Wednesday, January 8, 2014

All I want for Christmas

Christmas and the New Year celebrations are formally over as of Monday midnight. The decorations all have to come down and everything seems a bit bare and boring as a result. In my mind during this period, from Christmas Eve on the 24th of December, through to the 13th day of Christmas on January 6th, the world becomes a place where glimmer rules and everything non-metallic or shiny should be pushed to the back of a broom closet. I still have a glimmer particle or two lodged in my forehead, that make an appearance if I look at myself in a mirror under bright lights.

There is usually a toy or two that every kid wants for Christmas, here as elsewhere. This year the main item of longing for the young was a Furby that connects to an iPod or an iPad. I have not seen this eight wonder of the world but have come to the understanding that the hook up to these devices was for the purpose of “feeding” the thing. It is designed to be handled regularly by the owner, who will otherwise suffer the consequences.

On the second of January one of the papers ran an interview with a child psychologist whom warned parents that the Furby had a capacity of causing high levels of stress in children. It is programmed to become extremely grumpy if not handled and played with and as opposed to other toys that the children control, it controls the children. They are apparently not mature enough to endure companionship with a needy toy. Which has no off button.

The article contained an interview with a young girl that was really happy with her Furby. She said one thing that struck me as funny, namely that her Furby was a girl but when it became angry it became very impolite and turned into a boy. She also mentioned getting tired of the Furby when it started screaming at her when it felt slighted. Somehow this interview was not very selling for the product. There is enough yelling the world to go around without shrieking toys.

Soon after this interview the same paper carried another interview with parents of kids that had got a Furby for Christmas. These parents had dark circles under their eyes after spending many nights trying to silence the toy that got upset no one was playing with it in the middle of the night. One mother was so tired she came across as being a bit delusional. Her theory was that the toy was possessed. Or suffering from a multiple personality disorder. At night she was constantly woken up by loud yelling in a man’s voice and when she approached the toy it would hurl incomprehensible words that sounded like foreign obscenities. From the exorcist.
I googled this thing to see if it was only Iceland that was experiencing this toy negatively. Apparently not. I saw reports of Furbies having seizures. Furbies biting the hand that feeds them. Furbies laughing like the devil. Furbies saying gross and hurtful things. Also, there are loads of youtube videos of “Evil Furby” or “Devil Furby”. There is even one called “How to turn Furby from evil to nice.” A review of the toy I found ran under the headline: "Absolute horror". A quote from the review: "the Furby is back, and it is insanity incarnate. It is a mile marker on the road to tech dystopia."  However it also noted: "Kids will love it."

The review, by someone named Sam Biddel on Gizmodo, also specified form whom the toy was for, namely: Children. Lonely children. Neglected children. The children of criminals. Evil babies. The senile. CIA black site prisoners. Skeletons. Hated cats. Madmen. Other robots. The hounds of hell.

The box says “The toy with a mind of its own”. I don’t know. That tagline is not appealing. At all.

But I think the psychologist could have come forth sooner. It helps no one to know that the most coveted toy is probably made in Hades on the second of January.
Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. A toy for CIA black site prisoners, hmmm? I see more great ideas for stories on this forum. You guys just toss them out left and right, forward and backward. I'm staying away from the latter, especially Jeff's.

  2. Hi Everett - after investigating this toy I must admit I really want to see it live in action now. Specially since they are ideal for the CIA black site prisoners. And hated cats. Makes me wonder.

    bye Yrsa

  3. I recall seeing a documentary about distraught children whose furbies had deceased. Coffins, funerals, flowers, speeches over the grave, tears. One primary school had started to offer grief counselling....

  4. I don't know, sounds like a perfectly normal relationship to me, Yrsa. Then again, I sometimes feel as if I come from a life filled with characters right out of "Gremlins"... hmm, I wonder....

  5. Caro - now I really have to get one.

    Jeff - why am I not surprised that this would be your type of thing?