What are we doing to the minds of our young ones? Consider for a moment the toys available in our advanced and intelligent world – educational, realistic – giving valuable life skills which will carry our sons and daughters through their days armed with an ability to cope with just about anything. Believe it!
And how better to introduce them to the obnoxious and disgusting habits of the human race than to supply them with the latest advertised craze – a miniature lavatory which emits noises of flatulence when the lid is opened and the contents (which appear to consist of oozing blobs of brown slime) are pressed. Charming. Sure, farty jokes have always been a hoot for the under 10 brigade – remember the good ol’ whoopee cushion? We’re all well aware flatulence is a fact of life and screamingly funny. Nevertheless, it’s only screamingly funny when it happens to someone else. You don’t let one rip in front of Aunty Fanny, and you do your darndest to keep it out of the office. It boggles the mind why you’d want to encourage your son (who probably has enough foul habits already without making much effort), to spend his valuable time making totally inappropriate noises with a device costing considerably more than the original wind-breaking equipment he was endowed with at birth – his own highly effective backside.
Far more disturbing is another recent innovation, no doubt formulated to encourage early animal cruelty and set the kiddies on the road to being able to annihilate REAL creatures – that cute-as-darn plaything imaginatively named the Squirt Bug. This fun-for-all-ages toy consists of a rubber cockroach/beetley thingie – whichever is the critter de jour on which to vent your spleen – which can be filled with either a blood solution or a neat little concoction of slime’n’guts. Having diligently stuffed your preferred bug with the chosen intestinal cocktail, you then proceed to stomp on it. Delightful and educational, both. Don’t do this inside, kiddies – or you’ll stain momma’s carpet. Do it on the driveway so we can hose it down afterwards and pretend we were only pretending … and when you’ve run out of slime’n’guts, feel free to pull some cicadas apart or lob a few snails at the Rolladoor. Who was the perverted moron who came up with this little gem – and furthermore, what type of parent buys it? What happened to teaching kids to love all God’s creatures, great and small?
It bodes ill for the future, while we wait with bated breath for the release of the exploding battery operated koala (with napalm), the microwaveable plush aardvark (see it splatter as you nuke!) – not to mention Baby Dope Fiend, which lies there on the floor and does sod-all after you’ve inserted the authentic-looking hypodermic needle into its realistic-feeling vein – though there’s more, kiddies! Yessiree Bob, it comes with its very own dole application form and full set of housebreaking implements!
All very lovely and sure to put the kiddies on the path to a fulfilling life in the new millennium, where it’s dog eat dog (and the neighbour’s dog, too!)
The good old Meccano set doesn’t seem to have much credence anymore. Why spend time creating something when you can sit mindlessly in front of American sitcoms in which smartarse kids show appalling disrespect for their elders and the elders guffaw indulgently at how cute they are? Why curl up in front of the fire with Famous Five Go To Camp when you can download enough information from the internet to blow half of Year 5 to bits with a length of hosepipe and a frozen orange? Nah – Enid Blyton’s old hat. These days, the Famous Five wouldn’t get a look in – even if the paedophiles hadn’t got to them first. The most popular computer games are those in which the death toll far exceeds the IQ of the person playing them, and you couldn’t interest your kid in making fairy bread if Tinkerbell herself sat up and begged.
Kids are encouraged to live in the fast lane, grow up too quickly, dress beyond their age, annihilate Squirt Bugs on the driveway and understand things they have no damn business knowing.
Then we have the audacity to wonder why …