Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Blog along with Mitch

Before we go any further, let me just say that I like my name. My name is fine. I have no major complaints with the name "Mitch", dumb 6th grade rhymes notwithstanding.

What was missing, though, from my childhood was a good Mitch role model. There were relatively few Mitches out there in the public eye. Mentioning Mitch Miller and "Sing Along With Mitch" to a nine-year old is a little like handing out Björk CDs at a nursing home. Mitch Kupchak played for the Washington Bullets while I was growing up in DC, but it's tough to emulate a 6'9" guy when you're 4'9".

The other Mitches, it seemed, were low-level bad guys in books and TV shows. There was a Mitch in the comic strip "Foxtrot" that tried to talk a couple high-school age characters into trying drugs. There were a few weasly guys in sitcoms and soap operas. And then there was David Hasselhoff's Mitch Buchannon character on Baywatch, who I guess the Germans at least would consider a good role model. But the first really positive portrayal of a Mitch I can remember (if you consider mid-life crises worth emulating) was Mitch Robbins (i.e., "Mitchy the Kid"), Billy Crystal's character in "City Slickers".

My point in reflecting on this comes as I consider my 7-month old daughter, Sylvi. My wife and I chose that name in part because it was distinctive without being trendy, dated, or too-connected to a famous person with that name. There are plenty of Sylvias around, but we don't connect that name to our kid.

This all came to the fore the other day when a new Coca-Cola TV ad hit the airwaves. It's supposedly first-person narrative by members of a [high school? college?] all-girl rock band -- though the amount of production and editing necessary to create this ad campaign probably exceeds every episode of "Sing Along with Mitch" combined. And the band features a drummer named... Sylvie. (Close enough.) Now I have no idea whether the band called "Kievan Rus" is remotely cool among the people who establish such things. But it seems like my daughter might be off to a decent start. At least until "Baywatch 2015" comes along.

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