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Second Reading Journal Prompt: “Baby Burlesks” Revisited

To reply to this prompt, visit YouTube and watch another of Shirley Temple’s “Baby Burlesk” shorts (here is a link to the list of videos that result when you search “baby burlesk”; use your discretion to figure out which of these is actually a Shirley Temple short from the 1930s and which is a video of Christina Aguilera performing on “X Factor”).

In your blog post, summarize the content of the Burlesk that you watched, and tell the reader a bit about the movie that the Burlesk is supposed to be satirizing. Then, use your Burlesk to address some of the questions about child actors that John Kasson raises in the chapter that we read  (“Behind Shirley Temple’s Smile,” packet page 123) and/or some of the issues that we discussed in class after watching the “War Babies” Burlesk. For example, Kasson writes (on packet page 197): “Shirley Temple’s early roles were perched ambiguously on the cusp between innocence and flirtatiousness.” Use specific references to your Burlesk to analyze the way that Temple’s screen persona exemplifies this “ambiguity.” Or, on the same page, Kasson continues: “The intended humor of these shorts…rests on the difference between adult knowledge, desires, motives, and pleasures and childhood innocence.” How does your Burlesk exploit this gap between knowledge and innocence for the sake of humor?

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