THE SEVENTH NAY OF CHRISTMAS: FURBY

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: Because it was both a huggable furry whatchamacallit and a robot plaything which (supposedly) learned to progressively adopt the language of the people around it (originally, the dolls only speak their native tongue of Furbish). Furbies were the “must-have” toys of Christmas 1998 and ’99; nearly 16 million critters were sold.

WHY IT WAS BAD: Isn’t it obvious? What if a Furby happened to be hanging around an American secret agent? And what if that American secret agent was talking government secrets in front of the doll? And what if the doll learned those secrets and started repeating them? And what if another secret agent from a rival country of America’s stole that doll and learned those secrets! Sounds like the plot of a bad movie…but the National Security Agency – America’s biggest spy team – believed it was possible. That’s why they banned all Furbies from NSA headquarters in 1999. Only…Furbies don’t actually learn a new language. That’s just hype. In reality, they’re just dumb little dolls with a pre-programmed 100 word list that they slowly begin to use, giving the impression that they are learning to speak English. Hmm…maybe the dangerous part of this story is that America’s biggest spy agency, in charge of gathering intelligence on people, wasn’t intelligent enough to figure out how Furbies worked!

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