When you watch the news cast it seems like the doll is only saying 'Islam is the Light." However the news reports are saying the doll says things about Satan.
David Emery's Urban Legends Blog
By David Emery, About.com Guide to Urban Legends since 1997
My BioMy BlogMy ForumAdd to: iGoogleMy Yahoo!RSSTalking Doll Allegedly Says 'Islam Is the Light'
Friday October 10, 2008
In case you were too busy monitoring the worldwide economic crisis this past week to keep up on the really important news, let me be the first to apprise you that retailers across America started whipping a talking doll off their shelves these past few days after customers complained it was "spouting hate" -- or at any rate that's how it was couched in a report by Fox News Kansas City yesterday.
The doll in question, Fisher-Price's "Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle & Coo Doll," allegedly repeats the phrases "Satan is king" and "Islam is the light" in addition to all of the standard babbling and cooing you would expect to hear from a talking baby doll.
"There's no markings on the box to indicate there's anything Islamic about this doll," Oklahoman Gary Rofkahr told Fox News in a story headlined "Parents Outraged Over Baby Doll They Say Mumbles Pro-Islam Message."
All of which begs so many questions I hardly know where to begin.
Ear of the beholder
First, does the doll really say those things? You can judge for yourself by listening to one of the many YouTube videos available online, or, if you prefer to go directly to the source, the actual playback of the doll's speech supplied by Fisher-Price's parent company, Mattel, to KJRH-TV News.
Having listened to these recordings over and over myself, I can confidently say I don't hear anything in them that sounds remotely like "Satan is king." One portion of the playback does sound a little bit like "Islam is the light," though to be honest it sounded much more like "As long as the light" to me. An audio expert contacted by KJRH-TV News in Tulsa, Oklahoma analyzed the recording and concluded it sounded most like "It's not near the light."
An important factor to take into account here is the power of suggestion. People tend to hear what they expect to hear (or what they've been primed to hear). In this case, when asked, most folks do say they hear "Islam is the light" -- if they were told in advance what the doll allegedly says. But when KOTV Tulsa reporter Chris Wright put the same question to people without prepping them, they couldn't make out any intelligible phrases at all.
Logic and plausibility
The next question that needs asking is why on earth a major toy company would insert any kind of religious message into a mass-market talking doll, let alone a message as controversial (in some parts of the United States, at any rate) as an affirmation of Islam. It simply isn't plausible. And according to Mattel spokesperson Sara Rosales, it simply isn't true. The Baby Cuddle & Coo Doll only has one scripted word, "Mama," Rosales told Newsday earlier today. The rest of the recording is gibberish, including a fuzzy syllable that "may resemble something close to the word 'night,' 'right' or 'light,'" Rosales said.
Moreover, why would a doll allegedly dedicated to promoting Islam say "Satan is king?"
Answer: it wouldn't.
And lastly, by what stretch of the imagination would uttering the phrase "Islam is the light" constitute "spouting hate"?
Answer: it wouldn't.
An epidemic of evil, trash-talking dolls?
Folks, this is craziness. And you know what? We've seen it before:
Remember when parents all across the U.S. had a hissy-fit in 1998 because they really, truly believed their children's Teletubby dolls were saying "Faggot, faggot, bite my butt"?
And how about the California woman who threatened a lawsuit in 2000 after convincing herself that a Teletubby doll was telling her child "I got a gun, I got a gun, run away, run away!"
Or the woman who complained in 2006 that a Little Mermaid doll called her daughter "a slut."
Or the parent who claimed earlier this year that an Elmo doll made death threats against her son.
Something needs to be done to keep these toys out of the wrong hands . . . adults' hands, I mean, not kids'. They clearly are not safe.