It Doesn’t Walk Down Stairs, but it Sure Can Parent!

Who wants the best toy ever conceived?  Why everyone of course!  Imagine it now, your very own Slinky! Just joking, it’s myBALL: the dream toy of tomorrow. This bad boy does it all: plays roll and catch; give your kids someone to talk to; helps with indoctrinating racial prejudice and best of all, can be dressed up like your favourite financial institution. That’s myBALL, the toy that replaces any need for human contract for the kids and eliminates any point in having kids for the parents.

Shawn Rider’s myBALL is a perfect example of a satirical piece. It’s set up like an online advertisement for a high tech children’s toy. The set up for the webpage makes myBALL look almost real except maybe a little rough around the edges. Even as early as the opening description of myBALL it quickly becomes clear that it’s a satirical add. Quickly enough you realize the piece is a satirical knock at many of the toys and gadgets today that advertise some method of taking the parenting out of parenting. Claims of getting rid of the nuisance tasks like educating, disciplining and listening to your child are quite hilarious. “Love your child, but hate his idiot friends?” is the opening line to the section talking about types of different ethnic and religious educational packages. The testimonials are by far my favourite part “I love myBALL, and because of it, I love my Daddy more” and “myBALL has brought my son and I together in a new and exciting ways. Now, instead of listening to him drone on about what he learned at school and what his weiner-neck friends are doing, I just read the nightly update that myBALL downloads to my computer. Thanks!” The first four sections of the piece demonstrate a great satire, dry sarcasm and a nice little jab at some modern technology.

The fifth section “about us” is essentially the artist’s statement. The tone in this part has dropped the satire and picked up a frank stance about a major modern issue, well put by Rider “it is a satirical solution to what far too many individuals see as a problem – the time and effort involved in raising children.” Up to this point I’ve really enjoyed this short but funny piece. The first page of his statement, though dropping the satire remains an astute critique of the justification and acceptance of dumping children on technology to raise them. Page 2 and on of the “about us” section went a bit far past what I had expected from this piece.  Rider beings talking about Marxist ideals, the “capitalist hierarchy” and “cathode ray babysitters” (I’ll admit I quite like the one) regarding a message behind his piece. I was really taken off guard by the political ties made, but Rider otherwise made a quite enjoyable satirical shot the inclination of parents shirk their role on technology.

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