Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stigmata sold separately

From Cliff Schechter, via C&L:
Wal-Mart said Tuesday it will test sales in some stores of biblical action figures whose makers say they are aimed at Christian parents who prefer their children play with Samson, David or Noah rather than with a comic book character or Bratz doll.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. spokeswoman Melissa O'Brien said the toys made by One2believe, a Valencia, California, company, will be offered in 425 of Wal-Mart's 3,376 discount stores...

One-believe Chief Executive David Socha said his products were part of a "battle for the toy box" with dolls and figures that he said carry negative messages.

"If you're very religious, it's a battle for your children's minds and what they're playing with and pretending. There are remakes out there of Satan and evil things," Socha said.
Playing and pretending are important to any child's develop,ent, and while I'm not crazy about the crap that passes for children' toys these days, I am certain that Biblical action toys have the same potential crapiness built in. The key to childhood development is imagination: through plays, children imagine ways to adapt to the real world in all its permutations.

Imaginative play teaches children the skills they will need to develop into functioning, productive adults, including literacy, mathematical reasoning, creativity and social skills. Those social skills include the ability to share, negotiate, compromise, make and revise rules, and adapt the perspective of others.

Biblical action figures by themselves are not bad, unless combined with a dogmatic interpretation of the owners manual, The Bible. In fact, dogma of any type is anathema to imagination. Let's face it - the real world is a non-dogmatic, random, imaginative, disheveled, scary place. If everybody did exactly what the Bible tells them to do, think about how much less frightening it would be. This is the dream of Biblical literalists - a return to a world that never existed, and most likely never will, where uncertainty is vanquished like the Philistines, and the rule of law is indistinguishable from the word of God.

Talk about imaginative play.

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