"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
I was confused to find that a Huffington Post article about anatomically correct dolls used to teach sex ed to kindergartners in China came with the warning: “POTENTIALLY UNSETTLING PHOTOS BELOW.” My goodness! I wondered: What kind of sick lesson plan for 5-year-olds would require an all-caps warning for an adult audience? I had the same reaction a while back when I caught a CNN segment about similar dollies being used to teach little ones in Indonesia about the birds and the bees. It was preceded by the warning: “This report includes graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.”
The “unsettling” and “graphic” content? The dollies had genitals. Seriously, that was it. In both cases, children were being taught about the age-appropriate topics of basic human anatomy, where babies come from and healthy physical boundaries. I will admit that the images and video made my jaw drop — not out of horror but rather because they are so darned cute. Kids’ natural curiosity and wonderment is an awesome thing to behold — and it should come as something of a lesson, or at least a refreshing reminder, to adults. In that spirit of whimsy and giggly curiosity, we’ve collected images of sex ed toys from around the world — from Switzerland’s dismembered private part plushes to America’s infamous vulva puppet.