Actual letter to Crayola Crayons:
Attn: Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 431
Easton, PA 18044-0431
I had a distressing encounter with a box of Crayola crayons. I have serious concerns which I would like addressed.
8 of the 64 colors of crayons in this box were branded “Children’s Choice” and had names such as “Best Friend,” “Bear Hug” and “Giving tree” (What does that even mean?) A real crayon name at once and explicitly paints a picture of the color: “Magenta,” “Gold” and even “Periwinkle.”
These 8 names are wrong in so many ways. Firstly, crayons are largely sold to children. Well, no 5 year-old child should ever be asked to visualize (or worse, be told) what color “Happy Ever After” is or should look like. The child should be in the backyard playing with their dog, not making subjective evaluations of color in relation to abstract concepts that not even adults understand. It’s absurd. (And It’s true, too. Every single adult I asked to describe what color “Happy Ever After” should be didn’t even come close to your version.)
What makes this doubly disappointing is that Crayola usually gets it so right. Names like “Salmon” are simple, concise, and immediately evocative of the exact color the crayon represents, a sort of dark pink color, like a piece of salmon.
The ridiculous names would be bad enough. But it gets worse. The colors themselves are quite different shades than the normal crayons. They do have one thing in common: Ugliness. They are each vile parodies of a normal color.
“Best Friends”? If my best friend wore this horrible shade of grimy lavender… Well, let’s just say Friends don’t let Friends wear Red Zinfandel, either.
“Happy ever after.” The only thing that’s happy about this color is when I get to stop looking at it. Its like someone took blue, throttled it by the neck until it was pale, and then hurled into it after eating a pound of blueberries.
Here’s another two word color: “Super Happy” I have my own two-word name for this color: “Vitamin Piss.” That’s right. You know the color.
“Fun in the sun.” Maybe if you’re a 60-year old retiree with a bad orange sunburn in palm springs. Painful. How about “Facelift Tan.”
“Bear hug.” Could you be any more touchy-feely? Well, maybe you can (see “Giving Tree” below.) Even so, how on earth did you come up with this name for this color? Do you actually get children to visualize what color a “bear hug” is? If a bear hugs you, I don’t think this dirty shade of grey is the colour you’d be seeing. This is more like “Old New York Sidewalk Slush Grey.” Don’t even get me started on the translations on the crayons, either. The French name for this, literally translated, is “Hug Me Strong.”
“Famous?” This is the obnoxious shade of pink that people like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan would wear. So, children, if you want to be that kind of famous, then this is the color for you. Here’s a more descriptive name: “No Panties Required.”
“Awesome.” What’s awesome about this color is how you could make a shade of orange that is such an abomination. It doesn’t fit anywhere on the chart that god devised called “color.” It’s basically Satanic. “Devil’s inferno” is more like it.
“Giving tree.” This is the most offensive, in my opinion. It doesn’t get any more new-age touchy-feely guilty-rich-white-girl Liberal than this. Because let’s face it, Crayola, that’s who came up with these names, isn’t it? Some Sociology major who wants everybody to sit around in a circle holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.” How about “Daddy Never Loved Me Green.”
Lest you think me bitter, I could sing the praises of Crayola’s more aptly-named (and colored) colors. “Olive Green.” Beautiful. I can see the exact shade of the green olive growing from an ancient tree on a hillside in Greece. And so can you. That’s the kind of color pedigree I’m talking about.
These new colors are not only ugly, they’re confusing. The names have absolutely nothing to do with the colors. Maybe a small minority of new-age “it’s not your fault, society is to blame, share how you feel” people want this kind of irreligious uncertainty foisted on the youth of the world. I don’t. I want the Old Testament exactitude of names like “Blue Green,” “Violet” and so on.
In closing, let me say that when I or anyone else use your product, we use it on a coloring book, because we want to color. If I want philosophical speculation, I will read Plato or Descartes, or even Miyamoto Musashi. When I want to color in my favorite Scooby Doo coloring book, that’s when I go for Crayola. But not those 8 colors. I banished them from my palette, and I implore freedom-loving people everywhere to do the same.
My advice to Crayola is simple. Shut down your Abstract Visualization Department. True, you may have to fire the head of the department, who probably has a title like “Director of Introductory Crayons for Kindergartens.” But frankly, in these economically difficult times, can you truly afford the money you waste on their salary?