Measured Against Reality

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Violent Legos?

This is just great. It's an article about how bad LEGO is for "introducing" guns to their previously non-violent lineup, including a picture of a storm trooper with a rifle.

The problem is that LEGO sets have always had guns! I had tons of Legos when I was a kid, and one of the oldest sets (pirates) came with toy muskets and flintlock pistols. The "Space" themes have always had guns of some sort, although usually more far-out that rifle-like. The "underwater" set had spear-guns. The "castle" set (the oldest one I can remember) had swords, spears, pikes, and poleaxes. The "wild west" sets had revolvers, rifles, and even dynamite.

In short, I have absolutely no idea what these people are talking about. Legos haven't become "violent" because they've added some new, more modern, guns. When I played with them the entire idea was to have fights! If you weren't building giant bases and war-ships and armies, well then you weren't playing with them. And I entirely fail to see how a toy that can become whatever a person wants can be bad in any context (I say person because Legos are not simply a children's toy).

Lego fans and members of The Brickish Association, which bills itself as forum for adult fans of Lego, say there has been a clear shift in policy.

One senior figure in the association said the company had used semi-realistic guns in the past, for pirate sets and those for cowboys, but nothing like those seen in its Star Wars and Batman products.

"Lego's take on creating weaponry has changed over the years," he said.

"My understanding is that the philosophy of the founding fathers of the company was to be non-violent and not to include realistic guns.

"But as they have got more realistic sets and sets that are licensed with big films, there has been an acceptance of guns.

"I very much hope Lego is not being dragged along by a trend for more violent toys and games.

"The philosophy of the company is very family friendly, non-violent, play."

Huw Millington, who runs the Brickset website, said: "There has been a change in emphasis with more realistic-looking guns. It may be that the tie-up with Hollywood is to blame.

"Some people say the brand has gone downhill since it signed licensing deals with big films, but personally I don't agree."


I would love for these guys to explain to me how exactly making guns slightly more realistic makes the toys more violent. Does it really make a difference if it's the gun pictured in the article or a long black stick? As someone who rather recently used the long black sticks as missile launchers, I can tell you that it does not. The entire point of Legos is to engage your imagination, and the pieces will turn into weapons, whether they're realistic-looking or not.

And how exactly is a toy gun not "family friendly"? Last time I checked, little boys love guns. Who didn't have some kind of cowboy or police toy set growing up? Who didn't play "cops 'n' robbers" or some similar game? Who didn't have a fort in the backyard stockpiled with stick weaponry? Who didn't have squirt-gun wars? Why is it that all of a sudden anything that involves any kind of violence is bad?

And, of course, there's the obvious solution: DON'T BUY YOUR KIDS THE SETS WITH GUNS IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH GUNS. I could turn this into a tirade against idiotic parents who want other people to take responsibility for their children, but that's a subject for another day.

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11 Comments:

  • Really, there are just some people who are too stupid to be allowed to have children.

    By Blogger nullifidian, at 6:00 PM, May 12, 2007  

  • I don't understand why people have to find scapegoats for societal ills. I remember growing up with legos and having the pirates shoot each other and have sword fights. Somehow I've grown up without shooting anybody. Legos were never inherently about violence, they were about creativity. Why don't these people start fighting for better education for the children, instead fighting against one of their greatest toys.

    By Blogger Steve Ritter, at 9:41 PM, May 12, 2007  

  • guns are evil and anyone who plays with guns is evil. I hate violence, and whenever me kids even try to watch a tv show that has a gun in it I freak out and throw things at them because I don't want them to become evil. This story is especially disturbing because LEGO is socially responsible for creating moral kids. I don't want to walk into a store one day and see everyone hiding behind things or dead and then I talk to the shopkeeper and he's like "I'm sorry we don't have your cereal, but you sun came in with his gun and stole the cereal truck. Maybe you shouldn't have let your kids play with lego guns. And then I'd be like "it's playmobile's responsibility to stop this kind of thing"".

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    By Anonymous conscerned parent and space travler, at 11:38 PM, May 12, 2007  

  • The big problem is that they've never stocked CURRENT weaponry. Yes, they've had flintlocks and lasers, but nothing that resembles a weapon they may see in modern reality.

    Do some research first.

    By Blogger Mr. Black, at 12:08 AM, May 13, 2007  

  • Some good points which you complete destroy by calling it 'legos'. It's Lego. No s. Ever.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:03 AM, May 13, 2007  

  • When I was a boy, I played mock war with toy guns. I played with action figures (GI Joe, both eras), legos, etc. Yet, here I am pushing 40 and I am a productive member of society. I teach math at a behavioral treatment facility. Things like LEGOS and imaginary battles (remember army men?) breed creativity.

    I do take issue with the non creative, non problem solving, violent games that kids can play where using your mind is not the object. They punch in a cheat code and kill away. That is disturbing.

    Does it mean those games have no place in a child's life? My parents thought so, but that's just it, my parents were involved. So be involved, make sure you know what your kids are playing. There are tons of video games, even ones with guns and violence, that utilize the brain in more than a mindless killing spree. Play the games yourself. Look them up on the internet. Get a clue.

    My parents both worked full time and still knew what I was doing almost all of the time. They were involved but not overbearing. They made sure I understood the difference between reality and fantasy. They didn't shelter me from the horrors of reality, but made sure I understood what the world could be and how I could change it.

    By Blogger buggs, at 5:16 AM, May 13, 2007  

  • While I agree that kids like to play some kind of violent games, I believe the level of violence and realism do matter. It seems to me that you are desensitized by the culture you live in.

    Where I live guns are not part of the culture. Grownups don't have guns. Guns are associated with crime.

    I had tons of Lego, as did most of my friends, and I never saw a Lego gun. We all had blocks, gears, motors, etc. No guns. We built houses, cities, cars, trains, airplanes, people, etc.

    The gun and violence laden culture of the USA is totally strange for most parts of the civilized world.

    My theory, developed after visiting the US a few times (so it is probably B.S.), is that people there don't realize how much violence and fear are part of their daily lifes. They simply don't know different. And so they consider it normal and Ok for kids to play with toy guns that look realistic and to kill virtual people online. Maybe being able to handle that level of violence is necessary to avoid getting crazy?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:00 AM, May 13, 2007  

  • You said, " Where I live guns are not part of the culture."

    Wow Where do you live... Fantasyland?

    Do you just stick your fingers in your ears and go la la la la no guns la la la

    There are no people who hunt for sport where you live?

    You say, "Grownups don't have guns. Guns are associated with crime."

    So no cops where you live carry guns?
    That is a truly scary thought.

    So when your cops have guns pulled on them do they just say, "Oops terrible sorry carry on..."

    What do your armed forces do? Slap people with fish?

    Oh I forgot in beautiful happy world land where you live NO violence EVER occurs.

    You then go on to say, "The gun and violence laden culture of the USA is totally strange for most parts of the civilized world."

    Yeah that is why when britain banned certain guns there was a huge influx of gunsmiths from britian.

    Oh wait, According to you that should have never happened because hey they have no violence in britain, so why would there be gunsmiths to begin with? Whatever would the civilized nonviolent culture of britain do with the guns the smiths created?

    and of course WWII never happened so nooo violence ever existed in germany.

    And france wow they are so totally non violent and non bloody. Why I heard the french revolution was accomplished by kindly asking the then current power to step down.

    Oh and lets not forget about the TOALLY at peace Ireland where The IRA never existed.

    Come on whom is fooling whom?

    Also from what you are saying ONLY, SOLELY guns imply violence. Swords guns, knives that is COMPLETELY NON VIOLENT.

    So stabbing someone with a knife TOTALLY non violent! I'll be sure to tell my cousin that next time some jag off tries to stab her. I'll let her know she can stop wearing her anti puncture vest while on patrol. Hey it doesn't involve a gun so it's not violent!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:09 AM, October 23, 2007  

  • the concerned parent is retarded. guns arent evil and the shows dont make your kid run around and kill people. when i read that comment i almost threw up from the smell of bull s***

    By Anonymous Tony, at 1:49 PM, November 06, 2007  

  • Guns are not evil no one who has a gun is evil if it wasnt for guns not anyone could protect them selfs you know if one of those teachers at virginia teck had a gun they could have stoped that gye and all those students who got shot and died would be alive today theres nohting wrong with guns its how people yous them. you know washington B.C. they banned guns and now they have one of the highest murder rates in the country! Guns arent the problem here!

    By Anonymous Guns arent evil poeple who yous them arent evil!, at 5:47 PM, November 08, 2007  

  • Violent legos? what are you talking about? I love legos!

    By Anonymous viagra facts, at 7:15 AM, September 08, 2011  

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