Back in October we posted an article translated from the Dutch along with a video from a local FOX affiliate in the USA about the Fisher-Price Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle and Coo Doll, which is in the toy stores now for the
Christmas Winter Festival season.
It seems that there’s a bit of a problem with Cuddle and Coo — the cute li’l audio track in its tummy says, “Islam is the light”.
Whoops! What was Fisher-Price thinking of? The Malaysian market??
A grassroots campaign has been launched. It aims to force Mattel (the parent company of Fisher-Price) to withdraw the doll. Failing that, it wants to induce retailers to pull it from their shelves or at least attach a label with a content warning for potential buyers. The group is called MAMA (Moms Ask Mattel for Accountability), and they sent out this press release in an email yesterday:
Help Us Remove Mattel’s “Islam is the Light” Doll From Stores This Holiday Season
We’re writing to ask for your help with a local citizen’s campaign this December. Our goal is to convince stores to stop selling a Mattel talking doll that says “Islam is the light,” a way of inviting someone to join Islam — also know as “Da’wa.” We have started this campaign in Virginia and Maryland, and we need your help to take it nationwide.
The controversial toy is called the “Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle & Coo” doll, manufactured by Mattel-Fisher Price. We’ve put up a website to provide resources for parents to download an information packet to give to store managers. As parents, we’ve already started asking store managers to remove the dolls from the store shelves, or to put labels on the dolls stating “Notice: this doll says ‘Islam is the light,’ an invitation to your child to join Islam.”
THE “ISLAM IS THE LIGHT” DOLL IS STILL ON THE SHELVES
You may have heard about this controversy in the media. It received a lot of print and TV media attention in October and earlier in November. Yet — hard as it is to believe — most stores are still carrying the doll on their shelves for the holiday shopping season. The doll has no warning label letting parents know that it clearly says “Islam is the light.” In fact, we found one store in Virginia where the dolls had the audio disabled AND the front packaging panel (where the name is displayed) ripped off, which made it harder for parents to know that this was the controversial doll. A few newer dolls are being distributed without the sound file, but most still say “Islam is the light.”
Bottom line — parents are still buying the doll RIGHT NOW, taking it home, and may not realize what the doll says until Christmas morning when their child unwraps the package and the doll tells her that “Islam is the light.”
MATTEL DENIES EVERYTHING
You’d think Mattel would have recalled the doll after parents complained, after some retailers pulled it in response to parent complaints, and after about twenty Youtube videos went up spontaneously from parents and local TV news stations showing that the doll was really saying “Islam is the light.” But no. Mattel denies everything.
Mattel has flatly denied that the doll audio files say “Islam is the light,” and has stated that parents are hearing the phrase “Islam is the light” because of “power of suggestion.”
As a certified Islamophobe, I am by definition susceptible to the power of suggestion. However, my suggestion is that you listen to the audio from this doll, and make up your own mind about it.
The strange thing is that there are notable differences between Mattel’s official version of the audio as posted on their website, and MAMA’s own recording from a doll they purchased .The two are audibly quite different, and acoustic analysis confirms what the ear detects.
Scott Grayban analyzed the two recordings using “Audacity” software, and the waveforms for the two audio files appear significantly different.
I took Scott’s graphs and normalized them for comparison:
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As you can see, the left sides of both graphs — where the baby is laughing and making nonsense noises — are virtually identical. But on the right side (the shaded sections) the two are quite different. For whatever reason, the pattern of amplitude on that part of the Mattel version has been dampened. By a strange coincidence, that’s also where suggestible people hear “Islam is the light”.
If you listen to both of them, you’ll hear that the MAMA version, recorded from the company’s actual product, is much clearer.
It gets even more peculiar. Boycott Watch produced a slowed-down version, and Randall Rathbun followed up with a further slowed-down version (warning: large .wav file). Their conclusion is that the audio source was produced not by real baby, but by recording a woman’s voice, and then speeding it up to raise the pitch.
So what’s going on here? Are we being paranoid? You decide!
Listen to all the evidence at MAMA and see what you think. There’s much more about the Da’wa Doll at their website.
A story in their news section shows that at least one retailer has put a finger to the wind and made an informed business decision: Kmart Australia pulled the doll from its shelves.
Other coverage of Baby Da’wa:
Snopes says it’s false, basing their judgment mainly on the word of Mattel and a test using four people who listened to the audio. I’m still not convinced.
Uppity Woman covered the story on 11/26/2008.
Dan Riehl: Did Mattel get punked?
Atlas Shrugs: Mattel’s Islamic skulduggery!