I have been thinking about writing a blog post about Alana Thompson, better known as Honey Boo Boo, for some time now. What I’ve realized is that Alana Thompson can only be saved by you and me. I think a lot of people know the show is horrible, but they watch it, only ironically of course. They watch, because they get pleasure from knowing that they’re better than Alana and her mom. They and TLC are in on the joke about exposing these horrible rednecks. But what’s missing from that view is that Alana is a person. A human being. Apparently she is six years old now. Six. It might already be too late not to ruin this human, this person, for life. And if you’ve watched the show you should feel complicit in it. When, in eight short years, this poor soul turns to drugs and alcohol the watchers of this show should feel a lump of guilt in their throats. Yes, it’s partly Alana’s mom’s fault, and yes it’s partly TLC’s fault. But if you’re watching the show, you’re making it profitable for TLC and Alana’s mom to keep treating Alana like she’s inhuman. You, who rail against capitalism, the evils of capitalism are possible because individuals allow them to flourish. Turn off the t.v., I beg you, change the channel. You can literally save a life.
I read an article once about sexually abused children. It turns out that the ones who are able to find order and sense in the world, to find some kind of justice, are able to walk away from abuse relatively unscathed. Those kids who feel that they can turn to figures of authority for help, and get that help, and their perpetrator is punished, find a way to function in this flawed world. Those kids who never turn to authority fare worse, and the worst of all are those who turn to authority and are ignored, denied, or intimidated. Those are the kids you read about who ended up over-dosing on heroine, hanging themselves in their bedroom late at night, or taking a leaping jump off a Manhattan rooftop. These kids never find peace, can never make sense of this evil and terrible world. For these kids all there is is senseless disorder and the crushing pain of a society that sacrificed them, rejected them, and forgot them.
Apparently Alana and her mom were recently guests on the “Dr. Drew Show.” Most of the news articles focused on the fact that Alana apparently slapped Dr. Drew in the face. What was less talked about were Alana’s answers to Dr. Drew’s questions. Alana could not help but scream NO! when Dr. Drew asked if she liked being on t.v., she continued that she hates fans coming up to her all the time. Both times Alana’s mom contradicted or ignored her; it isn’t true, she said, but Alana insisted that it is. She complained that not even her principle calls her Alana, calling her Honey Boo Boo instead, and her mom denied it. True or not, Alana is begging to be heard. She is already beginning to lose hope, she is acting out in desperation that some responsible adult, some authority will save her; will restore meaning and order to her world. Her mom won’t, her principle won’t, Dr. Drew won’t, not even after she slapped him. Do something, help me, that is her cri de coeur.
What I am asking is that you act as the responsible authority for Alana. Decide, and mean it, that you will never watch this abuse again. Take the show off the air. Only we can do it. TLC won’t do it, and Alana’s mom won’t do it. This show will continue to air as long as it is profitable, as long as people are willing to watch. Maybe, just maybe, if Alana realizes that adults, that Americans, are actually not interested in watching her be exploited and abused, her sense of right and wrong, of decency and justice can be restored. Maybe she won’t need to numb the pain, or stop it altogether eight or ten years hence.
The quality of our society is determined by the quality of the aggregate individuals who make it up. There is really only one thing you can do to make our society better, and that is to make yourself good, when you are good, your example may inspire others to be good, and then you begin to have an impact, but it must begin with being good. Be better than Alana’s mom and TLC, not by making fun of this poor child that has been sacrificed, rejected, and abandoned, be better than them by not abusing Alana, by switching the channel and by restoring some small bit of order to our world. Please, only you can save this girl’s life.
Save Alana Thompson’s life.