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Say It Ain't So!
Posted by Purple_Dave on November 29, 2002 at 06:23 PM CST:
Bruce Schlickbernd left a post on LUGNET.com with a link to the most recent Dirty Dozen list. For those who are unaware of this annual tradition, the staff of LionLamb.org post a list of the year's twelve most violent toys. This year they've unfairly targetted The LEGO Company. Specifically, they went after the OONI from the GALIDOR line.

When I say "unfairly", it's based on the fact that looking through their premises for listing a LEGO set, it reads more like reasons why it shouldn't be on the list, with a couple of inaccuracies thrown in for flavor. For instance, they start off their argument by stating that "the Lego brand has long been a leader in creating quality, open-ended construction toys." Yup, sounds like a solid reason to vilify them to me. We can't have any dangerously 'nice' companies running around out there.

Next, they say that "Lego is moving away from its traditional base and toward the 'action figure' category." Okay, I guess I must have missed the official announcement that "action figures" must always equal "violence".

"While the Galidor action figures are not nearly as violent as many others," they still chose to put the OONI on the list instead of the horde of toys that even they claim to see as being more violent. If this list is truly supposed to represent the twelve most violent toys of the year, why would they include a toy that they readily admit is not really all that violent?

And they mention that "children may still use them for fantasy fighting." In my experience, children who want to play in a violent manner will not be restricted by the thematic content of the toys available to them. How do you think pillow fighting was invented? There's nothing inherently violent about a pillow. However, kids might use them for pretend (or even real) violence. Maybe they should have listed that as well, ignoring the fact that it's not, strictly speaking, a toy.

They end their claim by getting their facts mixed up. For instance, they mention "a video game and TV program tied to Galidor". If they had done their homework, they'd know that the toys were created based on the TV program, not the other way around. They also say that "it is clearly more a marketing opportunity for Lego than a toy for children." Aside from the fact that companies simply don't survive without marketing opportunities, every aspect of the design pretty much screams "toy".

The fact that they singled out the OONI (which isn't even a regular character) suggests that they are merely trying to appeal to any xenophobic emotions that parents may have. (Notice they did not select GORM, the only real villain from the first wave of sets.) Most likely this is a result of not even bothering to research the TV show before jumping to conclusions about its nature. After all, most of the opinions I've gotten from the younger crowd suggest that GALIDOR is lacking in popularity specifically because the show is fairly passive, and promotes non-violent solutions to violent problems. (I've actually watched the show, so I've got a fairly good idea of what it's about.)

In the future, if the staff of LionLamb.com wants people to take their list seriously, perhaps they should do a better job of picking their targets, and maybe even do a little research before posting their claims.




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