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June 12, 2013

Today's Looming Childhood Trauma

The horror of mean Lego faces!

Think back on your experiences with Lego men and Lego women. Probably you have happy memories of the time you spent with those tiny figures ...But a new study reports an ominous finding. “The children that grow up with Lego today will remember not only smileys, but also anger and fear in the Minifigures’ faces.”

...While the “vast majority” have happy faces, “the trend is for an increasing proportion of angry faces, with a concomitant reduction in happy faces,” as Christian Jarrett explains in his summary of the study for Research Digest. Hence the researchers’ concern about our children’s futures. They connect this finding with the “considerable array of weapon systems” that are now part of the Lego family, with the toys “moving towards more conflict based play themes.”

Less trumpeted is the fact that each face “received an average of 3.9 emotion labels,” i.e., there was a lot of disagreement about what each face was communicating. ...The real lesson here, I think, is that today’s children are growing up at a time of unparalleled Lego diversity.

Thankfully, we're to be spared the existential angst of Racist Lego:

While attaching the faces to “a body tended to increase ratings for anger and happiness but reduce ratings for disgust and sadness,” skin color “made no difference.”

While we're on the subject, what in the holy heck is wrong with "conflict based play"?

Update: we'd forgotten the Pink Ghetto brouhaha. And don't even get us started about the blatantly oppressive male privilege of "Erector Sets".

Posted by Cassandra at June 12, 2013 07:50 AM

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Comments

The same thing that's wrong with eating Pop Tarts into the wrong shape.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 12, 2013 03:50 PM

Alt:

Angry Lego Men threatening your kid's childhood? Wish you could go back to the innocence of childsplay in the days of yore?

Call the Little Green Army Men!

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 12, 2013 03:55 PM

"Lego diversity" doesn't include round people.
On the other hand, everybody in Lego Land is shaped like an NFL lineman, so the anorexic are also under-represented. So I guess the message to children is that diversity means conformity. Obey!
That's obviously the reason that Lego's also have such appeal to atheists. In fact, LEGOS is actually an acronym for "Let's Erase God On Sunday." It's also an acronym for "Little Ears Grok Our Subtext," and "Let Ernie Get Our Sandwiches" (although in Logo Land "Ernie" and "Emma" are almost indistinguishable and completely interchangeable from the head down, like atheists).

Wake up America!

Posted by: spd rdr at June 12, 2013 04:29 PM

Yanno, I'm still shaking my head over the "conflict based play themes" thing.

Do any of these folks have real children?

When we were still a rosy-cheeked Editorial Staff, one of the favorite neighborhood games was one we called "War".

It consisted of a lot of running around with toy guns, hiding in secret hideouts, and arguing over whether we were "dead" or just "wounded" when we got "shot".

Nowadays, they'd probably call in Child Protective Services. I can't honestly say playing "War" made me violent. I've never in my life been in a fistfight (or really, any kind of violent altercation). I have about the longest fuse imaginable, get along with my husband and sons very well, and am not know for my belligerent disposition.

Don't torture kittens or pull the wings off flies, either. How is this possible???

Posted by: Cass at June 12, 2013 04:34 PM

Obviously your toy gun's evil mind rays were defective.

Not so sure about these ones, though.

Best be on the safe side.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 12, 2013 04:47 PM

That's obviously the reason that Lego's also have such appeal to atheists.

OMG. Every time I think these folks have exceeded my capacity to make fun of them, they go and outdo themselves.

Posted by: Cass at June 12, 2013 04:50 PM

I've never in my life been in a fistfight
A most worthy accomplishment, to be sure. Particularly so considering the crowd that you run with. I, on the other hand, can recall being in at least a half-dozen of the things, and can't recall being in at least another half-dozen. Of course, all this happened long ago, before I discovered how to use non-conflict based methods to resolve minor disagreements before they escalate to fisticuffs. "Playing dead" was one such method, although I personally found "Say hello to my little friend" to be much more effective.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 12, 2013 04:53 PM

They'll pry my pink Easy Bake oven out of my cold, dead hands, Yu-Ain.

What a bunch of loons.

Posted by: Cass at June 12, 2013 04:55 PM

On the topic of Erector Sets, I prefer the old-school sets. No soft, floppy metal for me! A proper erection requires wood. I've been trying to get some, but people hoarding those old sets makes it hard.

Posted by: Sheldon Cooper at June 12, 2013 05:06 PM

Bruno Bettelheim said that it's impossible to avoid the appearance of weapons among children's toys, because kids won't willingly play with tin pacifists.

As an aside, I'm endlessly amused by the notion that the people pushing the anti-toy-weapon agenda have eliminated violence from their psyches, instead of merely suppressing it, so that its spiny little protuberances poke out all over them in the form of support for one intrusive, meddling regulation after another.

Posted by: Texan99 at June 12, 2013 05:26 PM

A most worthy accomplishment, to be sure. Particularly so considering the crowd that you run with.

I know you're yanking my chain mr rdr, but how much of an accomplishment can it be if it required no effort on my part? It may be my sad lack of testosterone or the fact that I just haven't had all that strong an urge to hit someone.

I remember on occasion really wanting to smack the stuffing out of one or both sons, but I had a rule about not ever acting in anger. Now *talking* in anger is a whole 'nother thing :p

FWIW, I have only gotten that mad a few times in my life (usually at my husband) and I've slammed doors (so mature :p), said things I regret saying, stormed out of the house and burned rubber on the way out of my neighborhood, etc. I'm not going to win any moral superiority points this year, either, I suspect.

Posted by: Cass at June 12, 2013 06:05 PM

I'm endlessly amused by the notion that the people pushing the anti-toy-weapon agenda have eliminated violence from their psyches

They haven't eliminated it. They've just outsourced it. Which makes it easier.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 12, 2013 06:07 PM

A proper erection requires wood.

Throw me a bone, Sheldon!

Posted by: Willy Johnson at June 12, 2013 06:18 PM

T99,
While not intended to be taken to be about literal death, I'm reminded of this quote Ned Stark in "A Game of Thrones"

If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you can not do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die. [...] A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.
No normal person looks at his neighbor and says 'You shouldn't have such a large soda and I'm going to stop you myself'. But get a regulator to do it for you and it becomes a perfectly legitimate thing to do.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 12, 2013 08:56 PM

wow!
Folks are getting excited about Lego faces being slightly less warm and fuzzy?
How about worrying about the violence and porn rampant in video games?

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at June 12, 2013 09:19 PM

YAG: I used to have that argument all the time when I did a stint with my old neighborhood civic club. People wanted to call me up and make me be the heavy in their disputes with their nextdoor neighbors. They wouldn't even try to broach the subject personally first, "because she'd get mad at me." I'd ask them, "How do you think she's going to react when she finds out you sicced the civic club on her? Do you really think it's friendlier if I play the heavy on your behalf?"

To which they often replied, "But I don't even know her name."

Posted by: Texan99 at June 13, 2013 12:06 AM

Leggos are not safe! Children can burn their fingers when they get them out of the toaster! Not only that, they are high in carbs and fat!
The dyes are also harmful!

Posted by: Emily Littella at June 13, 2013 01:09 AM

Hmm, Bone is a little heavy, but your subsequent erections would be rather sturdy. You just couldn't make them too big, otherwise you won't be able to keep them up.

Posted by: Sheldon Cooper at June 13, 2013 09:45 AM