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Most Demented Toy of the Year ——— The Indiana Jones Electronic Whip (or why I miss toy guns)

Nothing like watching the kiddies smack each other in the face with a 3-foot-long “soft” rope and then listen to the classic “Raiders of the Lost Ark” theme as a reward. Would be even more fantastic if the whip handle also played other John Williams-composed hits.

The whip itself is soft — silky smooth like a feather. But if swung around like a lasso, with the handle as a weight, you recreate the subway vigilante scene in Charles Bronson’s “Death Wish.”

A couple of rolls of quarters hunkered down in a sock does wonders for thug deterrence.

But kids would never misuse a whip, would they? Especially with Hasbro’s cigarette-style product warning (guaranteed to be ignored). I’m betting this warning just gives the more rowdy kids ideas — broadens their sadistic role-playing horizons.

But the danger factor really isn’t the reason why the Indiana Jones Electronic Sound FX Whip earns my vote for Most Demented Toy of 2008 — with even seven months to go to the holidays. The reason is that a whip is one of the sickest weapons available. In real life, its purpose is to inflict as much suffering as possible. And the user has to enjoy — or least tolerate the torture.

With a nuclear weapon, you press a button and hit a target far away. Ditto for pulling the trigger on a gun. A whip only has three possible violent contexts:

1. To abuse animals.
2. To torture slaves or prisoners.
3. To enhance sado-masochistic sex.

Do yourself a favor: If your kid wants to pretend to be Indiana Jones, go out and buy him some old fashioned toy guns. At the risk of sounding like a Republican, six year olds and S & M just don’t mix.

Read more exclusive insights on the Most Demented Toy of the Year in my latest “Culture Schlock” column.

UPDATE: BURGER KING ALSO HAS A KIDS’ WHIP!

Oh, it’s true. My son Ari and I walked in to grab a Frozen Coke, quite frankly the only thing worth ordering there, and there it was — a poster advertising the “Indiana Jones Hip Whip” with the purchase of a BK Kids Meal

“The whole idea of a toy whip is crazy,” I told Ari, who fortunately shows no desire to own one (although he does gravitate toward all sorts of gumball machine crap).

“It’s even crazier when the toy doesn’t even do anything!” my son chimed in.

Exactly.

What is the point of this hard plastic mini-whip, besides wasting petroleum?

If I were to buy him a Burger King Kids Meal, and that will happen only if we are stranded at a highway rest stop and haven’t had food in 48 hours, I would much prefer that he play with the Indiana Jones Invisible Ink Journal.

Realizing I likely am in the minority when it comes to appreciating Indiana Jones merchandise, if you are a fan of this stuff, I highly recommend you read the musings of Eve and Dave, curators of the entertaining “Geeks of Doom” Web site.

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