Us And People Made Out Of Ticky-Tacky
Author: M. G.
Friday 19th of April 2013 02:32:46 PM

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same."

Ticky-Tacky is an expression added in the Oxford English Dictionary after Malvina Raynolds' song "Little Boxes", the same song used (and re-used by tens of different musicians) as the opening song of Showtime-series "Weeds". The little boxes are just the little houses of common people living in the sprawl of the metropolitan suburbs:

"There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same."

 

 

They are made of cheap material - ticky tacky -, they look all the same, as do the people that live there. I love this song for many reasons, firstly for the series, whose protagonist is an unconventional woman living with ordinary people in a suburb, trying to preserve her own identity as a neighbourhood's drug dealer - with fors and againsts connected. Secondly because I love satire, especially when it sounds like just a childish doggerel:

"And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same."

 

 

Raynolds was a singer and political activist during the 60s and 70s - some time ago - but I can feel the same feeling she had towards the people ‘closed in boxes' still exists after 50 years. She was inspired by a huge suburb in California built in that period, now it's the same, not just in California, not just in the suburbs.

"And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same."

 

 

These children grew up, they had other children who are the people we are living with now. If you try to preserve your own identity, values and personality you will always have to confront with the people ‘from the boxes', people grown up by television made out of ticky-tacky, and by ticky-tacky social networks, ticky-tacky apps, ticky-tacky clothes and so forth.

"And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same."

 

 

It's way easier if you're made out of ticky-tacky, everything is already planned, your know where you have to go, you know how it'll be and how it'll end. If you want to do something different, if you want to change the world, if you want to fight for something that ticky-tacky people don't even understand, when you just want to be yourself, it's gonna be hell, but you can say that it's your life and you and nobody else will decide how it's going to look like.

 

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