Prepare to have your jaw drop.
Folks in the nanny-state are busy selling yet another concept that will push the next generation closer to becoming a mass of uninspired robots who are not allowed to learn about competition or even the concept of competitive fun.
The target du jour for those who would crush all individualism? Piñatas.
The anti-pinata folks have a problem with piñatas because people are encouraged to hit them.
That was not a typo, there are people on this planet who believe that hitting pinatas will harm the youth of America. If you think I am kidding, read the title of an article posted on Yahoo.com's 'associated content' section.
PINATAS: A BAD IDEA FOR YOUR CHILD'S PARTY?
The author is Vanessa Bartlemus, a woman with degrees in Journalism and Psychology who is also the mother of a 2-yr-old daughter. Ms. Bartlemus' column makes the anti-pinata argument stating;
Piñatas are not a good idea for your child's party. Children should never hit anything with a stick. Even worse, kids can get piñatas in their favorite character too. Doesn't anyone slightly cringe at the thought of their child whacking Dora the Explorer or Elmo around with a baseball bat? What is that doing for a child's character? Getting a flower or car piñata is only slightly less worse.
(I know plenty of parents who have nightly fantasies about whacking both Dora and Elmo piñatas. But I digress, back to the anti-piñata argument.)
The article continues;
People carefully teach their children, from the first time they playfully hit as a baby, that hitting is wrong. They don't allow hitting in their family and they don't spank. But then children are allowed to hit piñatas to the breaking point. Then they get candy; they are rewarded for violent behavior!
Yes, yes, yes, breaking open a fake donkey or elephant or a fake star, filled with delicious treats is part of a GAME. It is fun and not part of a training program for future abusers. Anyone who has watched kids trying to break open a piñata probably remembers the laughter and fun, ending with a shower of candy.
Ms. Bartlemus does offer a suggestion to replace the typical piñata party game. She wants everyone to use a non-hitting piñata. The violence-free version has a string hanging from it. One child is chosen to pull the string and out comes the candy. No blindfolds, no spinning the child around and no more handing them a stick or a bat to watch them swing and miss.
And, in the overly-protected piñata world of Vanessa Bartlemus, there is also 'social candy justice.' She also advocates making certain that the candies are divided equally among all participants.
In other words, NO FUN. Hey kids, gather 'round, we're about to pull a string and then equally distribute all of the goodies inside to each and every one of you! Frankly I was surprised that the article did not advocate for veggie-filled, string-pull pinatas.
To be fair, there are piñatas with questionable images on them. In researching this story I did find a site called piñata.com that sells virtually every kind of piñata you might imagine, including a few that would raise some eyebrows. For example;
The people at piñatas.com have also licensed characters from Disney and Nickelodeon. Does anyone believe that the marketing geniuses at both of these multi-billion dollar companies would allow piñatas bearing images of their bread and butter characters to be made and sold if they were causing harm to little ones?
Earlier this week, Jon Seidl reported on NY state's attempt to micro-manage the games played at day camps. Thankfully, a media storm of criticism and attention seems to have brought some common sense to that situation.
Should the anti-piñata lobby gain any more strength, let us hope the media will again step up and fight for sanity. Banning the whacking of papier mâché figures with bats in order to gain access to tasty treats is just one more step towards building a next generation of emotional, walking time-bombs, filled with pent-up rage from years of being told that any expression of anger is bad.