By C. Antonio Romero
SAN FRANCISCO, 7 DECEMBER 2007 This year's hot must-have toy first came to our attention from
the "Farce: Politics by other Means" department at Stupid.com: the "Larry
Craig Talking Action Figure".
Semi-custom action figure maker HeroBuilders.com has
delivered this twelve-inch testament to Connecticut Yankee manufacturing
prowess just in time for Christmas. A whirlwind of media attention,
including appearances on national news
, showcased a buff-bodied and bendable curiosity, sporting a custom
Craig-a-like plastic head and a tiny T-Shirt emblazoned with the senator's
implausible-deniability catch-phrase, "I AM NOT GAY". The doll can also
play a recording of the denial speech from an internal sound chip.
Inevitably, some, such as MSNBC's Keith
Olbermann, could not resist the temptation to reproduce the Senator's
Larry Craig Talking Action Figure with wide
stance and declaring that he is not gay.
HeroBuilders also features quite a number of other
action figures sporting mostly identical bodies, with head for any
pop-political posturing or occasion. Leftovers from political seaons past
include The Governator (template for the original buff bod, perhaps), Jacques "Le Worm"
Chirac (who, thankfully, does not croak like a frog), Saddam Hussein
(in innumerable variations), and, ironically, former New Jersey Governor Jim "I AM
A GAY AMERICAN" McGreevey
Villain Action Figure: Talking Jacque Chirac
Still relevant are Rudy "America's Mayor" Giuliani, Dick "You
Don't Know Dick" Cheney, and, alas, Osama bin Laden (oddly, lacking a
tagline or clever T-shirt) and Ayman "Number Two" Zawahiri. A chip inside
each figure records one or more signature sound-bites. Herobuilders can
also deliver on demand; for a fee they can make up any action figure you
like. From the neck down, they're mostly identical, but the head can be
custom-crafted based upon a few sample photographs and, optionally,
recorded snippets to be loaded into the speech chip. (Tellingly, they
promise only an 80% resemblance to the figure in the pictures-- enough to
be reminiscent of but not a faithful rending of the subject.)
Hillary Clinton Nut Cracker
The intellectual's obvious quip is about the
interchangeability and insubstantiality of today's political products,
both heroes and villains, who can be manufactured, loaded with dialogue to
spec, and trotted out on short notice for consumption in response to any
need. The typical stupid.com customer is probably still sniggering "Dude!
I am SO not gay, dude!" while lamenting that the toy is out of stock.
Perhaps stupid.com can stall impatient customers with the Hillary Clinton Nut
which is a bit more distinctive than the mass-produced , even if her
serrated thighs make male customers understandably anxious. Which one is
the typical Culturekiosque reader? We will think charitably of the reader
in this instance, and hope that the reader will do likewise of us.
C. Antonio Romero is the Nouveau editor of
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