Full Metal Bonnet
March 5, 2003 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Full Metal Bonnet Retailers Put All Their Grenades in One Basket: National retailers like Kmart and Walgreens have stocked their shelves with baskets in which the traditional chocolate rabbit centerpiece has been displaced by plastic military action figures and their make-believe lethal paraphernalia. Great quote: Packets of jellybeans are tossed in as if an afterthought, nestled in the cellophane underbrush like anti-personnel mines.
posted by sparky (52 comments total)

 
Large sectors of this nation, perhaps a plurality, may actually be going insane.

As it is, whenever I go to a Fred Meyer -- or Wal-Mart or Walgreen's -- I feel a sense of utter disbelief that this is the world I (have to) live in.
posted by argybarg at 9:10 AM on March 5, 2003


We don't want the kids reflecting on the words of a radical peace-nik jew hippy at a time like this.
Lets roll!
posted by 2sheets at 9:22 AM on March 5, 2003


It's nice to see that Christians and military personnel alike are objecting to this warmongering opportunistic marketing ploy. Still, the wholesale resurgence of military action figures is a little disturbing.

The original GI Joe was conceived in the '60s as a combat-ready doll (and the boys' counterpart of Barbie). But in the '70s war (and "violent" toys, including guns) were going out of fashion. As a response, GI Joe transitioned into the non-military "Adventure Team."

1968 was the last year for hardened military themes... It was a sensitive time, and the decision was made that G.I.Joe had to change. In 1969, Hasbro took G.I.Joe for an excursion into the unknown. The Adventures of G.I.Joe, a decidedly non combatant version of everyone's favorite movable fighting man. The Action Sailor became a regular Frogman, and took to the seas to battle sharks, and the Deep Sea Diver fought off octopus attacks to rescue the sunken treasure! The line performed well enough in stores for Hasbro to keep it going. But for the seventies, G.I.Joe had to get focused again.

When the next incarnation of G.I.Joe made its presence known, it was as the G.I.Joe Adventure Team.


Now the current GI Joe has transitioned into his 1960's origin again.

(Um, full disclosure: You can pry my vintage Talking Astronaut Joe from my cold fingers...)
posted by Shane at 9:23 AM on March 5, 2003


It is very normal behavior for 6-10 year old boys to build their fledgling egos with fantasies of guns, fighting and war.

However, this behavior it is not so normal for grown men, or for the President of the United States.
posted by goethean at 9:23 AM on March 5, 2003


OMG, it's Rambozo the Clown! I want my grey shrapnel-flavoured chewing gum!
posted by freakystyley at 9:24 AM on March 5, 2003


It sounds like some vendor threw some stuff up on a shelf to see what would sell.

That's it in a nutshell. Or would be, if the baskets didn't sell.

But they will.
posted by orange swan at 9:28 AM on March 5, 2003


I feel a sense of utter disbelief that this is the world I (have to) live in.

It is so hard to be better than everyone, thank god we've MetaFilter to help save the sheeple from themselves.
posted by Mick at 9:34 AM on March 5, 2003


Easter's a great time to get your war on.

And the militarization of Easter is nothing new:

"The Nazis developed an elaborate system of rituals and ceremonies. Their most powerful competitor in this regard was the Church, which the Nazi Party fought hard to displace. One way to do that was to take over Church festivals, giving them new content. This is an example of a speech to be given by party leaders at Easter ceremonies in 1944."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:45 AM on March 5, 2003


"I call that, myself, a pretty stupid insult and a slap at a religious observance," says Bruce Zielsdorf, who served 23 years in the air force and is now a spokesperson for the army in New York City. "First they commercialize one of the holiest days of Christian calendar, and now this?".........Retailers went on the defensive. "There was no intention on our part to offer up a violent Easter basket. We're very conscious of what will and what will not offend our customers. It was meant to be a lighthearted and fun gift," says Kmart spokesperson Abigail Jacobs. "It's in my opinion a harmless toy included in an Easter basket."

Christ Almighty! - Can't you get your angry Old Testament Dad (remember - The one whose rule you were sent to reform with the message of love and forgiveness?) to rain a few thunderbolts, or maybe some fire and brimstone, down on these blasphemers? Smite them with the wrath of G-D a little?

Blech. I bought a tarp at K-Mart for about $3.99, and a car battery at Wal-Mart two years ago. No more patronage of these sleazy merchandisers for me. I'll be bringing my fistfulls of hot dollars elsewhere.
posted by troutfishing at 9:48 AM on March 5, 2003


Yep, nothing like good old action toys, which can cause young boys to have severe body image problems. If the current GI Joe was real size, his arms would be between 28-30", bigger than the biggest bodybuilders.

Sure, pagan beliefs influence Easter tradition, but if a Christian were to be upset at anything, it would about these Toys of Mass Destruction. At least the Pagan influences are about rebirth and renewal.
posted by benjh at 9:52 AM on March 5, 2003


kirkaracha - thanks for the link to that Nazi Easter Sermon:

[A Nazi Prayer for War - Easter, 1944]

"....Our hope shines only because we fight. Whatever we may individually hope of life, each may know this: If he does not affirm life when it is in danger, his dreams will never be fulfilled. It makes a difference what we believe, but each must know that.

God is with the brave. That has been proven ever again in the Fatherland's times of need. This knowledge carries all our hopes for the future.

May the sun of this Easter morning shine in our hearts, may it purify us from every doubt........"


posted by troutfishing at 9:56 AM on March 5, 2003


Military action figures have nothing to do with our Lord's timely delivery of chocolate goodness or His message of egg salvation and rabbit after death.
posted by tolkhan at 9:59 AM on March 5, 2003


Whats the problem here? I played with army men my whole childhood and I'm a quite well adjusted adult. Why is it a problem if Walmart sells them to kids?

They sell *real* guns and games like Quake there but nobody seems to mind.
posted by bondcliff at 9:59 AM on March 5, 2003


Bondcliff, you're comparing eggs and jelly beans there.
posted by tolkhan at 10:01 AM on March 5, 2003


So its in an Easter Basket? Big deal. Kids don't give a crap about Jesus, they just want candy and toys.

I think the bigger problem here is parents who don't put in the time or effort to build their kids a basket and instead buy a prepackaged one.
posted by bondcliff at 10:05 AM on March 5, 2003


I feel a sense of utter disbelief that this is the world I (have to) live in.

Sorry, the world dosen't live up to your expectations. Alternatives can be arranged.

Get a grip people, these are toys for playing, make believe, remember? There are much bigger problems in the world in case you haven't noticed.

Yep, nothing like good old action toys, which can cause young boys to have severe body image problems.

Yup. I had a similar experience with my Superman toy as a child. It caused me to have low self-esteem, since unlike the doll, I couldn't fly.

But I know the solution. Let's build an action figure of an out of shape, unattractive guy with no powers whatsoever! Everyone'll wanna play with that, right??
posted by jonmc at 10:13 AM on March 5, 2003


Yes, they will, actually. Homer, anyone?
posted by Ptrin at 10:21 AM on March 5, 2003


While parents buying pre-packaged baskets can be a big problem, I don't think that's the bigger problem here. Parents who buy pre-packaged are still going to buy pre-packaged. All the clucking and Henny Pennying about pre-packaged won't change that.

When I was young, my parents bought pre-packaged baskets, but only used them as part of larger constructs of gifts. Sometimes they hatched elaborate schemes that kept us kids hopping about the house looking for the next clue, eventually leading to the bigger gift. Such memories brightly color my now-apathetic view of Easter.
posted by tolkhan at 10:28 AM on March 5, 2003


Quite a Norman Rockwell moment. A peaceful Easter morning (perhaps the holiest Christian day). Blossoms. Birds sing a song of spring. Children play at toy soldiers in American homes, in humvees throughout the Middle East, and in the White House.

Playtime. Easter Death and Destruction R Us. America.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:30 AM on March 5, 2003


Can we have Shallow Hal action figures? Or better yet, inaction figures. Watch them sit on the couch, giving commentary on the game, or the latest State of the Union address! Thrill as they click the remote control! Watch as they... post to Metafilter! Government regulator models sold seperately.

Yup. I had a similar experience with my Superman toy as a child. It caused me to have low self-esteem, since unlike the doll, I couldn't fly.

I'll bet you could have flown in much the same way the doll did: either by being thrown or by being suspended by something else (a hand, string, etc). Just like Buzz Lightyear.
posted by namespan at 10:31 AM on March 5, 2003


I think the real question is why do they make chocolate rabbits out of the cheapest, nastiest-tasting chocolate they can find?
posted by konolia at 10:32 AM on March 5, 2003


"There's nothing wrong with war toys!"

"Yes there is! They suck and so do you!"

"No they don't! F*** you!"

"Come over here, I'll kill ya!"

"Oh yeah?--I'll rip your head off!"


...inaction figure...

Great idea, but it has been done. The first one I remember was the Quantum and Woody "Goat Inaction Figure" (with cape but no articulation). I have one because it reminded me of King Puck (but not King Puck).
posted by Shane at 10:47 AM on March 5, 2003


I think the real question is why do they make chocolate rabbits out of the cheapest, nastiest-tasting chocolate they can find?

Why try when people will buy them anyway? Just ask George Lucas.
posted by eckeric at 10:50 AM on March 5, 2003


...inaction figure...
heh--well said, tho', namespan
: )
posted by Shane at 10:59 AM on March 5, 2003


Let's build an action figure of an out of shape, unattractive guy with no powers whatsoever!

MetafilterMan?
posted by bondcliff at 11:11 AM on March 5, 2003


As it is, whenever I go to a Fred Meyer -- or Wal-Mart or Walgreen's -- I feel a sense of utter disbelief that this is the world I (have to) live in.

Get. The Fuck. Over. Yourself.

I'm sorry every once and awhile you have to emerge from whatever coffeehouse or college campus or hyperbaric chamber of Hipness you happen to inhabit, and condescend to spend a little time with the Great Unwashed at Wal-Mart, where you might actually have to have contact with someone unlike you, with different values and different tastes. Better to just shove your head in the sand, wet your pants a few more times, and hope that scaaaary mainstream outside world will just go away.
posted by dhoyt at 11:12 AM on March 5, 2003


"I think the real question is why do they make chocolate rabbits out of the cheapest, nastiest-tasting chocolate they can find?"

Good question......I used to buy those nasty 1 lb. chocolate rabbits at K-Mart a month after Easter - after they had been marked down from $3 (or whatever) to about 25 cents. I would put them all in a big pot, melt them down, and make fudge.

Seems a little loopy, in retrospect, but that fudge sure tasted good. Much better than it tasted in it's, former, chocolate rabbit incarnation.

The rabbits didn't come with action figures bearing little toy grenades at that time though. I would have held on to those rabbits if they had.

Inaction Figures! - Great thought: "they sit on the couch! they watch TV! They eat fatty, sugary snacks! They type on the computer! They eat more snacks! They fall alseep and dream that they are watching TV!" (comes with extensible stomach, buttocks and thighs, plastic snacks, toy TV, computer and couch.)
posted by troutfishing at 11:16 AM on March 5, 2003


Get. The Fuck. Over. Yourself.

Did you play with war toys a lot when you were young, dhoyt? Maybe there is a link to aggression?
(Nah. I played with 'em. Evidently it's nature, not nurture.)
posted by Shane at 11:22 AM on March 5, 2003


(I played with Hungry Hungry Hippos, actually. Maybe that belies some troubled emotions?)
posted by dhoyt at 11:25 AM on March 5, 2003


Psychiatrist to Donnie Darko:
"And how did you feel when you didn't get these Hungry Hungry Hippos you wanted for Christmas..?"
[/approximate quote]

posted by Shane at 11:30 AM on March 5, 2003


dhoyt - I have a nephew raised on a steady diet of very realistic toy weapons (dad works for a gun importer) and relatives ply the kid with plastic guns - the kind that get inner city youths shot by cops because the toys are so resalistic.... His mother hid all these toy-weapons so he could join a play group: a 3-year old with a huge arsenal of realistic toy weapons would have seemed, I guess she thought, a little scary and weird to the mothers of other kids in the group.

But he managed to find the one toy weapon his mother missed and emerged from his closet brandishing - at the other kids in the play group - a battery powered toy chainsaw that makes realistic sounds: "Vroar vroar".........

Just thought I'd mention this. Somehow, it seems to sum up the American zeitgeist vis-a-vis the rest of the world: heavily armed, agressive, and poorly socialized.

So - You're saying that the action-figure/toy weapon packed Easter Baskets are a good thing? Or that people should just shut up and stop talking about them?

(self disclosure)....I used to chop off the arms and legs of my miniature toy soldiers, paint the stumps red, and play 'field hospital'. I had toy guns too. And I used to burn ants into cinders with magnifying glasses.
posted by troutfishing at 11:33 AM on March 5, 2003


"I think the real question is why do they make chocolate rabbits out of the cheapest, nastiest-tasting chocolate they can find?"

I like eating the eyes.
posted by jonmc at 11:34 AM on March 5, 2003


Metafilter: heavily armed, agressive, and poorly socialized.
Metafilter: I like eating the eyes.
Sorry, but some things simply demand taglining.
posted by Shane at 11:36 AM on March 5, 2003


Inaction Figures! - Great thought: "they sit on the couch! they watch TV! They eat fatty, sugary snacks! They type on the computer! They eat more snacks! They fall alseep and dream that they are watching TV!" (comes with extensible stomach, buttocks and thighs, plastic snacks, toy TV, computer and couch.)

Nah, kids have these already. They're called Your Average North American Adult.

on preview: let's analyse troutfishing and jonmc. Why speculate on the possible results of weapons as toys when we have the actual results right in front of us.
posted by orange swan at 11:38 AM on March 5, 2003


Hey dhoyt:

Feel free to pleasure yourself with whatever supermacho Common-Sense fantasies you have about both me and your own worldliness. Just understand your little windstorm says much more about your own interior drama than what you claim to know about mine.

If you go to malls or megadiscount stores and never once feel that the unbelievable shit that our culture/market not only generates but flings at us is depressing, then fine -- but don't go thinking that makes you Man of the People.

p.s. "Wet [my] pants"? What the hell are you talking about?
posted by argybarg at 11:47 AM on March 5, 2003


So - You're saying that the action-figure/toy weapon packed Easter Baskets are a good thing? Or that people should just shut up and stop talking about them?

I'm saying I find it profoundly ironic & amusing that the same people who are so indignant when family-oriented action groups seek to ban Eminem, violent video games and hip-hop are the also same ones who throw a fit when merchandise begins to reflect changes in the world that are personally unsettling to them.

Double standard? Who is really more puritanical?
posted by dhoyt at 11:50 AM on March 5, 2003


Just understand your little windstorm says much more about your own interior drama than what you claim to know about mine.

Let's just say that your "utter disbelief in the world you have to live in" says more about your own inabilities to cope than how fucked up Everyone Else is.
posted by dhoyt at 11:54 AM on March 5, 2003


tolkhan, Ptrin, Shane: TOUCHE!!
I'm laughing so hard at work I had to leave my desk...
posted by sparky at 11:59 AM on March 5, 2003


Nothing like a little flame war in a thread about war toys to increase the body comment count.
posted by Shane at 12:02 PM on March 5, 2003


dhoyt:

From now on if you have personal comments to make about me you're welcome to e-mail me -- it's in my profile. I'd rather you not try to take a piss on me in a public forum.
posted by argybarg at 12:06 PM on March 5, 2003


The original GI Joe was conceived in the '60s as a combat-ready doll (and the boys' counterpart of Barbie). But in the '70s war (and "violent" toys, including guns) were going out of fashion.

this is so true. as i recall my barbie threw over g.i. joe for big jim and his roomy, all-amenities-included camper.
posted by t r a c y at 12:53 PM on March 5, 2003



When I was a kid all I got were disgusting pink marshmallow bunnies in my Easter Basket. When first reading the Village Voice article, I wasn't sure if it wasn't an Onion like hoax. I went to the Astor Place K-Mart with my digital camera, and sure enough it was true. Excuse the cut-off head I was holding the camera down low, and quickly aiming by guess. The display was right at the entrance, and I was trying to avoid the unwanted attention of the security guards a few feet away.
posted by gametone at 1:16 PM on March 5, 2003


"I'm saying I find it profoundly ironic & amusing that the same people who are so indignant when family-oriented action groups seek to ban Eminem, violent video games and hip-hop are the also same ones who throw a fit when merchandise begins to reflect changes in the world that are personally unsettling to them. "

Who are these people you speak of?
I may have missed it, but I didn't see anything about a ban.
I think it's revolting, but that doesn't mean I want to ban anything.
And I did play with GI Joe, and even got shot in the eye in a BB-gun war. Does that give me some macho cred?
posted by 2sheets at 2:35 PM on March 5, 2003


...and even got shot in the eye in a BB-gun war.

You mean YOU are the one damn kid in the history of the universe who got shot in the eye with a BB gun and ruined it for all of the rest of us?

Damn you.
posted by Shane at 2:40 PM on March 5, 2003


The Toys of Peace

(first short story on the page)
posted by pandaharma at 4:09 PM on March 5, 2003


These are really classy. I'm sure Jesus would approve.
posted by moonbiter at 4:34 PM on March 5, 2003


When are the K-Marts and Wal-Marts going to cut out the bullshit and simply give us a crucified Jesus in fatigues?

he should be holding a machine gun, too, squeezing off one last round.
posted by troutfishing at 8:15 PM on March 5, 2003


[dittohead]

Oh dear.. I'm supposed to love jesus, but I'm also told to love war... what am I supposed to do now?

[/dittohead]
posted by Space Coyote at 8:17 PM on March 5, 2003


Uh yeah. You know I'm not even a christian (but I was in the past). And I think I'm pretty offended by this. Jesus may or may not have been the God in the flesh but he did have a few pretty good ideas. Some marking wizard came up with the idea of selling a military toy for a holiday that is supposed to be honoring the death and supposed resurrection of a man called "the prince of peace" just to make a buck is just sick in the head. But its typical of today's corporate culture. Frankly anyone that's not the least little bit disturbed about this really doesn't get the point. Boycott anyone?
posted by whirlwind29 at 7:27 AM on March 6, 2003


'BOYCOTT BOYCOTT BOYCOTT' screams the man with the megaphone.......the seething crowd grows restive....'These unholy bloodsuckers are spitting on the name of Jesus Christ! BOYCOTT BOYCOTT'.....the crowd takes up the chant, which rings through the streets....
posted by troutfishing at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2003


Well, another excuse to keep me out of Walmart is always welcome.
posted by konolia at 9:11 AM on March 6, 2003


[dittohead]

Oh dear.. I'm supposed to love jesus, but I'm also told to love war... what am I supposed to do now?

[/dittohead]
posted by Space Coyote at 1:17 AM on March 6


Just kill your enemy and say you are doing out of love I guess :)
posted by whirlwind29 at 10:35 AM on March 6, 2003


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