Cheap speaking toys say what reporters tell people to hear

The sound chips used in toys turn recorded voices into incomprehensible babble. It's the result of making them as cheaply as possible, and it sometimes gets manufacturers in trouble. Why? Because people love to be upset and angry: combine paranoia and pattern recognition, and you get wonders like people believing a Fisher Price doll really is saying "Islam is the light."

This is, to Fox News, "spouting hate." Usually, however, people think these things are just talkin' trash.

Someone should make a fluffy Zeus head doll that says "Wise fwom your gwave!"

Fisher-Price Doll Reprogrammed by Al-Qaeda [Gizmodo]

Published by Rob Beschizza

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  1. Wow.
    They’re basically saying that proclaiming faith to Islam is the same as spouting hate are one and the same thing, and they wonder why some Muslims hate ’em?

  2. I had the experience watching this video. I watched it BEFORE I read the accompanying post. I heard the sounds the doll made when the clip began, but it was gibberish.
    After the mom said it (Islam is the light), it was the only thing I could hear it say. The brain is a fun and wacky toy, huh?

  3. I don’t have the tools to do it here at work, but I’d be interested in slowing that down and trying to figure out if there’s something else innocuous that it’s really saying. There have been other talking toys accused of saing some crazy stuff, and it usually turned out that it was something innocent that just happened to sound like something else.

    And yeah, I agree that calling it “hate” is very strong. Even if someone intentionally reprogrammed the dolls at the factory, is it really any worse than having someone driving around with a “Jesus is the way” bumper sticker?

  4. Yes, “Hate” is the wrong word… and yes… it’s equally as offensive as a “Jesus is the way” bumper sticker…

  5. Well maybe it IS the light, who are we to say?

    It would be funny if we’ve been praying to the wrong gods and wind up burning for it. I just retain a sense of apathy about the whole thing so I don’t pick wrong.

  6. Yes, well, for instance, I was pretty sure that the “Kota the Triceratops” toy commercial song (below on boingboing) said,

    “…you can even sit on top,
    bounce until you bleed…”

    which I surely hope is not what the song really says.

    R.E.M. made a whole early career out of the audio-pareidolia Rorschach-test with your ears thing.

  7. The mom’s solution is that she’ll just shake things before she buys them? What would that do? (so confused…)

  8. I think that it’s saying “Judas Priest won this lawsuit years and years ago, why are we even having this convo?” But that could just be the pareidolia talking.

  9. Wow… how slimy can Fox News get? Beyond the fact that it is in no way saying anything about Islam, since when is proclaiming that one’s religion is “the light” hate speech? By the transitive property of self-delusional metaphysical scams, that would mean that Christian hymns and Buddhist chants are also hate speech. FN needs to apologize on-air and possibly make a donation to some Islamic humanitarian charity.

    Even if “Islam is the light” is what it says, it could be described as subversive, although I expect that may carry negative connotations. Perhaps inappropriate evangelism?

    I can’t tell what the doll actually says, and I agree that FN’s take is just a steaming pile of suggestion chock full of chunks of pandering and baiting.

    On that note, mightn’t this sort of thing (suggestiveness in unclear audio) qualify as a dirt-simple type of hypnosis? It seems like the same auditory phenomenon as the in the “play songs backwards to hear encoded messages” hoax (except the rare instances where some bands have done reverse masking on purpose as a joke) Anyone know of any good papers/articles on that?

  10. Ever listen to Stairway to Heaven backwards? LZ singss about Satan. Or maybe its just random shit.

    Geez, get a life. Of course, this I would fully expect from Fox News, I’m a TV news reporter/producer myself and I cringe everytime I hear one of their reports, especially when their opinions=facts.

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