10 October 2007
Author/Illustrator: Don Freeman
This is the classic tale of a department store bear who goes out in search of his missing button. In the process, he finds more than a button... he finds friendship and discovers the power of love.
Re-reading this heartwarming book tickles the little nostalgia bone in even the most hardened souls out there. Not only because of Corduroy's triumph, but because the story hearkens back to a simpler time, a Golden Age for Toys... long before things started to go horribly and profoundly wrong.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the downward spiral began, but there is no denying that the Age of Innocence is now no more than a distant memory.
Key Moments in the Descending Decency of Toys
Chucky: Not only did this bloodthirsty doll strike fear in children everywhere with its campy gore, but it somehow managed to spawn a lengthy Child's Play series, extending Chucky's reign of terror into the present day.
Left: Seed of Chucky. The low point of pop culture? The low point of all culture? The low point, period?
Tickle Me Elmo: Tyco somehow convinces the world that toys possessed by the devil would be perfect for Christmas.
Left: Comes with free exorcism kit, complete with vial of (faux) holy water. The power of Big Bird compels you!
Toy-tal Recall: Mattel recalls millions of toys because a manufacturer in China used dangerous lead paint... proving that dolls don't have to come alive and wield sharp knives to be deadly.
Left: Barbie. Apparently, her looks can kill.
Threat Level Tonka: The Transportation Security Administration announces that they will start paying extra attention to all radio-controlled toys in airports because they can be used to detonate bombs.
Left: Weapons of Fast Destruction: Batteries Not Included
And then, just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, last week came this latest sordid bit of news:
MR. POTATO HEAD IN ECSTASY BUST: "Customs officers discovered nearly 10.5 ounces of ecstasy tablets hidden inside a Mr. Potato Head toy sent to Australia from Ireland, the agency said Thursday."
Yes this is tragic... but deep down, didn't we all see this coming? After his surprising success in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, it was only a matter of time before Potato Head was swept up by the wave of his newfound celebrity.
First came the funky hipster glasses, then the pretentious moustache, and then smuggling a body cavity filled with MDMA across international borders. According to an unconfirmed source, police searched Potato Head's luggage and found a box of glowsticks, 5 cartons of lollipops, and 26 extra smile accessories. Though this is the first time he was caught by the police, Potato Head has been seen living it up with Hollywood's party elite for months now. Next month's US Weekly will have the exclusive exposé, Mr. Potato Head: Lovable Spud or "Raving" Lunatic?
Left: Paparazzi capture a shot of Mr. Potato Head at a rave in downtown L.A.
So as you can see, between the War on Terror and the Bowels of Hollywood, toys have long abandoned the idyllic shelves of the Rockwell-era department stores. Since then, they have traveled down a dark and twisted path to a point where they can no longer be trusted, let alone loved.
So what now? Is there any hope?
Well, let me tell you a story. Long ago, a brave little bear named Corduroy set off into the unknown in search of his lost button. Now it's our turn to follow in his footsteps. Are we brave enough to march into the void to search for our lost innocence, not knowing what we might find?
Heck NO! No, we are NOT brave enough for that! Retreat! RETREAT!!!
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Brilliant post! Did you hear about the incident (several years ago), of someone in Japan who murdered a woman, cut up her body, and stuffed it into the cavity of a giant Hello Kitty)? Since then, I have avoided these products altogether.
Meanwhile, what do I say to the 300+ bears in my house (Corduroy among them)?
BTW, Corduroy sends you some virtual mac and cheese for saying all those nice things about him.
mmmm... the virtual mac & cheese goes great with imaginary glass of milk. Thanks, Corduroy!
What a wonderful post!
Now, tell me--what on earth is that thing playing the violin?
I would tell you, but i'm too busy huddling in the corner in the fetal position.
Wahh! That thing with the violin LOOKED at me- right at me!!
I am surprised you didn't mention Bratz dolls as one of the seven harbingers of the apocalypse.
it's only a matter of time before the juggernaut that is Martha Stewart releases a toy line for Macy's. Then we can have lifeless-looking toys back on the shelves of department stores everywhere.
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