Monday, March 8, 2010

Only In America

Strange to think that even in Our Ford's day most games were played without more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps a bit of netting. Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It's madness. Nowadays the Controllers won't approve of any new game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much apparatus as the most complicated of existing games.

Aldous Huxley Brave New World


My mother bought it for her grandchildren's amusement. They like it a lot. No one seems to understand my dismay. It's just a simple children's toy, right? I'm not so sure.

I think it's a sign of the coming Apocalypse.

Rock, Paper, Scissors Game
(click on photo to purchase)

It has its merits. It takes no batteries. It makes almost no noise. It keeps the porcupets amused. I could go out on a limb and say it's educational, even, and go on a bit about game theory. All this would be true. And yet....

If you haven't recognized what this is, look closely. See it now? It's a 21st century version of... you guessed it, Rock, Paper, Scissors. Only in America would someone use a pound and a half of plastic to create such a game.

When I was a boy, we played Rock, Paper, Scissors with our fingers. Now, you can purchase an exciting new plastic version. For a mere $19.95, you can support the petroleum industry, the Chinese economy, and the abomination known as Wal-Mart. The game seems fairly durable, but when it breaks, as all toys usually do, it can occupy space in the local landfill for eternity. Ah. Progress.

First, there was the conscription of consumption, Huxley wrote. Well, he missed the mark there. There is no need for conscription if there are enough volunteers, after all. Almost twenty-five percent of the world's people survive on less than $1.25 a day so that we can spend $19.95 for a game that is properly played with your fingers. And there it is.

Only in America.

Very Truly Yours,




Michelle H. said...

This is the first time I've seen the toy! Incredible the waste spent on making it. Then again, I suppose the ready excuse that upper corporate management says is, "Think of all the jobs created to produce the toy. We are helping the economy."

But at what price?

Linda said...

This is incredible- what a waste. It reminds me of the time when we were kids and some kind of Hot Potato game came out with a sound-making ball to pass around. We were amazed that this was made- we used to play sitting in a circle with a basketball, singing some song to indicate the time passing.

(Boy, that makes me sound old and crotchety)

Land of shimp said...

Oh my ...I actually let out something akin to a scream when I realized what that was.

You know, I'm no great friend to the Earth. Don't get me wrong, I recycle, use nontoxic clears, blah blah blah, "Good citizen awards!" blustering, but realistically, the Sierra Club generally isn't out to hug me to death. I'm in the "I try not to be a jackass about the environment" category, I'm hardly a tree crusader.

So when my response is to stifle a scream, and have my first thought be about how freaking irresponsible that is towards the environment? I'm assuming the aforementioned Sierra Club wants to kick the manufacturer squarely in the sensitive bits for that particular game.

Plus, really? Our kids now lack the imagination to utilize their fingers in pursuit of that game?

Smoke 'em if you got 'em, we're going down.

Ananda girl said...

My initial response is to laugh at this. But you are right, it's sad really. But then, I still use a deck of playing cards for solitaire and when I play spades or hearts... I want my partners to have faces, hands and a good sense of humor too.

Hilary said...

I agree. It's wrong .. really wrong and it would have been cool just to teach them how to play it the old fashioned way. But it bought your kidlets $20 worth of fun, and that's got to be be worth its weight in Grandmotherly smiles. She meant well.

Cricket said...

Hilary - Aside from the sheer volume of toys my mother rains down on the kidlets, which is a separate issue, I don't mind that she bought them this one. If it wasn't this it probably would have been something else. I'm more disturbed to discover that this product even exists. Yikes.

What's next? Mechanical fingers for "bucking up?" Battery-powered "virtual dice?" Where do we go from here?

I wouldn't deny her her Grandmotherly smiles, though. ;-)

lime said...

i am simply aghast. capitalism run amok.