What Shall I Be When I Grow Up?...by Matt Gallaway*
1. A baseball player**
2. A postage carrier?***
3. A hockey player?****
4. A creepy monster?*****
5. A tennis player?******
6. A guitar player?*******
7. A friendly octopus?********
8. A football player?*********
9. A barber?**********
10. No matter what else, be yourself.***********
NOTES: *In December of 1979, the first edition of "What Shall I Be When I Grow Up?..[sic]" was written and published by author "Matt Gallaway" (at the time, eleven years old) and distributed to second graders everywhere. Initially heralded as a "model of gender equality and optimism," the book was later dismissed as "derivative, unoriginal, and convoluted" and subsequently banned in most schools when an investigative reporter uncovered evidence of subliminal messaging through the use of product placement -- a practice then in its infancy -- and politically subversive content.
**In this frame we encounter the first explicit use of the three-striped athletic shoe, a motif trademarked by ____. It was later revealed that the company in question secretly paid for the product placement, although they publicly denied doing so, and initially sued the author for infringement in order to "distance themselves" from any overtones of impropriety. Unrelatedly, some have attributed the effects of viewing this page to the ongoing epidemic of childhood obesity.
***Initially thought to be a beacon of "gender equality," this page was subsquently dismissed by scholars for reinforcing nonheterosexual (and specifically, lesbian) stereotypes as well as economic stereotypes relating to women's failure to break through the "glass ceiling."
****Here we are introduced to what one critic has derisively labeled the "epitome of a douchebag. The leering quality of the jocular expression is intended to exacerbate what has become the widespread and abusive treatment of women by (predominantly male, nonhomosexual) professional athletes."
*****Despite the book's message to "be what you want," this page is said to reveal its "hidden agenda," encouraging subversive and antisocial behaviour among its young readers.
******Here we see another professional athlete, with previously noted product placement and douchebaggery.
*******In this picture, readers are subjected to the misconception that performing artists have small brains and huge eyes, the latter "hideously out of proportion with their tiny heads," a common symptom of anorexia.
********Only one illustration in the book seems to depict genuine happiness, with the obvious irony that no person can ever become an octopus. One recent study has identified a correlation between increased rates of child suicide and the publication of "What Shall I Be When I Grow Up?"
*********The football player in this frame is depicted with lips sewn shut and a massively inflamed head, implying that those who play the sport are "morons" used for nothing but economic advantage by their "owners." The NFL and amateur football leagues have responded with a campaign of their own: "Not everyone who plays football gets brain damage!"
**********Here we find the second "working-class" representative in the book, in which the barber's dull, metallic eyes are alleged to represent a disdain for work that has led many young readers to "shoot themselves" rather than enter the workplace and to become "productive members of society." Also note the continued use of the athletic shoes, notwithstanding the fact that the cost of such "high-end" equipment is -- according to a recent study -- well beyond the financial resources of barbers.
***********In this final frame, we are confronted by androgyny, baggy pants (although on the male only), strange triangular hair, and continued product placement, effectively subverting the purported message to "be yourself" and reducing it to one that has been called "specious at best."