In loco parentis
April 9, 2015
A portent that we're nearing End Times, last month toymaker Mattel announced they would debut "Hello Barbie" in time for Christmas this year. Hello Barbie is Wi-Fi enabled and uses speech recognition to chat back and forth with your kids.
A microphone carries the conversation to cloud-based processors that learn things about your children by carrying on seamless and realistic conversations with them. This lets Barbie fashion personalized messages to your child about all the things they simply must have to be popular.
Talking to Barbie dolls should not be a creepy concept, according to Mattel. Suppose you have a child named Muffy, sitting quietly in her bedroom when a little red Corvette zips out from under her bed.
"Hi Muffy," says the driver, "I'm Barbie's cousin, Alan. How nice to meet you. This is my date, Midge, Barbie's best friend. We're heading up the Pacific Coast Highway toward the fabulous Costa Mucho Resort in Malibu to celebrate Barbie's forty-ninth, 17th birthday party. This dreamy Corvette I'm driving is available at toy stores everywhere for only $89.99. Isn't it a sweet ride? Gosh, it'll be a swell party, the place will be loaded with swinging kids just like us, isn't that right, Midge?"
"It sure is, Alan. Barbie's dad, George, hired the Goo Goo Dolls to play for the party. We had such fun last year when Barbie got wasted and drove her mom's brand new $89 Beemer from KB Toys into the pool. I hope are Kira and Nia are coming and . . . uh-oh, bad thought! What happens if Ken shows up blotto again? Remember two years ago?"
"Wow, Midge, that's right! That was the night Ken and Barbie broke up. We were at Barbie's terrific summer house, only $129.99 at Target, and everybody was twisting by the pool, an excellent companion piece for only $39.99 exclusively at Walmart. What happened that night?"
"It was awful! Barbie and I went out on the balcony for some girl talk and there was Ken and Tara Lynn busily engaged right below us in the bushes. Barbie shrieked and they quickly disengaged. Ken claimed later that they were looking for one of Tara's contacts. But with just one look at the lipstick on his collar, Barbie clocked him with her rhinestone-studded clutch, a new spring item from Hasbro for only $29.99.
"Totally in tears, Barbie stormed off in her pink Volkswagen pedal car, on sale at Toys-R-Us for $139.99, and after that we didn't hear from her for months. Turns out she'd gone down to Ensenada and hooked up with Blaine, that Aussie Boogie Boarder, a great action-figure that bends at the waist and knees for only $ 79.99."
"Right-o, Alan, Blaine's a hunk! Last year at Barbie's 17th birthday bash, Ken was all drunk and boo-hooing about losing Barbie, so I grabbed him by the ears and shouted, 'Earth to Ken, it's over! You two have been together for 49 years but Barbie just turned 17 again and she's with Blaine now. He's a real man, with painted abs and nylon hair. Plus, he's a quarter inch taller than you with a lot more accessories! So grow up, loser!'"
"See how much fun we teenagers have Muffy? Don't forget to ask mommy a thousand times today for her credit card so you can have fun, just like us!"