Ministry of Truth! Just like in that TV show with the cats.

     
 

When Toys Go Bad
2000-04-14 14:19:47


Deadly Things
 
Grad students are the burger flippers of science.
-- Johnnie Royale

 

Sick of government buttinski's blaming the internet for everything? Check out these cool ads plugging super-violent toys from the 50s and early 60s!

Watch demonic militarized non-English speaking hoards scrambling for cover from your fantastic fighting machine, "Big Bertha!" (It's three different ballastic-projectile devices in one!) Or imagine you're the troubled youth training his cross hairs on a herd of elephants -- then scurrying over the dunes for bigger game, as the announcer shouts "Load. And fire!" Sixty full seconds of footage shows the blood-thirsty eight-year-old armed for a psychotic rampage.

Blame the cold war. Fifties families feared an expansionist, atomic-weapon wielding superpower, and asked fewer questions about knee-jerk patriotism and the draft their kids would grow up to face. Using "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" as the music for a toy commercial seemed like a good idea, and advertisers even depicted children summoned before shadowy Security Councils for urgent conferences about counter-espionage techniques. No imperialist power can stand up to a reserve of grade school students equipped with the latest state-of-the-art battle toys.

I seem to remember that most violent toys were yanked from the shelves in a post-sixties backlash -- but who knows, maybe the violent toys got rid of violent impulses. Teens of today are more and more sophisticated, which makes the suburbs themselves into a kind of cultural detention center, a wasteland of disempowerment that lasts until the age of 18. The real problem is that traditional bedroom communities are becoming less and less functional in these modern times -- and by showing today's savvy youngesters nothing but sanitized entertainments with incongruous Smurf-like cuteness, they're only creating the insane tension that will lead them to pick up a rifle and start firing.

Next time your blowhard Congressman blusters "You kids today, with your rock and roll and your internet," show him this vintage fifties footage of Bugs Bunny encouraging fratricide.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

wunderbar@pigdog.org


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