I’ve figured out a way to debunk the idea that violence in the media can influence a child’s behavior. If it were true that kids imitated what they saw even just a little bit, our generation would be the most insanely violent group of people in the history of time: we had Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. Basically, these were cards targeted toward kids that featured the most disgustingly bloody and traumatizing pictures ever created. We all thought that they were pretty funny at the time, but if I ever saw a kid with one of these cards today, I’d grab it from their hands and burn it, and then wash out their eyes with bleach so that they may never remember the horrible thing which they have seen.
It’s kind of weird looking back at it, but I remember that in the 1st grade you’d hear kids on the playground say things like, “OK, I’ll trade you the Garbage Pail Kids card where the little boy gouges out his eyeballs with a butcher knife for the one where the girl is eating a baby’s skin.” Then they other kid would be like, “If you throw in Diarrhea Dan’s card, it’s a deal.” If you aren’t familiar with these cards, or have blocked them out of your memory, I have included links to some examples to prove that I’m not exaggerating:
Taped Tate The card manufacturers were concerned that kids weren’t having quite enough nightmares, so they decided to make this card about a kid pulling off his flesh with common household tape.
Boozin’ Bruce This card taught us that it was OK for kids to get drunk and wander the streets alone at night.
Tinsel Tim What better way to celebrate the joy of Christmas than to cut up a small baby and place him on your Christmas tree in a mangled mess of vomit-inducing terror?
Trick or Tricia Every Garbage Pail Kids card either dealt with blood, snot or vomit, or a clever combination of all three.
Yicchy Mickey All of the kids depicted in these cards had puns for their names. This one is a picture of the nastiest person in the history of the world, so it’s called “Yicchy Mickey.” See, the cards are funny and revolting!
These are just some of the more tamer cards they made; my basic human morals prevent me from showing most of the others. Still, the company who made this shit didn’t seem to care that small kids were buying the cards, and they even included sticks of gum from the early 1940’s as an added incentive. Additionally, these cards could also be used as stickers, and so kids would peel them off and stick them on their lunchboxes. The funniest part about all of this is that nobody seemed to care. I guess that’s the 80’s for you.