January 1st, 2014

Imperfect Polly

Today in the wee hours of the morning I saw an ad for this on TV (warning: autoplay video at the link). It is being marketed as the perfect pet—no upkeep and no bother, and yet reactive to your presence: a mechanical parakeet that moves its head and tail and sings its not-especially-mellifluous parakeet song when you look at it.

“Head & Tail Feathers Move Realistically!” “Sits on its Perch…Or Your Finger!” Has it come to this? Apparently.

Perfect Polly’s promoters might consider it flawless (or would certainly like you to think so), but Amazon customers who’ve ordered it seem to consider it a piece of bird excrement. It’s not the concept they have trouble with (after all, they liked it enough to have purchased it), it’s the execution. Apparently the bird is shoddily made and doesn’t quite work, and the its voice is very faint.

But for me the toy conjures up Hans Christian Anderson’s cautionary tale “The Nightingale”:

Then the artificial bird had to sing alone. It was just as great a success as the real one, and then it was so much prettier to look at; it glittered like bracelets and breast-pins.

It sang the same tune three and thirty times over, and yet it was not tired; people would willingly have heard it from the beginning again, but the emperor said that the real one must have a turn now-but where was it? No one had noticed that it had flown out of the open window, back to its own green woods.

That’s not the end of the story, of course.

nightingale

8 Responses to “Imperfect Polly”

  1. West Says:

    I saw the ads for this and was somewhat repelled by the images of people petting it and reacting to it as if it were an organism, rather than a mechanical contrivance. The device does not make it over the uncanny valley.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would buy it.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    You know it would give this whole post a touch of class to Yeats it up with:

    “But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
    Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
    To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
    Or set upon a golden bough to sing
    To lords and ladies of Byzantium
    Of what is past, or passing, or to come.”

    Much of a needed snazz me thinks.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    On a different topic, remember Horo vs Dana West?

    http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/american-betrayal-author-vs-horowitz/

    If you ever wonder why Republican politicians haven’t figured out who the real enemy is, you might want to consider that the intellectuals calling themselves Republicans are also not on our side either.

    Horo’s conditioning, much like Camille Paglia’s, was never completely removed. They never went into a de-conditioning center for Leftists.

  4. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I am in need of a gag gift for an upcoming grab bag and might have considered this if not for the awful reviews. Here’s the best comment on Amazon:

    I have to tell all of you right now that this bird has made a big good change in mine life. After church I want nothing more than to visit little Feefers. I consider this bird to be my cleanest best pleasure. Especially after had to put down the dog which was messy and eating puke all the time. It isn’t satanic like my Mr. potato head and it does not plot against me like the toaster where the dish rack. It states neatly into any orifice you choose. I have no longer in need of my wife,, Ha ha ha. She never did make me that happy much anyways Ha ha ha ha ha. Also very important point here so listen up. Feefers can’t leave me like a dog and I think that is something you should think about. Most important it alerts me of illuminati in basement is great. Last thing here before I close we are all asking for plastic kittens now am I right? So speak up to your local retailer Walmart Kmart target or any that tell them we want plastic kittens and we want them now!!

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    The dog eating puke? That’s an indication the dog has gone neurotically crazy because his human has “conditioned” him that way. Just a note.

  6. waltj Says:

    It sounds like the perfect gift for the obnoxious child of an obnoxious couple. Kind of like a toy drum or singing kiddie book.

  7. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Well, the satanic Mr. Potato Head and the conspiratorial toaster sound fairly crazy, too. ;-)

  8. Brad Says:

    That thing is weird, weird, weird, and so are the commercials.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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