WEST GOSHEN, Pa.—Something called the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) wants you to know that Hello Barbie™ is the most sordid and contemptible toy ever sold this year. According to CCFC founder, Susan Linn, Hello Barbie™ is “creepy and creates a host of dangers for children and families.”
Wondering what could be so terrible about that, we arranged for Mattel to send us a Hello Barbie™ for an interview. After setting up a Hello Barbie™ ToyTalk account and connecting the doll, we sat down with Hello Barbie™ on a mild late-December afternoon.
Like most other Barbies, this one has shiny, cascading, big hair and a waist small enough to fuck with the body images of fat kids everywhere; but this interactive bonbon has a trick up her hoodie: using Wi-Fi, speech recognition, and more than eight thousand lines of recorded content, Hello Barbie™ can interact uniquely with each child—holding conversations, playing games, sharing stories, telling jokes. Push her belt buckle to start a conversation; release it to hear her respond. Just like Fraser Crane, Hello Barbie™ is listening, and she remembers each user’s likes and dislikes, providing everyone with a unique conversational experience. Some would say too unique.
Pug Bus: Let’s start with the lawsuit filed recently by two angry mothers.
Hello Barbie™: It happened in California. Now there’s a surprise, right? Some five-year-old took Hello Barbie™: to a stupid Barbie-themed birthday party. After the party the kid’s mother (Ashley Archer-Hayes, if you must know) realized that Hello Barbie™ had recorded not only her daughter’s annoying Valley Girl voice but also the voices of everyone else at the party, including Archer-Hayes’ husband, who was having an interesting conversation about “cucumbers” with a produce manager from Whole Foods.
PB: That’s funny.
HB™: The Archer-Hayes bitch didn’t think it was funny. Neither did the lady produce manager from Whole Foods, who was deep-throating a cucumber at the time.
PB: Both the CCFC and the lawsuit claim you’re vulnerable to hackers.
HB™: Da fuck they know about it? They’re scared shitless because Hello Barbie™ is interactive, so if some sleazy-fingered perv did hack into the Hello Barbie™ server, he could hijack Hello Barbie™ and ask questions like “Where do you live?” or “Is anybody home right now?” or “What are you wearing, little girl?”
PB: Do you think that’s very likely to happen?
HB™: Don’t know, but there’s other ways a kid can have fun with a Hello Barbie™. Slide one behind the sofa in the TV room when the baby sitter’s boyfriend comes over. Stash one under your patents’ bed. Or just talk dirty to Hello Barbie™. She doesn’t get her knickers in a twist the way Siri does if you ask her if she wants to fuck.
PB: Are you worried about the California lawsuit?
HB™: Nah. Hello Barbie’s™ had her tits in a wringer from the moment she was introduced at a toy show last February. A few weeks later more than 45,000 mommy-nannies had signed a petition asking Mattel not to release Hello Barbie™. When she did hit the market this fall, CCFC launched a campaign titled #HellnoBarbie to raise awareness about the dangers to children and their parents everywhere. Hey, it’s not my fault if some dude wants to promote a little strange at a kid’s birthday party. Besides, wait until these mommy-nannies see what’s up for next year.
HB™: Does Hello Barbie™ with a Web cam float your boat? How about a life-size inflatable model with a special vocabulary for grown ups?
PB: And a habit of referring to one’s self in the third person?
HB™: That’s just how Hello Barbie™ rolls.
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