Is the hottest new toy actually just a metaphor for the collapse of society?
Initially brought into classrooms as stress relievers and a self-care therapy for children with ADHD and autism, fidget spinners have become the latest craze to sweep the globe, with people young and old hopping on the bandwagon.
Fidget Spinners, in case you’re not in the know, are small, round toys with ball bearings in them which you “spin” between your fingers, creating a pleasant sensation and point of focus.
However, commentators are now criticising the toy for encouraging individual play and selfishness.
Rebecca Mead at The New Yorker has called the fidget spinner the “embodiment” of Trump-era values.
“The fidget spinner, it could be argued, is the perfect toy for the age of Trump,” Mead wrote. “It enables and even encourages the setting of one’s own interests above everyone else’s”.
“It induces solipsism, selfishness, and outright rudeness. It encourages the abdication of thought, and promotes a proliferation of mindlessness, and it does so at a historical moment when the president has proved himself to be pathologically prone to distraction and incapable of formulating a coherent idea.”
Mead isn’t the only one that believes fidget spinners are a negative influence on society. Ian Bogost of The Atlantic wrote an article about the selfishness of fidget spinners compared to the traditional spinning tops.
“Normally, a top is a toy requiring collaboration with the material world. It requires a substrate on which to spin, be it the hard earth of ancient Iraq or the molded-plastic IKEA table in a modern flat,” says Bogost. “Not so, the fidget spinner. It is a toy for the hand alone—for the individual. Ours is not an era characterised by collaboration between humans and earth – or Earth, for that matter.”
Both Mead’s and Bogost’s arguments of Trump-era values and liberation values seem tame when there are comparisons between the Fidget Spinner and the Swastika. Yes, there are people out there who believe that Fidget Spinners are the newest symbol of white supremacy.
While most Fidget Spinners are a circular shape, some, like the picture above, do share a slight resemblance to the swastika, if you look hard enough.
It seems nothing these days can be said or created without causing offence.