Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Volley of the dolls

When I was a little kid my parents bought me an Action Man (TM) soldier.

Well, it was for Christmas and I probably only mentioned my wish to own the doll en passant five or six thousand times during that December. In the middle 1960’s teachers were intelligent enough to listen to what children said and to respond appropriately.

Unfortunately, teachers back then were also rather badly paid and so rather than buy one early and expensively from the well-stocked suburban local toy shop they waited until the holidays and rushed to the local big town’s department store – by which time only the German infantryman was left, which they duly bought for me as one of their under-the-tree parental presents rather than one of the Father Christmas in the stocking by the fire gifts.

A German soldier, huh? Figures, you might say knowing my politics....

Actually, I had rather wanted the American GI or the British Tommy or better yet the French, um, 1940-issue POW, or collaborator, or fast-swimming future Gaullist, as Dad was a French teacher and at that time I regarded everything French as excitingly exotic and the epitome of heroism, as indeed was Dad in my eyes. At six I thought that France was cooler than Thunderbirds.

Anyway, small mercies. The Schmeisser machine pistol that came with the boots and the helmet and the pack was smarter looking than the British Sten gun and way cooler than the American Thompson that my friends’ soldiers were equipped with, in my tiny opinion, and so I got on with playing with the model and pretended that it was a Resistant or a British spy, and killed many, many invisible real Germans. So that was okay.

The running joke amongst us war-mongering boys (slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails and all that) was that Action Man had no married quarters at all. Not even married eighths or married sixteenths. Toys don’t, of course: just a coy curve in the plastic that could have been the outline of the with-it Y-fronts. Still, it was funny.

I’ve shared the joke since then with men and women who were girls and boys of my generations. Action Man (along with his all-American big brother GI Joe) was The Private with No Parts: The Captain Without Pips: the humble British soldier who never carried a Field Marshall’s baton in his kit bag.

He’s a pop culture icon that folk of my generation recognise, and Action Man with his rifle-gripping hands, prominent cheek scar (and boot-brush hair in the expensive models) represented the essence of European and colonial martial pride and strength. Former enemies, of course, depending on which version your parents bought for you, but definitely proud inhabitants of something that I didn’t know back then was western civilisation.

Now it’s 2009 and the world’s most famous female doll is out there rooting for Islam, the suppression of women, and a children’s charity...

Boycott Burqa Barbie

What will they think of next? A be-headed doll?

That’s right. I am talking about the new Burqa Barbie doll which is now on display in Florence, Italy, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Barbie doll. As my colleague over at weaselzippers wonders: Will clean-cut Ken now come (pun intended, ‘tis mine) with four burqa’ed Barbie doll wives?

…. After all, the Burqa Barbie is being auctioned off for the Save the Children charity.

Save the Children? Surely, you must be jesting. I would like to save the children from this as well as from every other Barbie doll…

Barbies are always anatomically impossible: their feet are pre-shaped for high heels, their breasts are high, firm, and perky—like Playboy dolls or surgically enhanced Hollywood stars. Bikini Barbie.

These dolls were so retro—or so I always thought. Well, shut my mouth, those were the good old days of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. Now, Barbie is swathed, shrouded, in a burqa; now, she is even more hopelessly retro.

A woman, a girl, in a chador, chadari, burqa, cannot see that well. You cannot hear what she is saying. She cannot hear you. A woman in a burqa can’t run, or even walk that well. She stumbles. Inside, she has to balance a baby, a shopping bag, maybe a pair of glasses perched on her nose, slipping. If it’s hot, she is sweltering. If it’s sunny, she is still deprived of sunlight and Vitamin D. The burqa violates a woman’s human rights. It poses a danger to a woman’s health, both mental and medical.

The bikini and the burqa: What ever happened to women’s freedom?

I’ll tell you. While the bikini (especially as a symbol of pornography, prostitution, and promiscuity) was nevah (I say this with my best Barbra Streisand Brooklyn accent) a symbol of freedom, the western secular state never forced any woman to wear one; nor did her family. And, if a woman refused to wear a bikini, no one flogged, stoned, or honor murdered her. These things are happening to girls and women today all over the Islamic/Islamist world. They are happening in the West as well when young Muslim girls refuse to wear a modest headscarf.


Lenin boasted that the capitalists would sell the communists the rope to with which they would hang them. This is just a generation before that, but still and all one of those cases when the free market allows cultural poison into our lives.

Okay, this is for a charity, so it must be alright, and it doesn’t seem to be a production model, so no sweat. Mattel aren’t going to be encouraging little girls to think it’s okay to have dolls that spend their lives in burkas. Is it? I mean, there’re probably lots of companies making dolls for little girls who want to be neither seen nor heard, right?

Surely this is just harmless fun, just like Action Man always was, yeah?

Hey, we’ve even got a British Barbie (TM) fan that thinks’ it’s all just lovely, and thus wins The Golden Scourge, the prestigious TJ.AT? trophy that goes to the lucky winner of our Dhimmi of the Month Competition, for this glorious little bit of cultural cringe.

The company director of Laird Assessors from The Wirral, Cheshire, said: 'Bring it on Burkha Barbie, I think this is a great idea.

'I think this is really important for girls, wherever they are from they should have the opportunity to play with a Barbie that they feel represents them.

'I know Barbie was something seen as bad before as an image for girls, but in actual fact the message with Barbie for women is you can be whatever you want to be.

'I have a Barbie in a wheelchair that was only out for six weeks.'

That couldn’t possibly be Graduate Recruitment Consultant Who Had A Boyfriend Barbie.,or Swedish Girl Who Didn’t Have A Boyfriend Barbie.

In fact, I suspect it’s Teenager Who Had A Boyfriend Barbie.

Not to be confused with Majestically Stupid, Doll-Brained Bint Barbie.

Hey, kids, let’s have a competition, shall we? Just compose four shortish English sentences; including the phrases “I think,” “I think”, ”I know” and “ I have” respectively, and see just how much brass-bound, copper-bottomed, or gold-plated self-delusion and fact-free wishful thinking you can mange in 86 words or fewer.

Still, back to Action Man: the Anglo-American free man archetype with no tackle and little political leadership to tackle girl-killing psychos and their pals worldwide.

Is he such an unrealistic example of the Free world’s anti-terrorist thinking when you compare him with reality?

When a top US General whose troops have been murdered by a well-known and yet tolerated and indulged Islamist inside the military says this: "What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy," said Gen. Casey, the Army's chief of staff, "but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.", and our own, our very own, (and why don’t we send it to Afghanistan naked) Ministry of Sitting on Defence spends scarce cash on burkas for British women soldiers – who don’t wear them at work - and also when some of our police spend a day dressed in the bloody things to snuggle up to the communidee (TM), I’m not 100% sure that poor old Action Man’s so unrealistic a figure these days.

I mean, what’s he got to lose?

Come on now, gentles. What’s the most politically incorrect doll model and brand name we can think of?

I’ll start with Gitmo Ken action figure: complete with facecloth, water jug, and Innocent Wedding Guest Malik (illustrated here prone). Batteries not included.


Pavlov's Cat said...

How about

Muhammed The Misunderstander - comes complete with miniture Koran, Silly beard, Student Visa, MS Flight Sim and Rucksack with H2O2 & Flour

PS I actually asked for the Stormtrooper, I always thought the German unifomrs were snappier and oyu could put the stick grenades in the boots ( I'd advanced to reading Sven Hassel books by then)

I was laways dispaointed they didn't do an SS officer, but I did have the Panzer Commander http://www.vintageactionman.com/panzer.html

DJ said...

The Muhammed one would have to come with a free Primary School Barbie.

Meanwhile, the question remains: does Burka Barbie come complete with detachable head? And if you order one in Blackburn, will it come in the same box as normal, but the shopkeeper claims there's actually 50 of them in there, each with their own postal voting form?

Mind you, I've heard the new Action Men are so realistic the only way you can get half the accessories is by borrowing them off GI Joe.

LSP said...

Gitmo Ken? Genius. Muhammed doll with underage schoolgirl good too - add plastic meteor.

JuliaM said...

"..Innocent Wedding Guest Malik (illustrated here prone)..."

Tee hee!

banned said...

Suicide Ali ?
All in plastic, including the explosives.

James Higham said...

Action man - the last line of defence against PC.

North Northwester said...

Aha! Struck a cord here, I think.

PC, yep, it's funny how they misread the opening words of the Koran; "Be nice to all; believer and unbeliever alike, reason with them only and never do them harm," to mean "wage a perpetual war against all unbelievers except when you are defeated, and then lie."

DJ. Indeed - and which Muhammed one do you mean: the manic mystic who warred on his neighbours and told his followers to do so in perpetuity; his follower the half-trained airline pilot; or the most fattest file name for boys in the Registry Offices of Luton and Leeds, London and Leicester.
Somewhere with an L, at any rate.

LSP, welcome back sir.
And are we all aboard with the notion that these toys had removable hands once they were a week or so old? How many hands get removed for theft, even in Texas, in a single year I wonder? Is it a number similar to the NYT's good ideas this year?

Julia, another smile through the pain of it all. We do what we can...

Banned, true 'nuff. How's the baking desert temperature round your neck of the woods, by the way?

James. He may not last long. We may get down to the pencil-top trolls before we're through..

Jade said...

How dare she!

Daring to be seen abroad without Awrah Ken being released 10 paces, sorry, days ahead of her!

This is an insult to the profit!

On the subject of non-PC dolls, might I suggest Virgin Barbie? Limited edition of 72. What is not often mentioned is, you have to give them back, intact, when they are needed for the next deserving individual.

North Northwester said...

Hello Jade, and welcome.
And in fact, when you buy the damned things and you get all the messy stuff over and what do you find? More of our debate, I think...
It seems we may all be, tentatively, wrong about what exactly’s inside, and how many, as Ibn Warraq discussed


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