Stupid Baby? Sue Disney

Stupid baby doll picking noseFrom The New York Times:

Parent alert: the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for all those “Baby Einstein” videos that did not make children into geniuses.

Obviously, Disney has not been delivering on its implied promise to parents buying Baby Einstein and its other titles, Baby Mozart, Baby Shakespeare and Baby Galileo. Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, decided to do something about it.

In 2006, she prevailed upon Disney and another company, Brainy Baby, to drop the word “educational” from their marketing. But this wasn’t enough to warn parents that their children would not become the next Jonas Salk or Madame Curie by viewing a few DVDs.

“Disney was never held accountable, and parents were never given any compensation. So we shared our information and research with a team of public health lawyers,” Ms. Linn said.

After threatening a class-action lawsuit alleging unfair and deceptive advertising, these brave crusaders were able to secure a full refund for anyone feeling unfairly saddled by a still-stupid baby. After all, Disney must be held responsible for a child doodling with poop when he should be explaining string theory.

According to the article, studies have been done which show that television watching from one through three years of age is associated with attention problems at age seven. As opposed to attention problems from just, say, being seven.

Isn’t it ironic that the people running these studies were probably raised by mothers who drank and smoked while pregnant and didn’t baby-proof their homes? Now we don’t even have toilet-drownings or socket-forkings to thin the herd.

I hope it’s not too late to get in on this action. I spent years playing with the Fisher Price farm set, yet I now live in a city and cannot grow crops, not even a measly window sill garden. My Easy Bake oven did not imbue me with pastry-making aplomb. Watching Scooby Doo failed to help me solve crime. And my experience with Weebles, which wobble but don’t fall down, is still too painful for me to talk about. Where’s my refund?

Generations of children who longed for Barbie and Ken’s pleasingly smooth nether regions could only grow to feel shame for their own clumsy, real world genitalia. I say a cruel injustice has been perpetrated here. I call on Susan Linn to speak for those too young or too stupid to seize the opportunity for notoriety and fiduciary gain. Maybe Disney could do a video teaching us all about that.

A semi-related post:
Stupid Baby Names, Part Duh

Copyright Magick Sandwich

26 replies
  1. Brian o vretanos
    Brian o vretanos says:

    I've always given my daughter toys in the hope that she would, er, play with them, rather than as part of an educational scheme. Having said that, I too am going to make a start towards early retirement by compiling a list of people to sue. Top of the list is whoever made those sweet cigarettes that we used to have when I was young. And then there's all those 70s TV shows (remember Space 1999?), which have rendered me incapable of developing any fashion sense whatsoever.

  2. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @Jennifer: Thanks! Now I have someone to hold responsible for my ineptitude.

    @alapoet: I felt worse for GI Joe. He had that kung fu grip but nothing to grab, even though I learned a lot from the boys mimicking a certain
    something with those plastic hands.

    @Debbie: For real? We've short circuited the laws of selection! (Oops, pun unintended.)

    @Brian: I loved those friggin' cigarettes. They had the sugar coating you could blow out like smoke! (No wonder it took me a few packs of the real thing to learn how to inhale.)

    Space 1999? I'm still trying to replicate Yeoman Rand's hairdo from Star Trek!

  3. Kathcom's spouse
    Kathcom's spouse says:

    The amount of effort today's parents expend in a doomed attempt to subvert the laws of natural selection is appalling.

    Simply encouraging healthy curiosity in children and giving them the resources to answer their own questions (plus letting kids go ahead and learn simple yet important life lessons by giving them the chance to occasionally shock/burn/cut/bonk themselves) can confer a tremendous advantage over all the youngsters whose parents think a DVD can substitute for active, one-on-one parental involvement and tutoring.

  4. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @spouse: I suspect many parents would agree with you if they weren't too busy worrying about a neighbor calling Child Protective Services if they raise their voices.

    I don't think this wackadoo who believes a utopia will bloom in the absence of tv commercials is representative of what parents truly believe. If I did I'd be more scared than amused.

  5. ettarose
    ettarose says:

    Bravo! Absolutely brilliant. You had me at "unfairly saddled by a still-stupid baby." I think Disney owes all of us, and I think Fisher Price should be next. Keep em coming please. This was great!

  6. C.B. Jones
    C.B. Jones says:

    I played with Lincoln Logs, and don't think I'll ever become President(or a lumberjack). Barack was just a hoax. My skin tone is one shade too dark to ever run this country that I sometimes, kinda, sorta love.

    Also, I was never able to duplicate myself. Can I sue whoever makes silly putty?

  7. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @ettarose: Maybe if the still-stupid baby were big enough to put a saddle on, then it would be worth it. Then we could sponsor a baby rodeo. Whaddya say?

    @C.B.: Ha ha. You said Lincoln "logs"–like president poop–get it? Obviously, I could've used more effective educational instruction.

    If you could replicate yourself, the Silly Putty would make your skin the same shade as most of our presidents.

  8. blurts
    blurts says:

    I had the Fisher-Price farm set too. Got the same results. But that wheeled thing with a handle that you push that makes the balls pop up against that plastic dome? THAT made me what I am today.

  9. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @AmyMusings: Thanks for the Stumble! I'm glad you grokked the post.

    @blurts: I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to figure out what that bubble thing could make a person. Thanks for keeping me on my toes. (Whack-a-Mole champ? Apple bobber? Paranoid schizophrenic?)

  10. HermanTurnip
    HermanTurnip says:

    Durr! It's all about interaction with your child. Simply watching television does not make for a smart baby. That's like saying "drinking Gatorade will make you into a world-class athlete". There's no such thing as a short cut.

  11. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @Herman: True. But no amount of interaction will change a baby's IQ. I don't think people who bought the DVDs really believed it could make the kids geniuses, did they? It's funny: I believe people capable of so many crazy things, but I have a hard time believing this….

  12. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @NannyGoats: Ohmigod! I totally forgot about the mooing cow. That thing freaked me out.

    @VE: Bwa ha ha! I'll never look at Legos again without seeing nipples. Thank you for sharing a peek into your twisted psyche.

    @Schmutzie: Thanks so much! I haven't been on your site since you did Intrepid Tuesday and I nominated myself. I never thought somebody else would do it. Yay!

  13. Skye
    Skye says:

    When I was a kid I had a toy called "Speak & Spell". Yep it was an educational toy, whether it did anything for my IQ or not I doubt if I'll ever know, but it did give me a love of learning how the English language works. Educational toys do benefit children if (and it's a big IF) the parents take the time to help the kids learn! However, sitting a kid down in front of the t.v. to watch a movie doesn't help them one iota. There's a reason it's called "The Boob Tube"! As far as I'm concerned no matter the show, if you're not going to watch it with your kids and explain things and have discussions about it, it's just a babysitter, and not a very good one at that.

  14. kathcom
    kathcom says:

    @Skye: You're right, of course. But I developed a love of learning in order to escape what was going on in my home. I was raised on soap operas and survived it quite well.

    If children's psyches were as fragile as many people see them now, we never would have survived and thrived into our own adulthoods.

    Kids are resilient. I'm very happy that your children have you for a parent. They are lucky. But even the unlucky ones tend to make it through.

    I think our species would have died out a long time ago if kids needed to be raised so carefully. I don't expect parents to be perfect: I just hope they'll be "good enough." If that involves the tv functioning as a babysitter sometimes, so be it.

  15. Skye
    Skye says:


    I have to admit, I've had the t.v. keep my kids out of trouble a time or two. Sometimes a body is just too tired or busy to spend time with the little kidlets.

  16. Makya
    Makya says:

    I was a big Hungry, Hungry Hippos Fan. I learned that the faster you can consume marbles, the better. Three trips to the emergency room later I learned the exact opposite.


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