Hi Readers — Thanks to all of you who sent in the wackiest “What If?” worry of the weekend: News reports that the new Video Barbie — a Barbie with a built-in video camera — “could” be used by child pornographers. The key word for us is “could.” The key words for the media? “Barbie,” “child porn,” “danger,” and, of course, “parents.” The whole thing was just a big Christmas gift for the news, which jumped all over the story.
What happened was this: The FBI, which clearly has too much time on its hands, sent out a warning to law enforcement officials saying that though there have been NO reports of Video Barbie being used to make kiddie porn, it could be, right? WHAT IF it was? Then we’d all be sorry!
The FBI warning was accidentally also sent to the press, which is always thrilled to remind parents that creeps are out to violate their kids. And lickety split, Barbie was added to the growing list of newly terrifying, child-threatening items. (A list, by the way, that also now includes Horsie-on-a-Stick.)
Anyway, I’d feel bad for Mattel, except the Video Barbies seem to be flying off the shelves. (The perfect gift for that child pornographer on your list!)
Now, coincidentally, I wrote a column about Video Barbie when it — she? –was introduced a few months ago and I had a different take on the toy. I was psyched that mastering technology (movie making, editing, sharing) was now a normal part of girlhood, same as playing house and dressing Barbie in a gown.
So there we have it: Two different takes on a toy, one celebratory, one speculative, sick and salacious. I think you know which one sells.