Weird News Stories

9-11 Plush Toys: Too Soon?

posted by Chris Valentine

Johnny and Jenny Ryan came up with the idea of “Soft 9-11”.

Based on a drawing, it features those lovable playmates Northy and Southy!

911 Plush Toys - Northy and Southy

Ummm.. put it on your Christmas list?

BoingBoing describes this as “heartfelt”. But I’m not sure what the hell that means.

One commenter said:

Do you not see how anthropomorphizing the buildings humanizes the already-exploited tragedy? It helps people to deal with it. Stuffed animals exist for a reason. They’re a very useful tool for coping with tragedy and suffering that defy rational explanation.

Sure. That’s why there are Hitler dolls. (End Sarcasm.)

What? There Are?

Damn. Anyway, I still don’t see how making these toys helps kids (and adults) to “deal with it”. Two towers crashed down and 3,000 people died. Do you really need play toys to help you remember it?

Jenny Ryan:

These were made as a piece of art and are not for sale…unlike the 9/11 hair scrunchies you can find here. However several folks commenting on my husband’s blog and Flickr page have been begging us to make these to sell, which just underlines my whole point in making the dolls. Yes I think they are funny AND cute– and Johnny and I both have black, lowbrow senses of humor– but that doesn’t change the fact that these crafty-cutesy dolls are, I think, a not-too-far-off expansion of the ghoulish kind of capitalism that is already going on at Ground Zero.

This explanation, I can understand. As an indictment of capitalist exploitation, I can dig it.

Someone from the Hollywood Animation Archive stated:

It’s pretty clear what Johnny Ryan was thinking when he did the original sketch. He was creating exploitive kitsch for shock value.

My guess is that this hits closest to the mark. I also agree with this:

Nothing wrong with [shock value kitsch]. There is a long time honored tradition in creating that sort of thing. But I guess once people start reacting and wallpapering their own biases and justifications over the top of it (both ways, mind you!) what he intended doesn’t matter at all. If there is art here, it’s completely unintended, completely different for each viewer, and completely solipsist.


Apparently this idea first came from Nobody Likes Onions.

Witness the infamous video:

Rabid NLO fans are probably going off on Johnny right now. I only ask them to allow for the possibility that two people can have similar ideas, especially surrounding a major historical event.

-Bill G

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