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December 10, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Comment Diversions | December 10, 2007 |

From the Holiday 2007 Hammacher Schlemmer catalog:

The Marshmallow Shooter

This clever pump-action device shoots sweet, edible miniature marshmallows over 30’, and it even has an LED sight that projects a safe beam of red light to help locate a target for pinpoint accuracy. The easy-to-refill magazine holds 20 marshmallows for fast, nonstop action. $24.95

I can’t think of an object more emblematic of materialistic trifle than a cheap, plastic contraption that fires off rounds of artificially sweetened chemical air. In the context of the annual mass crap-exchange euphemistically known as The Holidays, the Marshmallow Shooter’s metaphorical implications are staggering.

It’s all around us this time of year: a confusion of products, shat out of some boardroom or suburban garage, that have “Buy Me, You Stupid Mark” etched into their undersides. These are the hollow products that maybe get taken out for a couple of spins the day they’re unwrapped, then rot in the basement until spring cleaning six years down the road — grist for the nearest landfill. Holiday catalogs like Hammacher Schlemmer are full of them; along with the Marshmallow Shooter, you can arm your loved ones with the Interactive Parrot (p.49), the Full-Bottle Wine Glass (p.78), or the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy Porcelain Musical Egg (p.91).

This Diversion (brought to you by our notoriously bitchy site — we can’t just turn it off) is devoted to kvetching about similar products: those absurd ephemera you’ve seen in shop windows, or (worse) that you’ve been gifted with in holidays past. Or maybe you’re still shaking your head over a gift that makes you wonder if the giver knew the first thing about you — those awkward mismatches that reveal your uncle’s lack of insight into the very basics of your character, and expose the wastefulness and the seamy underside of mandatory gifting. Let’s talk bullshit empty holiday gestures. You’re safe among friends here, so grinch it up good.

(If you get the cockle-fuzzies this time of year, this may not be the Diversion for you.)

The Marshmallow Shooter

An Afternoon Comment Diversion / Ranylt Richildis

Comment Diversions | December 10, 2007 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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