About a year ago, a friend shared a link on Facebook to the Playmobil SWAT Team toy, expressing his amazement and disgust at the kind of toys that are being made available to his children. Get yours here:
I was so struck by the inappropriateness of this that I resolved to buy one, and have kept a vigilant eye on the price over the past year. As a cynical indulgence, Playmobil toys seem a tad expensive and, until now, I had resisted the temptation to buy any of them, simply because I had no real use for them other than the spiteful glee of looking into the ever-smiling faces of Playpeople equipped with automatic weapons, night-sights and attack-dogs.
There are a range of other highly questionable playsets by Playmobil, including a toxic waste cleanup team, riot police and a sexy female assassin.
A year passed and I still had no credible reason to spend hard cash on a children’s toy for myself, until the rhetoric after the 13/11 Paris attack and the anti-Corbyn “shoot-to-kill” propaganda.
For those of you outside the UK, we are currently being subjected to an all-out assault of right-wing propaganda from a universally corrupt mainstream media. And yes, that includes the once unimpeachable British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
I suppose Mars and Mercury must have aligned and, after once again browsing prices of Playmobil toys on Ebay, I chanced upon an “Ethnic Santa” for sale. Somehow, this connected all the dots for me, and I could see ethnic Santa being mistakenly gunned down by militarised police as was Jean Charles da Silva e de Menezes in 2005, the day after the 7/7 bombings in London.
Ethnic Santa does not look Brazilian, but then again Menezes did not look asian. Just threateningly foreign, I suppose, like every other person in London.
And there’s the rub.
In the United States, so far this year (as of 28/11/15) there have been more mass shootings than days of the year, and the police have killed three times more people than in the 13/11 Paris attack.
Security is a very complicated matter, but the US has shown us over and over again that more guns does not necessarily mean more safety, and that also applies to bombs in Syria.
Having conceived the idea, I convinced myself that I must have seen something like this before, and I knew various other satires have been made using Lego, but I couldn’t find anything initially. However, I eventually found Nikos Papadopoulos’s Plasticobilism via a Guardian article.
Papadopoulos’s work predates my idea and overlaps to a degree, but I decided that as I had had the idea independently, and my take on it is quite different, I would go ahead anyway. Rather like the Playmobil themes, there are three threads to this work: Police State, “Migrant” Crisis and Guerre Sans Frontières. Collect ’em all!
So here is my eagerly-awaited Christmas 2015 satire, an advent calendar celebrating xenophobia, the erosion of civil liberties, the militarization of the police and the proliferation of war for profit.
Small print: This work is not supported, endorsed or approved by geobra Brandstätter Stiftung & Co.KG (Playmobil).