back to article Hasbro unleashes 'Spastic' Transformer

Kiddies toy outfit Hasbro has pulled off a bit of a branding blinder with the release of its "Spastic with Stunticons" Transformer, which apparently forms part of its Power Core Combiners 2011 Wave 2 range. The Spastic Transformer Transformer fan site Seibertron.com contacted Hasbro when it discovered that the word spastic …

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  1. Gordon Pryra

    70's Artwork?

    Is it just me or does anything that comes out of the states look like its come from the 1970's? (Or Germany)

    Maybe its just the filter on the camera used...

    Anyway, I want one!!

  2. Lottie

    I can just see

    Megatron ordering him to go lick the autobots windows TO DEAAATH!

  3. Michael Habel Silver badge
    FAIL

    Wait wat?

    There are times I really hate this Politically Correct Bullexcrement!

    Yeah I know that Spastic ~could~ be a derogatory term in certain contexts but, I fail to see it here.

    I suppose "Fluffy Furry Kitten" would be a more acceptable name for this Character then?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Wait wat?

      Erm...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Really

      You want to call a transformer "Furry Pussy?"

    3. Nipsirc

      If you fail to see it here...

      I'm hazarding a guess you are in the good ol' US of A. Spastic is seen as a derogatory term in certain contexts - such as the UK...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      RE: Wait wat?

      This is not political correctness gone mad.

      Spastic became a particular derogatory term in UK schools a few years back, to the point that the Spastic society charity renamed themselves "Scope".

      Can you see Hasbro marketing the Transformer RETARD, or "Short bus edition" in the US?

      1. johnnytruant

        while I no longer hang out in playgrounds

        I hear that the choice of insult among the young'uns these days isn't "spastic", but now "scoper"

        Rebrand success!

        1. ravenviz
          Alert

          Re: while I no longer hang out in playgrounds

          ...or Scopey...

      2. HaplessPoet
        Megaphone

        RE: RE: Wait Wat?

        That sadly reminded me of hearing some schoolkids a few years ago, shouting "Scopey" across the playground.......

        plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose......

      3. MeRp

        Er, yes

        In the US, at least where I am, spastic is equivalently offensive to retard, merely derogatory terms for different conditions. Really, I suspect this would be seen as offensive here as well.

        Personally I would neither be offended by this nor a transformer named Retard, or the dastardly Short Bus decepticon. But my skin is not so thin.

        1. DZ-Jay

          Re: Er, yes

          Oh, I so want to see a "Short Bus" Decepticon! I would purchase it!

          -dZ.

    5. Paul_Murphy

      More like cardiac

      Since spastic is a medical term.

      Neither is a term that I would associate with transformers.

      ttfn

    6. Steve Roper

      Euphemism Treadmill

      Political correctness does nothing to stop the prejudices prevalent in society despite the nanny brigade's best efforts to eliminate them. As one word becomes offensive and is replaced with a new PC term, the PC term itself becomes offensive after a while and the nanny brigade have to endlessly come up with new ones. Spastic -> Scoper being a notable example, as mentioned here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphemism#Words_describing_disability.2Fhandicap

  4. The Metal Cod

    It's true

    That "spastic", "spazz" and variants thereof aren't seen as being as offensive in the US as here. Witness the outcry here over the Colours In Motion wheelchair model called the Spazz. In the US there's no big deal over it. The Spazz-G is the next version up but has the unfortunate blurb "Have you been dreaming of that unique custom wheelchair that would not cost you an arm and a leg?"

    That said, this would surely raise a laugh from some of my less politically correct friends and be a good choice of Christmas gift for them.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Foot-in-mouth disease!!

      "Have you been dreaming of that unique custom wheelchair that would not cost you an arm and a leg?"

      Reality is stranger than fiction.

      Maybe some add-exec thought it that ANY publicity is good publicity.

  5. David Lawrence
    Coat

    I guess they.....

    ...disabled that option then.

    That's mine over there, next to the corn and cheese.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Not available in UK

    Quite right, the correct term in the UK has been scope-y for many years now.

  7. 20legend

    sounds...

    ....Timmy-tastic!!!

  8. There's a bee in my bot net

    I can't wait for...

    them to release the 'Joey'...

    This made me laugh, but I still don't understand why they called it Spastic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Joey'

      I shouldn't laugh, but I can't help myself. Takes me back to childhood.

  9. Zingaiya

    This sums it up quite well.

    http://www.shortpacked.com/2010/comic/book-12/05-neww-2010-comics/spastic/

  10. Neil 7
    WTF?

    Level: 3, Intermediate

    "Level: 3, Intermediate"

    WTF? It's a plastic model toy!!

  11. Eponymous Cowherd
    Joke

    Next up....

    Wankatron with Kleenex...........

  12. blackworx
    WTF?

    Buffy

    Me and my partner* have been working our way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer from start to finish and what I find odd is that whenever the word "spaz" comes up (which it does, once or twice) it does seem to be in connection with physical disability/malcoordination. So it obviously /means/ the same thing, but it's not seen as offensive? I am confused.

    * It would be really witty and clever to reply with some sort of masturbatory implication here. I'm handing it (hur hur) to you on a silver platter.

    1. ravenviz
      Troll

      Re: Buffy

      It's the usual prejudicial stereotyping of groups, not all people called Spazzes suffer from spasticity, but may be disabled otherwise. Group stereotyping is only natural by the way, shunning "other types" or those genetically non-viable to the point of procreation is part of the process of evolution. In the meantime however us homo sapiens apparently evolved intelligence, introspection and empathy so I'd be surprised if such prejudice was commonplace these days.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      My understanding of "spaz"

      ...growing up in the states is that it's a term somewhat commonly used to describe a person who is acting erratic and/or hyper. IIRC, I have heard the term very rarely whispered to describe a handicapped person exhibiting spasms (but not really the disabled in general, which as I understand is the pejorative usage in the UK), so the usage and connotation in the UK isn't *completely* foreign but maybe I could sum up the difference as such:

      In the states, the use of the word spaz is not considered offensive provided: 1.) you are describing a non-handicapped person and, 2.) that you are not in the presence of a handicapped person that would be properly/medically described as spastic/exhibiting-spasms.

      Mind you... I'm not saying any of that is right or wrong in a moral/ethical sense, just describing the usage I've seen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Yes

        Here in BC, Canada, I regularly hear the phrase "spazzing out" indicating aforementioned erratic or unpredictable behaviour involving violent motion or just generally getting miffed off.

        I think the origin is the same as in the UK playground of my childhood, but they don't think of it as offensive, merely a simile to describe the behaviour.

  13. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Happy

    Hmmm...

    Whenever I hear the word 'spastic' or 'spazz', I always think of The Young Ones. No not Cliff and Hank!

    Viv : I can't get in the fridge!

    Rik : Why? What are you, a spazzy?

    Viv : No there just happens to be an atom bomb in front of the door!

  14. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Joke

    Sir

    They missed a trick, they should have called it a SPASTICON! instead.

    Is the robot in question actually disabled? If it gets upset by the name I doubt it would use the courts to sort this out.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Joey Deacon

    would be turning in his grave.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Joey Deacon

      I heard some teenagers refer to someone as a Joey for the original reasons but no doubt they haven't a clue why. Big respect to Blue Peter for bringing these issues to the young of the 70's, I don't know if disability issues are addressed on today's kids' TV, but I suspect it's much more inclusive in the mode of Kid-A is in a wheelchair but we don't notice. Didn't McDonald's or some fast-food chain a few years back have a kids meal featuring a larger than representative disabled contingent?

      1. sinisterpictures
        Unhappy

        Nnnnnnnnnn

        That thing people do where they push the tongue into the bit below the bottom lip and go "nnnnnnn" also comes from poor old Joey Deacon too, though I doubt many know that either.

        I still feel bad he lost a shoe in the Thames, I hope the Blue Peter production team got him a new pair.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Joey!

    Come on, did no one watch Blue Peter as a kid?

  17. taxman
    Troll

    Itsp(l)astic

    Perhaps showing an age thing here but the original 'toys' were mostly all metal and were really cleverly put together. This modern plastic stuff is simply not the same - hence the title perhaps?

    The Decepticon planes were simply ace!

  18. Alastair McFarlane
    Alert

    Mario Party

    Mario Party did the same thing a couple years back, they called you "spastic" if you did badly in a particular game (or something like that), and there was outrage when the game was released here.

    1. Seanmon
      Flame

      Re: Joey

      Friend of mine referred to a mutual friend as "ya Joey" in the pub recently... beer sprayed everywhere.

      Yes, I am going to hell.

  19. andy gibson
    Happy

    Family Guy

    "No Meals on Wheels" episode, where Joe Swanson and his wheelchair buddies change into a Transformer.

  20. Your Retarded
    WTF?

    Spastic

    Does anyone actually know what they intend by the term? Why is it relevant to Transformers? Is the toy mentally disadvantaged or physically disabled in some way...?

  21. Ken MAC

    Whats an "ISTON" ?

    That is "ISTON" as in the gor blimey rhyming speak phase "StuntIcons". Whatever it is I bet they feel like one now...

    Years ago I remember the look of blank emptiness on the face of a US software guy; He just couldn't undersand that his reports didn't work because we Yerpeans used A4 paper and not Legal, which he'd hard coded in to the system.

  22. AlistairJ
    WTF?

    What happens?

    When you pull the arms and legs off, does it transform into a FLID?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Sir

      Conratz, first post in a very long while that *forced* me to laugh out loud, well done sir.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not entirely sure why

    but "Stunticon" sounds quite rude as well

    1. Cowardly Animosity

      Cunning stunticons

      is just brimming with it

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      Sir

      That's probably because in the back of your mind you have the old Evel Knievel joke about him having a cunning array stunts, as opposed to the all-girl track team.

      Sorry Miss B, I'll get my coat, oh - you've already thrown it out the door, thanks :)

    3. Alpha Tony

      But...

      WIll it be cunning?

    4. Naughtyhorse
      Coat

      ooooh errr.

      perhaps cunning stunticon would have been better

  24. Dave in the States
    Paris Hilton

    Spastic, Spazz, etc.

    I'm a Midwest boy and being called spastic or a "spazz" was never meant as a compliment. I'm as much confused as many others to why they associate spastic with a Transformer.

    Dazed and Confused (Paris appears that way as well)

    1. Ned Ludd
      Boffin

      Spazzing out!

      On the bald-ass Canadian prairie of the 1980s, a Spazz was a kid who was hyperactive or blathering nonsensically ("spazzing out")... I've always understood that "spastic" could be used to describe something that moves in a jerky, erratic fashion – which could make sense here.

    2. Petrea Mitchell
      FAIL

      Ditto

      Same out here on the West Coast. For those outside the US, it's not downright obscene here, but this is a pretty bad branding choice even in this country.

  25. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Lucky...

    That could have become a bit of a marketing disastercon

  26. Ned Ludd
    Thumb Up

    Wait just a minute...

    It looks like they've even gone so far as to trademark the word "spastic". I like that.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    midwest spazz attack

    Generally being called spazz was just a commentary on a particularly uncoordinated effort on someone's part as opposed to calling names at someone who was actually spastic (and that type of thing was kind of frowned on even back when i was young...in spite of how much fun kids made of each other).

    Maybe they should have just called it (after Paris) a spunkedicon.

  28. Noodle
    Terminator

    Eee when I were a lad..

    .. Transformers had proper names like "Grimlock", "Cyclonus" and "Shockwave". These modern Transformers are rubbish.. "Spastic"? Megatron must be turning in his grave..

    Terminator cos.. well it's all robots innit?

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