Dr. Jim Taylor is a father, and he’s seen the worst this Christmas season, while trying to buy toys for his daughters. When he’s not finding a toy that gives his daughters a terrible self-image, he’s finding toys that practically play themselves.

His conclusion: that either kids can’t entertain themselves anymore, parents are pathetic, parents lost faith in their kids, or we’re just hitting the “end of civilization” where toy companies have done their research and these are the toys we want and need.

All of you dads out there have felt the same way – you want to give your kid something “normal” like art supplies and puzzles, but somehow you’ve done that all year as non-gifts, and now the Christmas holiday somehow tricks you into getting a “better” present – which generally just means more expensive and loud. It’s like giving your kid an education or imagination isn’t a gift anymore.

For bonus points, read the outrage in the comments section of Taylor’s article, which include gems like this:

“If a girl gets a Barbie with a Hooters shirt, will she work at Hooters when she is older? If a girl is given a stripper pole, will she become a stripper? Children are not formed by these mere toys. Kids are smarter and can form judgments on what is right and what is wrong. I honestly don’t think mere toys will determine who they ultimately become later in life.”

I, for one, agree with Taylor – toys are more and more electronic and dumb – despite our belief that we’re making smarter toys. I constantly lament that my son”s toys aren’t simple enough, or challenge him to really learn something. He almost won’t tolerate puzzles since he’s got other toys that light up. On the bright side, my wife and I make sure to talk things over constantly, and we are both on-board with finding “big” and “exciting” toys that are still non-electronic and somewhat-educational.