Copyright © 2004 Henrietta W. Hay
Toys in Bad Taste
December 17, 2004
"Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of the potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Musmusculus."
This version of the coming visit from St. Nicholas "for readers in their 23rd year of schooling," was passed along on the library network.
For all the pictures we see, Old Nick doesn't really have such a good time. I like to give the following statistics every year, so that we can all appreciate him. Assuming one small toy per kid, the payload on Santa's sleigh would be roughly 321,300 tons, plus Santa who is slightly overweight. Eating 4 million cookies in one night will do that to you.
Donder and Blitzen and their workers can't do the job, since they are now over 150 years old. It would take 214,200 physically fit reindeer.
These figures are based on the premise that there is only one Santa Claus. A million Santas (a megasanta) working in parallel could make it work. Santa is not dead. He is distributed.
Back in 1992 I started a personal Christmas tradition -- the awarding of the Awful Taste in Toys Award. The very first one was, I think, the all time winner. It was the Jesus Doll, at $29.95. He bent at the waist, was machine washable, and wore his heart on his tunic. I think he offended the religious and the non-religious equally. His creator (human) promised the Virgin Mary for the next year, but fortunately, she did not appear.
Toy makers are notoriously sexist. For 45 years Barbie has ruled the doll market for girls. Barbie has won the award several years because I thought that she has done the most damage to little girls. She set impossible standards of beauty with her unachievable figure and big hair. Now I hear she is going "cool".
For boys the shoot-em-up toys and now the violent video games are on the top of the list. Rather than sitting on the floor and pushing trucks and trains around or building castles or bridges, they sit and watch
villains kill each other. As a long time fighter for freedom of speech, I have trouble saying this, but the video games have finally gone too far and need some sort of control.
So -- he prize this year has no competition. It goes to a video game produced in Scotland that was released just this week. It is called "JFK Reloaded" and is designed to demonstrate that a lone gunman was able to kill President Kennedy. Points are awarded or subtracted based on how accurately the shots match the official version of events.
Shooting the image of Kennedy in the right spots in the right sequence adds to the score, while "errors" like hitting Jacqueline Kennedy lead to deductions. Believe me, I am not kidding. The article describing it can be found at
For unbelievably bad taste and offensiveness, it goes beyond any other "games" I have seen. I think it may replace the Jesus Doll as the all time winner of bad taste in toys. I hope Santa will throw all the copies out of all his sleighs.