03 June, 2010

My Toys Were Better

My Toys Were Better


I am in a terrible mood today, kids. How is that different than any other day, you ask? Not much. But today, my appeal for disability had been denied. Again. This entire process has made me bitter, hateful, a little bit racist, and in desperate need of a drink. Living with the disability isn’t enough, apparently. Living with the awful memories of old doctor men sticking needles in your prepubescent dick and spine accompanied by the intolerable pain of simply being alive is benefit enough for being born fuct up, I guess. I can’t help but think that if I were born with the same disability but a different skin color, I’d be able to more easily reap the monies available. That’s the racist thing coming out, and I don’t entirely feel that way, but it seems as if the average white guy still owes the rest of the country for shit that happened three hundred years ago. You know, when my ancestors were growing fucking olives in Italy. Christ. What did I ever do to be treated like shit? I was only born fuct up. Are we making that a crime now, like those assholes in California trying to ban foul language, or those dickheads in New York trying to outlaw salt? This country is a fucking mess.

Let’s talk about modification. Get my mind off of this bullshit. Art reflects life, doesn’t it. When times are shit, horror movies boom. When times are not as bad (because times are never good), music is poppier. I am going to put forth (or poot forth) the idea that toys are, in a way, art. If we accept that, then the rest of this will make more sense, or maybe I’ll stray from the point like I always do in these rants, making me a shitty writer.

When I was a little kid, I played with toys. I had a crazy imagination, and my action figures (not dolls, girls play with dolls and girls have cooties) were very much a vehicle for my imagination to materialize. Not to sound terribly old (my birthday’s Monday, March 15th; I like blu-rays), but I think that when I was younger toys required more imagination and ingenuity to come to life. I made laser gun noises myself, and I think anyone thirty years old or older has that one laser gun noise that he thought was the best of anyone’s. No lights nor sounds nor spring loaded projectiles. That’s not to say that my toys weren’t dangerous. Before fun-raping interest groups got their slimy and imagination murdering fingers on toys, they were made out of shit that you could hijack a plane with. I had a Tonka dump truck that was made out of bent sheet metal. Those edges were so sharp that I could cut coke with them. Falling on that thing meant losing a limb.

This isn’t about the toys I played with, but thanks for listening. Toys tend to reflect the times. G.I. Joe action figures (which, you’re right, were more like dolls) hit the market in 1964, celebrating the successful military engagement of World War II. It also created a subtle insertion into the minds of young people during the Vietnam War. And then there’s Barbie. Took me long enough to get to the point.

I won’t go into a history about Barbie because I don’t really care. Her full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts, by the way. So there’s that. What I will get into is the new “Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie” that is being released in concert with Barbie’s fiftieth anniversary. She comes with little stickers that mimic tattoos that your little brat can place on Barbie as tattoos, and she also comes with a tattoo machine. Mattel, who makes the little tramp doll, supports the idea that the children playing with the dolls will be encouraged to be more creative; while overprotective (and probably over medicated) house moms are damning the idea.

On one hand, I think the idea is pretty interesting, damn near rad. It shows that the concepts of body modification are permeating into the minds of guys in suits, and that permeation is something that is breeding a more positive perception of tattoo modification. I mean, if Barbie is modified, it can’t just be for bikers, sailors, jailbirds, and Coney Island freaks, right? Modifying Barbie is, in a way, acknowledging that modification is for everyone, and it can (if she chooses) be part of what makes the all-American girl beautiful.

The other hand is the one that is full of rage and anger. It’s what I call ‘fun-hand.’ This hand holds the idea that a toy company is cashing in on what makes each one of us in the modified community idyllic in a reality that may have damned us to a discomfort in living in our own predetermined carbon meat bag. It sees the social douching of women with lower back tattoos and says, ‘we can make money on that.’ Likely, they see modification as a trend (as many outside the culture do), and they want to stay on the ‘hot topic’ of society. I am putting words in Mattel’s mouth here, but I find it terribly unlikely that they made this Barbie to celebrate the beauty of modification. Just a hunch.

I really don’t give much of a shit about the impetus for this new Barbie’s creation. What I do care about is the perception of the culture. In the article I read (which was in The Inquisitr, what ever the hell that is), the more irritating aspect was not that this Barbie exists. It’s not that Mattel is maybe cashing in on my culture, or maybe celebrating it; I’m not sure. It’s that purposeless mothers raise standards in protest of something so very innocuous. It’s this kind of protest that prevents society from accepting things and moving forward in the proper evolution of a culture and a society. I’m curious as to how many people protested the first black Barbie doll when it was released. In general, I’m not a big fan of the protesting person. I don’t think it does much good (much to the disagreement of my ex-hippie mother), and I don’t think systems of change occur because of Facebook groups. But it’s your right, so whatever. Go hold a sign and feel good about yourself. What pisses me off are the connotations that accompany this Barbie bullshit.

The article I read quoted unnamed protesting mothers in a way that perpetuates an -ism toward the modification culture. One mother intimated that if this Barbie is allowed, the next might be “Divorce Barbie,” and another submitted that since this Barbie is in accordance with her fiftieth anniversary, Barbie is going through a mid-life crisis. First, fuck off and die you judgmental whores. With that said, let me articulate. If you can put down your vicoden and paxil for a second, maybe you’ll realize how insulting your insinuations are. Mid-life crisis only really occur in the manufactured, suburban pageant that you and your plastic and secretly polyamorous cougars call your daily life. For the rest of us, modification is not an exclamation of a dissipating and unrealized youth. It is a beautification of self. It is a celebration of the lines and curves and textures of the flesh that encases all the time bomb cancer ready organs that will inevitably fail. We enjoy the lives we have as we are having them; not in a romanticized butterfly net swinging blindly in hopes to capture the remaining ticks of individuality that you ignored as it was happening. Modification has little to do with divorce. Modification has little to do with any of the topics of discussion that is eroding the frame of this society. People who want to prevent the exposure of anything that may be unconventional or unique are the ones that are the acid sizzling and burning the identity that hadn’t an opportunity to exist. Realize that those who modify are those who see the beauty in what they are, and the beauty in what others are as well. This has nothing to do with a fucking doll; it has everything to do with your distaste for a culture that you don’t understand but won’t give a thought to maybe trying to understand. Don’t blame the doll. Blame yourselves for the narrow and misinformed world view that you champion as ‘the right thing to do.’ You disgust me.

Can’t these people leave my culture alone? Can’t these people who don’t have the slightest idea about this beautiful culture we are a part of focus on themselves and their own problems and keep their naive, misguided, and bigoted opinions to themselves? If the divorce comment were made about any other type of Barbie, the ACLU would be all over it, trying to protect the rights of what ever shade of Barbie caused the hubbub. It’s disgusting that the beautification of self in which we participate is reduced to the assumptions of promiscuity and deviant behavior. It’s almost as if these people who make these assumptions have never interacted with a modified person. Idiots. Stay beautiful, kids.

Talk to A. Robert Basile on AIM at Basilephone
Yahoo Messenger at andrewbasile@rocketmail.com


  1. as always.... wonderful. i know this happened a few months ago but i still want to give you a hug! *hugs* there!

  2. I had that same Tonka truck. I have a scar on both my eyebrow and my arm from some asshole kid (my brother will remain nameless) who thought it would be hilarious if he threw it at me. We also had those full metal [jacket] shotguns with the little orange stoppers you could take out. He smoked me in the face with one of those and my nose bled for 2 hours straight.

    Even though this really had nothing to do with your point, I thought I would share.
    And you're totally right. Matell does anything that's popular. They can make money off of it, that's why there's "Bratz" (or brats or whatever the f they're called). Younger girls can't associate themselves with Kelly or Mini Barbie (I can't recall the other younger girls name) anymore because they don't have the clothes or the make-up that they wear. So out came the "trampy" Bratz that the mothers stomped all over claiming they were slutty and disgusting. Look at your own kids dammit. When I was 12 I sure as hell didn't wear make-up. I ran around putting my parakeet in the Slave-1 making laser noises with my brother who threw "asteroids" at me.

  3. Kyleasaurus -
    Your stories in there were absolutely awesome. Thank you for sharing them. Parakeet in the Slave-1. That is fucking incredible.

  4. Robert-
    I have pictures. When and if I find them, I will share. That poor parakeet went through the Millenium falcon Falcon as well.