THE TWELFTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: STUBBS THE ZOMBIE

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: Hey, everyone loves zombies – just look how many movies and TV shows feature the creatures. In this particular video game, the really cool part was that it turned the whole horror genre around by letting the player become the brain-munching monster, roaming the city, hunting humans. Stubbs was also one of the first horror games to use humor as part of the action – leading to what the game’s creator called “funny results.”

WHY IT WAS BAD: According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, Stubbs was encouraging cannibalism in kids! “It’s something we’ve never seen before,” NIMF told a crowd at their 2005 press conference to announce their annual “Games to Avoid” that year. Stubbs supposedly send “the worst kind of message to kids” and was “dangerous to your children’s health.” While the organization never had the power to actually ban a video game, for 15 years NIMF would post the list a few weeks before Christmas, hoping to scare parents away from purchasing them as gifts for their kids.Over a hundred video games made NIMF’s “Games to Avoid” over the years, some of which were super popular, including Doom, Grand Theft Auto and Halo. All these games mentioned so far were rated M for Mature. Which means they’re for 17-year-olds and not kids – so what exactly was NIMF so worked up about? By the way, the group dis-banned in 2009. Ho-Ho-Ho.

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And now that you know how dangerous toys can be…

 

HAVE A VERY WARY CHRISTMAS!

THE FOURTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: OREO FUN BARBIE

Bad For You’s special Christmas countdown of twelve of the weirdest, most outrageous, totally craziest bans, blocks, recalls and protests ever over toys. We’re not saying some of them aren’t earned, but do you think ALL of these toys are dangerous? 

WHY IT WAS FUN: When Nabisco and Mattel decided to combine forces the result was a tasty version of Barbie sporting head-to-toe gear inspired by the famous cookie (for instance, Barbie’s bag looked just like the black and white treat). Another reason the doll was fun: well, it had “fun” right there the title. And who doesn’t like an Oreo?

WHY IT WAS BAD: It depends how you use “Oreo”; the word can also be a derogatory way to describe someone of African-American descent (as in,“black on the outside and white on the inside”). Since Barbies are produced with different skin tones, the racially insensitive “cookies” crumbled not long after they debuted in 1997. 

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TRICKY TREATS

41Halloween has always been an edgy holiday – a kid-centric time of costumes and candy that got its start as ancient pagan rituals; though most of the darker aspects were sanitized out by the 1920s, when the holiday started to catch on in towns across America. Still, darkness lurked at the fringes of the family-friendly events: toilet papered trees, soaped windows and all those suger-crazed demons and ghosts. The edginess was part of what made the holiday so hauntingly fun! Mass produced costumes became available in the 1930s, further fueling Halloween’s popularity among kids. But later, mass produced hysteria over rumors of poisoned candy turned the holiday into the BAD FOR YOU experience many parents’ fear today.

It’s hard to know what launched the poison candy rumors, but the best guess is that it all began with the death of Timothy O’Bryan on Halloween night, 1974. Yes, the poor 8-year-old ate poisoned candy; candy, his father claimed, which came from some neighborhood psycho. Except the deadly treats actually came from the psycho daddy who had taken out a life insurance policy on Timmy to collect on after his son’s “mysterious” death. The father’s crime was discovered by police and he was later executed for murder. Dad might be dead, but the poison rumors live on.

Joel Best, a University of Delaware sociologist, has been trying nearly 30 years to find one single example of madmen poisoning kids with Halloween candy (or injuring them with the equally mythic razors-in-apples). So far, zero confirmed reports, at least for any cases outside the immediate family.

But that doesn’t keep communities and schools from continuing to treat Halloween like it’s dangerous – even when those dangers are unspecified. In early October, letters went out to parents of kids at Sporting Hill Elementary School in Pennsylvania, canceling costume-wearing to class because “safety is a top priority.”

In another case just outside of Philadelphia, Inglewood Elementary, the school feared a strange variation on the poisoned candy theme: “that some kids with peanut allergies might eat or come into contact with something peanut-based” and ended the traditional student Halloween parade. 

While the fear over Halloween impacts kids across the nation, it seems like all the recent stories come from Pennsylvania: on Tuesday, just two days ago, police seized 40 pounds of drug-laced candy, fearing the sweets “would find their way into the hands of children.” Except, as authorities admit, these drug-laced goodies were intended for sale to other students at the college where the confectionery was uncovered.

Seems like the kids-and-bad-candy scenario cannot be shaken. Certainly, not by reality. 

“BEEF STICKS AND OILY CORNBREAD”: SCHOOL LUNCHES ILLUMINATED

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One of the diagrams in BAD FOR YOU charts the differences – no, make that the similarities – between school lunches and meals served to inmates. Turns out that the food a prisoner and a student receive vary very little (well, the kid’s meal does cost a whole SIX cents more).

Now, the BAD FOR YOU boys have discovered a youth nonprofit website called DoSomething.org that offers pupils an opportunity to photograph their plate of unpleasantness and upload it to a section on the site called Fed Up. Fellow students can then vote on whether they would “Eat It” or “Toss It” (“Tossing It Up” is not an option – though it should be given the looks of some of the shots).

The purpose of the project isn’t just for laughs, but also to gather data and “create a ‘heat map’ of school lunches in the U.S.,” according to The Huffington Post. “Their goal is to raise awareness of the sad state of nutrition in public schools.”

Hey teens, teachers are always telling you how important it is be share. So this is a chance to share your cruddy meal with the rest of the world.

And speaking of sharing, here are a few more facts about high school lunches that we’ll include from The Huffington Post article:

• According to the USDA a typical school lunch far exceeds the recommended 500 milligrams of sodium; some districts, in fact, serve lunches with more than 1,000 milligrams.

• The USDA also reports that less than 1/3 of schools stay below the recommended standard for fat content in their meals.

• Last year 21 million students relied on free and reduced lunch as their primary meal of the day. Up to 65 percent of their daily calorie intake comes from school provided meals.

• Unbalanced nutrition leads to decreased performance in school, obesity, diabetes, and a whole slew of other health problems.

(Photo above actual lunch shot from Fed Up)

TEN-YEAR-OLD TURNS THE TABLES ON CRAPPY SCHOOL LUNCHES

This story is a few weeks old but too juicy (the opposite of over-cooked and dry) not to post. It seems that no one believed Zachary Maxwell when he pointed out a depressing difference between the  “delicious meals, full of whole grains and fresh vegetables, some even designed by celebrity chefs” on his lunchroom menu and what was actually showing up on his plate. So he snuck a video camera into school and gathered evidence.

“When I came back home and showed them the footage, they were like, ugh!”
The resulting film “Yuck: A 4th Grader’s Short Documentary About School Lunch” will be screened at the Manhattan Film Festival next month. Click here to read all the gruesome details. In the meantime, here’s a graphic from BAD FOR YOU showing how the average school lunch stacks up to what they serve in prison!
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