Slogans are not parenting
January 26, 2011

I’m in Toys R Us yesterday.  Woman and her kid, let’s say he’s seven, dawdle ahead of me.  "Oh, are these the action figures?"  The mother peeks as though there might be consequences.  "Let’s look here."

Not wanting to trail them through the collectors’ aisle, I swing round to Transformers/Star Wars.  Woman and child round at the far end and the kid sees something he wants.

"No.  You’re not getting that.  No guns."  Mom slips into a familiar declaration.  "We don’t have guns in OUR house."  

 They pass me as I rifle through the Deluxes.  "ExCUSE me," says Mom, pushing her cart past the 18 inches of air between her cart and my ass.  

They round the endcap, and their journey ends.  "Oh, there they are!"  Mom and kid cry at once.  "It’s…






Jason "JJJason" Chirevas
Jason Chirevas is a toy collector whether he likes it or not (and he often doesn't). This former Would've-Been Action Hero is as interested in the humanity, psychology, and psychosis of collecting as he is in the action figures themselves. Fun guy.
Read other articles by Jason "JJJason" Chirevas.





  • MisterPL says:

    I’m currently experiencing a logjam of comments. Please stand by.

  • The Penguin says:

    I’m not clear on your point here, Jason. But if this is supposed to be some kind of statement about guns, I think we can do without it. Especially in light of recent events. This website really isn’t the proper forum for editorials about parenting or guns.

  • Robiwan says:

    I think Jason’s point is that, though Iron Man does not have accessories shaped like traditional guns, he does, in fact solve his problems with violence. Guns are merely an external medium through which force is applied to make a villain comply with the heroes purpose of upholding the law, or at least justice. Iron Man uses a unibeam, repulsars, missiles, etc. to do the same thing that the banned characters do with guns so she is not really teaching her child anything except that some means of harming an individual are unacceptable as play whereas others are just fine. It seems somewhat arbitrary and silly. Did I crystalize your perspective correctly Jason?

    • Jason JJJason says:

      Robiwan wins the No-Prize.

      And, by that, I mean there’s no prize.

      But thank you very much indeed for getting the point perfectly.



  • Robiwan says:

    What did the winners of Marvel’s ‘No-prizes’ actually get anyway? I always wanted to know. Those seemed to be highly coveted items in the letter columns of the eighties but I never knew what they were.

    • Hourman says:

      The original Marvel No-Prize was … nothing! You got your name mentioned in a letter column. But people started writing in saying “you said I won a No-Prize bit I haven’t gotten it yet”, so they stared sending out envelopes emblazoned with classic early ’70s era artwork printed on the outside and bombastic graphics heralding your winning of the sacred Marvel No-Prize – and, of course, the envelope was empty – but you got the neat envelope. You can find images of examples online here and there.

  • MisterPL says:

    Last I knew, Iron Man – especially the film version – IS a gun. Forget about the woman’s stand on gun control. She’s clearly ignorant of the property when she finds Tony’s weapon-laden armor an acceptable substitute for a Nerf launcher or cap gun.

  • gl666 says:

    I believe this woman in your story is what’s known as an “intellectual moron”: she has chosen to be lazy and just followed the herd that “guns are bad” and never really stopped to think about the issue. On a more ironic note: I’d love to see what video games this kid has played. :/

  • Shellhead says:

    Any mom who buys Iron man toys for her kids is okay in my book.

  • Hagop says:

    I understood the point, but Jason did come off as having a bit of a chip on his shoulder. I wonder how would he have felt about the mother if, instead of Iron Man, what they ended up looking for was something like Care Bears or a Lego train set or something? That is, was it the seeming hypocracy that roiled Jason, or was it just the ‘no guns’ policy.

    This brief story, as related, makes this woman actually seem more involved in parenting her child than most parents I come across. Whether her choices are misguided or not, she is involved. I don’t think that’s something to write off too lightly.

    As for the supposed hypocracy…I absolutely see the point. However, I don’t think fantasy violence involving superheroes is 100% analagous to realistic gun toys. Personally, I don’t think I would have a problem with my child playing with realistic guns, but I do see the difference.

  • DanMan says:

    Thinking of the film version, Iron Man’s main weapons are repulsors which were developed as flight stabilizers and then used as non-lethal weapons. He’s also a weapons manufacturer seeking to turn his company toward more noble pursuits that don’t result in the deaths of Americans.

    They probably know Iron Man from the films, or the current cartoon in which case it’s even more about the non-lethal violence.

    Either way, fantasy play about repulsor weapons is very different from playing with realistic guys, so I don’t really think of this as an incongruous decision.

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