Claim: A Mattel talking doll uttered the phrases 'Islam is the light' and 'Satan is king.'
Example: [Collected the Internet, October 2008]
Fisher Price is offering a refund for these dolls, but has no intention of taking them all of the shelves. I will no longer buy any Fisher Price toys, which is very unfortunate because they have great toys.
I will visit every Wal-Mart in the Texas Panhandle to make sure that these dolls are taken off of the shelves.
This is absolutely unacceptable!
If you're near a Wal-Mart, Target or
Here's a link to the doll:
Origins: In October 2008 some parents of children who owned "Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle 'n Coo" dolls reported odd utterances made by those talking toys. They heard statements such as "Islam is the light" and "Satan is king" emanate from them, vocalizations regarded as sneaky attempts at indoctrination of impressionable children into belief systems not favored by their families.
What they heard wasn't what the dolls were saying.
"Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle 'n Coo" was one of a line of "Little Mommy Real Loving Baby" dolls manufactured by Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of toy giant Mattel, Inc. The doll's verbalizations set it apart from other offerings in that toy line: "Cuddle 'n Coo" was advertised as producing cooing, giggling, and babbling sounds rather than words, thereby imitating the
Mattel said in a press statement about the controversial doll that:
Because the original sound track is compressed into a file that can be played through an inexpensive toy speaker, actual sounds may be imprecise or distorted.
In 1982 similar problems plagued "Baby Darling," a doll manufactured in
As to why we misperceive sounds that are nonsensical or words uttered in foreign languages, we humans are pattern-seeking critters. Because we're not geared to handle blasts of random input on the basis of what they are, we instinctively shoehorn the chaos we encounter into forms that are familiar to us. That leads us to see rabbits and sailing ships in clouds and hear supernatural whisperings in the sounds made by waterfalls and strong winds. It also leads to our picking up disquieting or even frightening messages from audio files embedded into children's toys and played through tinny speakers. Haphazard babblings are "heard" as strings of actual words, and sentences spoken in other tongues are "heard" as phonetic approximations in our own.
We "hear" what we expect to hear, which is words spoken in our mother language honed into meaningful sentences. Such instinctive behavior leads to perfectly innocuous talking dolls being regarded as imparting Satanic messages, especially when we've already been exposed to suggestive rumors telling us what we're supposed to be hearing.
However, that there isn't anything actually amiss with the "Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle and Coo" doll doesn't mean it's going to win over the public. The bottom line regarding such misunderstood toys is that it doesn't really matter what they are actually saying or why we mishear their verbalizations as something completely different than what's been programmed into them; it's what we perceive them to be saying. Few parents will happily keep a doll in the house that it hears as voicing "Kill mommy" or "Satan is king."
Barbara "baby talk" Mikkelson
Last updated: 3 April 2015
Friedman, Corey. "Does Baby's Babble Promote Islam?" Gaston Gazette. 14 October 2008. O'Horan, Kevin. "To Some, Elmo Sounds More Like Chuckie." Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 18 January 2006 (p. A1). Mattel, Inc. "Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo Dolls." 9 October 2008. Moore, Matthew. "Talking Fisher-Price Doll Accused of Promoting Islam." Telegraph.co.uk. 13 October 2008. United Press International. "Manufacturer Says 'Kill Mommy' Doll Really Expressing Love." 21 December1982.