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W.A.T.C.H.

29th August 2003

WATCH out! Patronising, over-protective website alert! Or so the warning should go. World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) is a website devoted to keeping the world safe from evil toys (hiss) and playthings whish could tenuously be construed as dangerous. Take a browse around if you have the time, as usual the rest of this will be more entertaining if you've sampled the fetid wares on offer for yourself:

www.toysafety.org

See what I mean? How magnanimous of the site's owner to dedicate his time and effort to warning against the potential horrors of such vile creations as Bob The Builder - Counting Hammer and Little Stars Lamaze - My First Dollhouse. How nice that some people still put others before themselves you think. Until you read the first sentence of the first page that is...

World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.), a Massachusetts charitable non-profit corporation, was founded by Edward M. Swartz, a nationally known trial lawyer and child safety consumer advocate.

Ah, now it all falls into place. He's not doing it for the fuzzy feeling inside, it's his JOB to find ways that kids could, theoretically, possibly, in the right weather conditions come to harm from what in a normal person's eyes are just plain old toys. I can picture this bloke in his heyday, standing in court:

Your honour I plead that the defendant did with malicious intent create this Teletubbies bath sponge in the full knowledge that the plaintiff would spend 2 hours stuffing it up his left nostril at bath time and hence suffer serious nasal injury...

Amazing enough, both of the toys I've mentioned so far made it onto the 2002 Worst Toys list. So what else is there? Maybe the little known Al-Qaeda terror doll TM, complete with real, working rocket launchers and real exploding suicide bombers? No, nothing so sublime, just some ordinary, well toys, really.

But the real juicy, tender crap in this little website is over on the Toy Hazards page, where parents are warned to 'WATCH OUT' for various possible (tenous, vague, virtually impossible, depending mental stability of the individual) hazards posed by innocent-looking playthings.

" WATCH OUT for Battery Operated Toys For Children Under 8 Years Of Age since batteries may leak, overheat and explode" warns the website. Batteries - explode? Yeah, right well they CAN. But what 3 year old snotling knows how to short or heat a battery enough until THAT happens?

" WATCH OUT for toys which require electricity..." we are told. Now we're getting silly. The man is obviously a Luddite and does not trust anything which functions on any scientific principle discovered in the last 300 years.

So what would WATCH's favourite toy be? Well, if you take every toy ever made and put into a pot. Then read through the WATCH OUT list, removing anything that could, possibly, maybe, on a bad day be construed as harmful, then you are left with nothing. A big empty pot of nothing.

Oh but wait, there IS something left. It's a little wooden ball. No moving parts, no electricity, no dangly bits, no hair, no nothing. No fun. But here comes EDWARD M. SWARTZ, kids and he's wielding an affidavit!

Your honour I hereby urge to you to sentence Mother Nature and the Laws of Physics, specifically gravity, to the maximum of extent of the law for this vile crime of allowing the wooden ball TM to fall on the plaintiff's head...

Case dismissed!

Tone

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