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Sweet, Almond-Scented Lies


Published March 19, 2008 at 5:38 p.m.

Last week, a co-worker forwarded me an email that contained photos of tiny, naked babies supposedly modeled out of marzipan.

If you're not familiar with marzipan, you should get acquainted quickly:The delicious stuff is a combo of sugar and ground almonds -- and sometimes egg whites -- and ismalleable enough to be formed into cool shapes. Plus, the word is fun tosay: maarrrzipaan.

The small amount of text in the email notes that the artist, who isn't named, is very talented, and asks: "Who could take a bite?"

Yep: The idea of eating small, perfectly formed babies is rather disturbing, so why would somebody mold infants out of a sweet treat? I imagined a cutting edge artist making a bold statement about how America's consumption-oriented culture is selling out its children.

Or not...The delicate pink babes shown in the email aren't actually made out of ground up nuts. They are, in fact, sculpted from polymer clay by artist Camille Allen.  Allen's website assures visitors "If you've seen the "The Smell of Rain" or "Marzipan Babies"( Or "Sugar Babies") email, you have probably seen some images takenfrom this website. However those pictures are really of sculpturescreated out of clay by Camille Allen." The page further notes: "They are not real, premature babies." Phew.

So my question is: Why on earth would anybody want to perpetrate an email hoax of this type? What possible purpose does it serve to tell people that these miniatures are made from marzipan when they're really made from clay. Or was it all just an honest mistake?

*The photo is from Camille Allen's website

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