So what do our children see and play with in today’s world? On TV, there is a Homeland Security reality program on ABC (yep, Disney owns that one too). Propaganda? The executive producer says it pretty clearly:
“I love investigative journalism, but that’s not what we’re doing,” he told The Reporter. “This show is heartening. It makes you feel good about these people who are doing their best to protect us.”
Well, if you were worried about all the guns kids play with, as they imitate superheros, Power Rangers, and other fictional characters, perhaps those, as fantasy, aren’t the worst things to worry about in playland. There are more realistic toys they could be playing with:
- Lego has a Police Command Center, for which the description states “the police are keeping a watch from their mobile command center!”
- Playmobil has both a Security Checkpoint with walk-through metal-detector, guard with a wand-metal-detector, and an x-ray machine for bags and luggage, as well as a Police Checkpoint, in which officers are “also equipped with a map, stop sign, and pistols.”
One interesting note here is that the Police Command Center has comments about how much their kids loved the toy and played with it for extended times. No irony there. But both of the other toys are full of ironic reviews that include comments the following. So where is the line between what is acceptable violence and what is not? Different for each of us I imagine….
- This playset is one of the best purchases I have made for my three-year-old. In the past, when we have been stopped at roadblocks, or when during one of Daddy’s arrests, he would start crying uncontrollably. Now, after playing with this for the past several months, he is perfectly docile.
- What better way to condition your kids to accept the police state and patriot act? Last thing one needs is your kids growing up to question authority!
- Unfortunately, this product falls short …. There’s no brown figure for little Josh to profile, taser, and detain? Where are all the frightened plastic Heartlanders pointing at the brown figure as they whisper “terrorist?” Where are the hippy couple figures being denied boarding passes?
And if you really want to give the full effect to your kids, there are also SWAT teams and Police Stations with Jail Cells. One poster even suggested using their electric fencing in the Cow Pasture to elicit the full Guantanamo feel.
Here in Maine, where there are lots of guns, some parents vet the homes of their kids’ friends before allowing play-dates: “Are there guns in the house? Are they locked up? Loaded? Are kids taught gun safety?” Do we also ask about what sort of toys the kids play with? “Does your child play with guns?” A friend of mine has pointed out that differences in child-rearing come between friends much more than anything else in our lives. If your oldest, dearest friend allows his or her children to play with toys like these, do you allow your child to go play with them? Does your kids’ daycare facility or school prohibit toy guns? What about play guns, like using fingers?
As Lucinda Marshall says over on Feminist Peace Network in a blog post on these toys:
As difficult as it sometimes seemed to raise sons during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Ranger years, clearly teaching children the difference between right and wrong has become far more challenging as the toys and games pitched at them become blatant police state propaganda.
h/t to Alternet, which carried Lucinda’s post.