Tomorrow, August 22nd 2015 the Mariners are doing a Robinson Cano Bobblehead giveaway to the first (I am not fact-checking) 20,000 fans in attendance. This will lead to a large weekend crowd, huge, early lines prior to gate openings and the kind of Mountain Dew-fueled, Xbox Achievement unlocking mindset befitting the younger generation surely bringing about the ruin of our world.
According to the website Bobbleheads.com the history of the bobblehead doll goes back 150 years to a reference in the short story The Overcoat by Nikoloi Gogol. The toy is described as "like the neck of plaster cats which wag their heads", which is a perfectly horrifying description of these quasi-toy micro-demons. The rampant popularity of bobbleheads has led to an gigantic and diverse collector community. Look at this sub-menu of bobblehead categories:
We are so far past the line of a reasonable cultural affection for bobbleheads that we have circled the earth and are in fact approaching the line all over again. Bobbleheads are awful and I have reasons to justify that opinion:
1) There is a good chance you have unwittingly attended a Safeco Field bobblehead night. You thought you were early, ready for happy hour in the Pen and a few beers. It had been a long week after all and you were ready to relax. However as you rounded the corner for the center field entrance you ran smack dab into eBay Bobblehead Man, who is practically sprinting from the field with the night's bobble spilling from every nook and cranny of his body. There has been and never will be a good understanding of how eBay Bobblehead Man managed to get his hands on so many of them but he's got them and he is in a rush to profit off of others need for small ceramic men.
This guy deprives children, the only members of humanity who can rightfully enjoy bobbleheads (although only briefly for moments I will touch on later), of the joy of being handed a toy purely for profit. He is a sinister, crass, online carnival barker profiting over others' weaknesses. He is bad.
2) Consider the very nature of what a bobblehead is. This is a doll, a toy almost as old as humanity itself, that someone with a very low opinion of children said "hey, what if we make the head move a little?" These are fragile, branded Beanie Babies for the modern age. Why not simply give away a statue? Why the bobble? If the very perfunctory attempt at creating a life-likeness were a meta-commentary on our own vapid, digital existence I could support it. But no, instead a bobblehead's very existence sprang from some 19th century dude giving the doll the equivalent of a "M&M's: Now with purple!" re-skinning.
3) Speaking of fragile, my wife and I have china tucked very carefully away in some impossible to reach cranny in our house. It was given to us by my late grandmother, and it meant a great deal to her, and thus it does to us. However I would in good conscience allow my children to play with that china before I would trust them with a bobblehead for 5 minutes. As a parent there are few worse things than the gap between how much joy a child experiences upon receiving a new plaything and the sadness they feel upon it breaking within 10 minutes.
A bobblehead doesn't last 10 minutes. It's lucky to make it past 5. Bobbleheads are dust mortared together with the tears of children. They will love them more than anything in the world and when they break you will be the one to reap the whirlwind, while that horrible bobble brokenly grins up at you from the floor, mocking your pain.
4) We live in a world increasingly aware of the finite nature of our resources. Yet bobbleheads manage to weave together waste in a dizzying number of ways. First there is the ceramics and paints used for the dolls themselves. Then, due to the aforementioned fragility they must be carefully placed in either a plastic mold or, even worse, styrofoam. There are oceans at stake and we are sacrificing them in the name of this:
5) Speaking of that picture many many many many bobbleheads are awful to look at. Consider:
Look, I am almost exclusively a live and let live kind of guy. I am very hesitant to express a preference I have as some sort of hard and fast life rule. But while there is certainly room for an authentic love of bobbleheads, just as some people can hate avocado or cherish Bruce Springstten, the love of a collectible is going to be manipulated and exploited by the most cynical aspects of our culture. Directly from Wikipedia, this sub-headline says it all:
Wake up, sheeple. Say no to bobbleheads.