Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ideology of a Toy

(Another article. This appeared at Catholic Exchange on February 4, 2006.)

While playing with her toddlers, a Georgia woman discovered the possibility that toy manufacturers are trying to indoctrinate children with ideology — but which ideology is up for debate.

The woman, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation from corporate powers and animal rights activists, described the toy as a “musical Noah’s ark.” The plastic, battery-powered toy is shaped like an ark and features a song button, a “Noah” button, and several animal-shaped buttons. Pressing the song button causes the toy to play one of ten well-known children’s melodies. Pressing one of the animal buttons causes that animal to “sing along” with the song.

But pressing Noah’s button produces results a bit different. “He sings the right melody,” says the woman, “but it’s in the wrong key.

“It had to be deliberate. Why would they make a toy like that?”

Several people gave opinions about what the manufacturer of the musical Noah’s ark is trying to accomplish. “They are portraying the evil humans as out of harmony with nature," said Ferris E. Bluster, president of a local splinter group formed from another splinter group of a national Christian political organization. "And they are poking fun at the first righteous father of the biblical salvation history.

"In the meantime, they make all the animals sing in perfect pitch and hit every note. It’s just another example of the liberal Left wing trying to vilify the Judeo-Christian worldview.

“It’s clear they think the world is better off without Noah,” he said.

Sophie Egeau, a professor and member of the town’s chapter of Secular Humanist Ecumenism (SHE), had a different opinion. “They are trying to tell children that we are sinners who can’t do anything good,” she said. “The Christian religion has been giving the world one great big guilt trip from the beginning. This country is still dominated by Christian patriarchal powers-that-be, no matter what they’re whining about these days.”

Catholic priest Fr. Philip Ian Sphorate was amused by the ruckus the toy has begun to cause in the area. “It’s just a charming little toy,” he said.

“I suppose you could say it illustrates that of all creatures only human beings were created with a will of their own. Only human beings can make something of their own volition, for good or ill.

“Or you could say it’s all nonsense, just a coincidence. But then you could say that with God there are no coincidences.”

And what do children think of it? “My kids love the toy,” says the woman who owns it. “I think it’s cute, and they don’t even notice that Noah sings off-key. It’s not like they sing on-key all the time anyway.”

Nicole Stallworth is a mother of five and a freelance writer from Georgia. All names, characters, and events in this satire are fictional, but her family really does have a musical Noah’s ark toy with a Noah that sings off-key.

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