~Pictures of a doll factory
Recently, Mashable.com posted an article that said, simply, “Try to look at these photos of doll factories without screaming.” We failed, miserably. But once we drank enough whiskey to deaden the soul to the point of indifference towards all but the most tragic of human sufferings (on a normal day we reach that point by about 4PM) we realized that these pictures looked kind of familiar. And sure enough, as we dug through the archives of our 1950’s horrible, sexist, no-good precursor, The Informative American, we saw that they had initially taken those photos, back in the 1950s! Clearly it was a bit of a surprise, and since we already got drunk to get ourselves over the whole “terrifying baby dolls being assembled” thing we figured we’d re-post our original article for our modern readers.
Before we delve in, as it’s been a while since we’ve posted one of our The Informative American brochures, back in the 1950s this country, and AFFotD, were…very different. The 1950s was a decade that raised an entire generation of people who could say, “Holy shit, I survived the 50s.” This was a time where cigarettes were considered prenatal vitamins, where popular toys were “actual guns and throwing knives that can kill you.” So, some of what you might read might be offensive or jarring to your modern eyes, to which we’d say you’ve been warned.
The Informative American Tours a Doll Factory (originally published April, 1956)
Greetings, America! We at The Informative American are pleased to be coming to you on location, having been granted full access to visit the Acme Lead Paint, Doll, and Nightmare Factory. The folks at Acme sure showed us a good time, and we learned a lot about good old American manufacturing techniques. Because manufacturing is one of America’s greatest industries, which could never, ever possibly leave. Come now, who would try to challenge us? Chinamen? Unlikely—the Chinese people are, as far as we’ve heard from rumors and speculation, a brittle people, with hollow bones, like birds, making them ill-suited for industrialization, or outdoor employment in areas that are prone to gusts of wind.
Fellow Americans, look to this picture above and tell us what strikes you as unusual. You might miss it at first. Sure, there’s a child laborer holding a hunk of wood, atop of which a massive dismembered doll’s head rests, all of this is fairly standard and to be expected at any factory that specializes in making plastic replicas of human heads. But yes, behind the horrifying three-foot tall wooden neck is a woman. A woman working in a factory! We thought, perhaps, it could be an ugly man in some sort of safety dress, but a few hand grabs and a received kick to the groin quickly informed us that this worker was, in fact, of the fairer sex, and that, no, she had no interest in any of our “pig ugly fuck” staff members. Severely revoked, and a bit worse for wear, we were soon ushered off into a room referred to as “Horrific Hall of Heads.”
While we fail to realize how the Horrible Hall of Heads got its colorful name, we did get to see Sammy and Melinda, two middle managers at the factory, go about examining hundreds of baby heads looking for any obvious defect, such as unwanted bumps, dents, missing eyes, or clear exposure to Thalidomide. Sammy, at 7 years of age, has been working every day, including Holidays, at Acme ever since his third birthday, while Melinda, age 6, only started last week, her laziness likely borne out of her Scottish ancestry. We were able to talk to these two, who say they only work 14 hour days, a clear sign of the crumbling of our society thanks to the Liberal Union Menace, and have a love that is forbidden by God and country, as Melinda is a Catholic and Sammy is white. All that they can do is whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears, like, “My fingers hurt” and “They forgot to feed us again today didn’t they?”
Baby doll heads are created much like a child’s head forms in the womb. Having never gone to any of our wives’ pregnancy checkups, we assume that the female uterus is a hellish maw of melted plastics that where child parts are separately and repeatedly dipped until they are assembled by hand. You know, like, by the doctor. With him…reaching…in? That probably is right. We would ask our wives, but that would break our record of 10 years of our only communication being the sound at the dinner table of soft weeping and utterances of, “Jesus Christ, Karen, give it a fucking rest, will ya?”
These, of course, are telephones. We were forced to leave the factory momentarily because Acme said that we could not smoke in the room we were in, because it was “filled with flammable fumes” and “one spark could decimate the entire city block” and “no, I’m deadly serious, I’ve never been more serious about anything in my life, stop trying to light up!” and “take that fucking cigarette outside before you kill us all!” So we were forced to go outside LIKE FUCKING ANIMALS to smoke our smooth, refreshing Winston brand cigarettes. And on the way back we accidentally stumbled into a different factory, which makes baby telephones, which of course are the most popular telephones in existence today. We asked the baby telephone company if we could tour there instead, because the damn Commies at Acme wouldn’t let us smoke, but then we saw a Mexican or one of those walk by with a mop, and we fled in terror.
This is not from the factory. This is just a picture of one of our writer’s stateroom. He says swinging, disembodied doll’s legs help him relax, as if he has to actually verbalize something everybody knows.
When we returned to Acme, our guide apologized profusely to us for the smoking snafu, and ensured us that the worker who refused us our cigarettes had been fired with extreme prejudice. His last two weeks of pay were docked, and his two younger brothers, aged 6 and 4, were also let go, and their mother would very likely have to sell her body to avoid destitution. We deemed that reasonable, but demanded that before we go forward, we be allowed to play tug-of-war with the skin of a baby’s head, an urge that we suspect everyone has on occasion.
When picking what eyes a doll has, Acme makes sure to run a lot of tests to ensure that the right ones are chosen. Blue eyes are better for blonde dolls, while brown eyes on brunette dolls work best as a gift to give your least favorite daughter. Some eyes are specifically designed for gingers—those are to be burned immediately. As a worker named Sally put in a pair of eyes, one of our writers thought it would be funny to say, in a high pitched voice, “Oh my God! I’m alive! What is this new world!?” Sally immediately began screaming and smashed the head until it burst into a dozen pieces, at which point she was promptly fired. We were told that, at the age of 11, she was just two weeks shy of retirement. Onward we went.
We do NOT fuck with clowns. We got out of this room as soon as we entered it.
The final leg of our tour saw the dolls being stress tested. Since the average child, as we’ve been told by our maid, play very roughly with dolls, the only way to ensure a doll can withstand a full play date is to line them up and run them over with a forklift, screaming, “TAKE THAT, SALLY! YOU’RE NEXT, EDITH! WHO’S EMOTIONALLY DISTANT NOW, ANNE?” That is the impression we got from watching this final process. We do not know why the forklift driver was crying, but we assume that was also part of the stress test.
All in all, the Acme Lead Paint, Doll, and Nightmare Factory is a solid American enterprise and a great place to send your child looking for work.