?  Why?
 
Societal Road-Blocks to Sheer Bliss --
 
A few of my friends understand that the misconception that males are quietly THOUGHTful while females should be labeled as “opinionated” sucks!
 
Other acquaintances, few but astute, realize that the concept of “the Mister” -- as patriarchal god -- should be relegated to some weathered old timeline chart, categorized under the heading of … the Era of B.C.  The Neolithic Epoch!
 
Vulgar humor and filthy jokes at the expense of females should be swallowed prior to expulsion as hot air.
 
Beetle Bailey ought never have been syndicated.
 
Stag functions should advertise that Pathetic Paranoia, Immobilizing Insecurity, and Nutsoid Bonding all will be gathered in agonizingly time-warped group attendance inside a FOR MEN ONLY boozy bar or on some hack-happy golf course or at a staged political rally or around a mind-numbingly monotonous race-track.
 
Arched eyebrows, barked commands, sighing for effect, snide put-downs, rolling eyeballs, cussing, condescension – in conjunction with bashing the gentler gender -- rated spankings in real time. When these miming/”blowing off” activities remain past puberty,…why, say HELLO to … certain, obvious barometers indicating that spoiled boy brats failed to mature beyond age eleven.
 
“Nagging” emerged as an invented word meaning “somebody” did not listen the first 27 times “somebody else” stated a FACT or requested a tiny favor, such as painting the house’s entire exterior or installing a new kitchen sink.
 
Escaping both conversation and meaningful engagement by retreating to another part of the house or yard, or another geographical location altogether, should have been squelched in children (by our mamas who should not have been precursors of Jean Stapleton’s intimidated portrayals and our Daddies who ought to have been ashamed to behave like Archie Bunker), laying the groundwork for future bliss and harmony and communication skills for their eventually hitched progeny.
 
PMS, a marketing ploy manufactured by some MAD MAN, cannot hold a candle to 50 mood swings FELT when a curvaceous doll in a skimpy sun-dress purposely wiggles past a pathetic cluster of mis-directed males trying HARD to impress…each other!  Any time of the damned month…daily as a matter of fact.
 
Daring Deductions --
 
Attempting to function in this society as thinking, caring, participatory human beings too often could be compared to navigating land mines, as every third person appears never ever to have comprehended that people are people, regardless of whatever gender stereotypes far too many of us are too lazy or stubborn to shed or abandon.
 
Being a lady, I relate to the idea of Feminism yet yearn for the day when that word evaporates into thin air because eventually we shall blend in as human beings who neither dress provocatively nor disguise our thinking processes in order to meet expectations of shallow popularity’s rules and regulations.  Dorothy Parker’s memorable line lamenting that “men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses” might cease to be quoted ever again…too quaint and archaic and no longer relative?
 
Lulu’s physical description and impact upon civilization--
 
A squatty little shapeless girl in a trapezoidal red dress who bustled about and sometimes whined and appeared unfortunately plagued with an inky brown naturally cork-screwed hair-do and an upturned “^”where her nose should be.  Under-developed as a person and stuck in time, she seemed headed always toward what she agitatedly and impatiently yet longingly referred to as the status of  “human bean” and remains THE prototype of Lily Tomlin’s “Edith Ann” who sobbed:  “I am NOT bossy—it’s just that my ideas IS better!”
 
Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Betty Friedan, Carly Simon, Bella Abzug, Kathy Griffin, Madonna, and even Germaine Greer probably plopped down upon their canopied, frilly beds, tummies downward, elbows bent, tiny hands holding LITTLE LULU comic books, too.  Maybeeeeee, Ossie, Jeremy, Alec and “Hank” also snuck a peek at the little determined munchkin when nobody was looking?  She should be required reading for bunches of people I have known and continue to run smack into or “up against” occasionally!  YECH!
 
Advice --
 
(For further instruction and inspiration, “google” LITTLE LULU!  ;D)
 
Bibliography –
 
Every Little Lulu comic book ever published and bought at the corner drugstore, while handing over either a dime or a quarter at a pop, from 1951-1956.  (The series enjoyed lengthy syndication from 1950 through 1969.) Hallelujah!   (Foot-notes include references to Lulu’s tiny ticky-tacky bungalow/ranchy type house setting back from a very flat front sidewalk, Ol’ Hazel the sea-witch who lurked beneath a an oval rag rug in Lulu’s bedroom, Tubby’s sailor hat??????????, and frequent bee stings and bumps on the head which called for special cosmetic effects from the artist’s brush.)


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