Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review August 22, 2000 / 21 Menachem-Av, 5760

Michelle Malkin

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Death Row Marv
mocks justice -- DEATH ROW MARV is sitting on my desk, strapped to an electric chair, staring at me. This "toy," marketed for kids ages 13 years old and up, came from a local comic book store. It's a half-foot-tall replica of a violent character created by surly graphic artist Frank Miller.

I feel sick just looking at this prison-gray chunk of plastic. And I haven't even installed the batteries. These are the times that make you long for the good old days of Cabbage Patch Kids and Betsy Wetsy dolls.

Death Row Marv can move his neck, shoulders, waist and wrists. He comes with "the chair, wired helmet, floorboards and electrocuting switch." For $23.95, you, too, can purchase the "deluxe box set" and share the cheap thrill of executing a murderer: "Feel the burn as the electric buzz fills the room and he starts to shake and convulse," an ad promotion for Death Row Marv beckons. "Experience the pain as the shaking continues and his eyes start to glow bright red. Enjoy the torment as he utters his famous last words, 'Is that the best you can do, you pansies?' "

American kids squeal with delight when they encounter Death Row Marv in toy stores. Todd McFarlane, an action figure entrepreneur based in Arizona, rolled out the macabre novelty item earlier this summer. According to one newspaper account, 65,000 Marv dolls have been produced and sold in the U.S. There are waiting lists across the country.

McFarlane says the toy is "cool." Lighten up, Marv fans tell their critics. I am not interested in seeing Marv toys or comic books banned by government, and of course it is parents' responsibility to monitor what their children buy and read. But have we grown so accustomed to bloodlust marketed as youthful entertainment that nothing is beyond the bounds of good taste?

The perfect toy?

The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children is one of the few groups that has objected to Death Row Marv. "Is this the type of toy we want our children playing with?," the group asked in a recent alert. "What will they come up with next - a rape doll, complete with bottles of 'blood'? How about an incest doll? Why isn't murder just as disgusting as these two examples?"

Death penalty supporters should be just as sickened by Marv as death penalty opponents. The power of the State to punish is both its greatest and worst power of all. Mockery of that power is mockery of the administration of justice – and it is all too common.

In suburban Maryland, there's an arcade ride called "The Original Shocker" that simulates the electric chair, down to the morbid detail of smoke rising from the top of the rider's head. In Texas, the state Department of Criminal Justice posts final meal requests on the Internet for readers' amusement: "2 double meat cheeseburgers (all the way with mayo and mustard), fries, fried chicken (well done), chocolate cake, onion rings, a pint of vanilla ice cream, and a six pack of Sprite," one entry on the voyeuristic site reads.

JWR columnist George Will notes that "(c)apital punishment, like the rest of the criminal justice system, is a government program, so skepticism is in order." So, also, is a sense of sobriety and self-restraint. The National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children has a simple request: "If you are as disgusted with McFarlane Toys as we are, and wish to let them know that murder is not entertainment, you can contact them at: Todd McFarlane Productions, P.O. Box 27228, Tempe, Arizona 85285-7228."

Help put market pressure on manufacturers to pull the plug on tasteless humor for profit. It's not soft on crime to be tough on those who treat the death penalty as a joke.

JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.


08/18/00: The party of Maxine Waters
08/14/00: "Make-A-Wish" shoots down dreams
08/10/00: Who will stop Bill Lann Lee?
08/07/00: Emily Dickinson's lesson for rude drivers
08/03/00: Leave the slogans behind
07/31/00: Hey, GM: Build cars, not quotas
07/28/00: Stop milking The Juice
07/24/00: Silencing Jeff Jacoby
07/21/00: Score another one for TV execs who want to keep us brain-dead
07/17/00: Can somebody say McStupid?
07/12/00: Beware of Ugly Building Syndrome
07/10/00: The miracle of a lead pencil
07/07/00: Partying on the people’s dime
06/29/00: When "Indians" exploit their own
06/23/00: Kids in a public school daze
06/21/00: Fed up with Fannie and Freddie
06/19/00: D.C.'s gag order for Christians
06/16/00: Dads, daughters, and PETA's spoilsports
06/13/00: Tune out Eminem's pitiful "poetry"
06/07/00: "Pained" Dem leader Torricelli deserves to feel some; Why hasn't he?
06/05/00: Tom Green's hidden health-care lesson
06/01/00: Farming out the pork
05/30/00: The perils of medical quackery
05/26/00: Awarding medals by race is a disgrace
05/22/00: Have Simon & Schuster execs lost their minds!?
05/17/00: Sports plebes vs. plutocrats
05/15/00: Whitewashing Red China's record
05/12/00: Our mothers' hands
05/08/00: Focus on the real Waco
05/05/00: An Internet victim's sad story
05/03/00: Phony pooh-bahs of journalism
05/01/00: Zoo tragedy triggers dumb reaction
04/24/00: Ecoterrorists on the loose
04/19/00: Beware of Elian's psychobabblers
04/17/00: The truth about Erin Brockovich
04/13/00: In defense of an armed citizenry
04/10/00: Playing hardball with taxpayers
04/06/00: Read W.'s lips: More new spending
04/04/00: The liberal media-in-training
03/31/00: Sticking it to the children
03/28/00: Declaring war on HOV lanes
03/22/00: Clinton and the Echo Boomers
03/17/00: Is Bush a Liddy Dole Republican?
03/13/00: Katie and the politics of disease
03/10/00: Maria H, Granny D, and the media Z's
03/07/00: Bubba Van Winkle wakes up
03/03/00: Double standard for day traders?
02/28/00: Sluts and nuts --- and our daughters
02/24/00: Zoning out religious freedom
02/15/00: The Baby Brain Boondoggle
02/10/00: Buddhist temple untouchables
02/08/00: CDC: Caught Devouring Cash
02/04/00: Hillary's poisoned poster child
02/01/00: Corporate welfare on ice
01/28/00: The silly sound of silence
01/26/00: The Old Media meltdown
01/20/00: The pied pipers of KidCare
01/18/00: Our imperious judiciary
01/14/00: Tune out Columbine chorus
01/12/00: Dying to be an American
01/10/00: Time for smokers' revolt?
12/30/99: Reading, writing, PlayStation?
12/27/99: Fight money-grubbing mallrats
12/23/99: Christmas for Cornilous Pixley
12/20/99: Who will help the Hmong?
12/16/99: Shame on corn-fed politicians
12/13/99: EPA vs. the American Dream
12/09/99: Look behind the Pokemon curtain
12/06/99: Amateur hour in Seattle
11/30/99: Stop the Ritalin racketeers
11/23/99: Welfare for a sports fatcat
11/19/99: Jeb Bush's political ploy of the week
11/16/99: Ben & Jerry serve up junk science
11/12/99: A monumental waste of our veterans' resources
11/10/99: Tax-and-spend schizophrenia
11/05/99: Spooky Guy Haunts the Capital
11/02/99: Mourning the loss of the last Liberty Tree
10/27/99: AOL goes AWOL on parents
10/22/99: The persecution of Harry Potter
10/20/99: Don't doctor the law
10/14/99: The trouble with kids today
10/12/99: Pro-animal, pro-abortion, anti-speech?
10/07/99: Beltway press corps needs more skunks
09/30/99: ESPN overlooks athlete of faith, grace, and guts
09/27/99: Personal freedom going up in smoke
09/15/99: Farewell, "Miss" America
09/10/99: Will George W. work for a color-blind America?
09/03/99: Feminization of gun debate drowns out sober analysis
08/27/99: America is abundant land of equal-opportunity insult
08/10/99: Protect the next generation from diversity do-goodism
08/04/99: Sweepstakes vs. state lottery: double standards on gambling
07/21/99: "True-life tales from the Thin Red Line" (or "Honor those who sacrificed their lives for peace")
07/21/99: Reading, 'Riting, and Raunchiness?
07/14/99: Journalists' group-think is not unity
06/30/99: July Fourth programming for the Springer generation
06/25/99: Speechless in Seattle
06/15/99: Making a biblical argument against federal death taxes

© 2000, Creators Syndicate