Legos Atlanis, Praxis for Children, and the Ideology of Manifest Destiny

Recently, my niece turned the magical age of 5. As one of her birthday presents, she received a Typhoon Turbo Sub, a Lego set from the Atlantis line, and a rather cool looking piece of submarine machinery, at that; shiny, red, and sporting large propellers.

It also came with a anthropomorphic shark figure with a trident and a disk-like artifact. He didn't get any other technology than the trident.

I was promptly corrected when I said that maybe the guy in the Turbo Sub would help the shark-man protect his home. I was informed that both she and my 7-year-old nephew had seen the video, and that I was dead wrong.

For one thing, the shark creature is not a shark-man, but a "shark warrior," an appellation which drives it to be nothing more than an antagonist, and not even a formally militarized one, at that. I was told that humans had come to Atlantis, and that they were trying to steal the disk from the shark warriors, as it was a key to a fabled artifact that the humans wanted to take. The shark-warriors were trying to stop the humans from succeeding.

It struck me how we are still indoctrinating ourselves in the invade-and-conquer ideology, and at a very early age, as well. I suppose it's no great revelation that toys help to socialize and enculturate children, but it is interesting to see how deeply rooted in the practice of play our antagonism toward the indigenous runs.

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