Why is Rosie O’Donnell encouraging Honey Boo Boo?

Honey Boo Boo scares me.

This toddler tiara tyke scored higher television ratings than the Republican National Convention among 18- to 49-year-olds and tied with one of the best speeches ever given by Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. This makes me weep for the future.

Now, here comes Rosie O’Donnell, who may or may not have been joking when she said, “I’d love to meet them [Honey Boo Boo’s family] … and buy them a house.” Never mind that the family lives in a home in McIntyre, Ga., and is making thousands of dollars per episode. So many people in America don’t even have a roof over their heads. How about those people, Rosie?

O’Donnell adds in an interview with People magazine, “She has a presence and an intellect that goes way beyond her years.”

Really?

Often subtitles are used to translate Honey Boo Boo’s Southern accent. She wears skimpy clothes that are inappropriate for a child of seven. She just recently returned to school after the lure of pageant life drew her away. She enjoys a turbo-charged caffeinated beverage concocted from Mountain Dew and Red Bull called “Go Go Juice.”

Let’s face it: Georgia native Honey Boo Boo, whose real name is Alana Thompson, needs no more encouragement from Hollywood, a place littered with child stars whose lives went nowhere.

Here’s a wake-up call, America: Honey Boo Boo should not even be a guilty pleasure.

Honey Boo Boo is an exploited child. Her mother, June Shannon, repeatedly says she doesn’t force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. If that’s the case, The Learning Channel that produces the television show is doing the child no favors. Honey Boo Boo and other reality television stars are not making us smarter, as some journalists have argued, by exposing us to other lifestyles and cultures.

Honey Boo Boo will get more attention this week when the satirical “South Park” goes after her on Wednesday. In a clip from the show, Honey Boo Boo — it’s not really her voice — visits a pig sty in search of a pig with “pizzazz.”

Call it satire, but it’s mind-boggling that a little girl has become a punch line; how exactly does this help her self-esteem?

Honey Boo Boo is a kid, and kids want to live in Willy Wonka’s candy factory, eating sweets all day and acting like Veruca Salt unless a parent intervenes.

So far, it appears that her mother, who is battling obesity, and Sugar Bear, her father, who is recovering from a leg infection, are missing in action as serious adults and basking in so-called stardom. Honey Boo Boo needs fewer antics and junk food and more tough love. There’s no way the adventures of Alana will continue once she grows out of her sass and sequins.

Forget the house, Rosie. Start a college scholarship fund for Honey Boo Boo. Or better yet, stash some money away for her inevitable therapy.  

 Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker

 

 

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