Curse You, Minions!
Do you remember the talking baby’s doll which supposedly was uttering the phrase “Islam is the light”? We used it in one of our Who’s That Noisy segment back in 2009. Or perhaps you might recall, a few years earlier, that there was a talking Elmo doll (from the children’s TV show Sesame Street) which supposedly uttered the phrase “Uh-oh, who wants to die?” Quite disturbing and unsettling, to say the least, if these were in fact the cases. However, these toys were not actually “saying” what people thought they were hearing.
These were examples of audio pareidolia. Audio pareidolia is hearing words in sound that are not actually there. This can occur by misinterpreting words that are being said, or by hearing words in random noise. The phenomenon is the same as with visual pareidolia, in that the brain is searching for a recognized pattern, finds the closest match, and then processes the incoming sensory information to enhance the apparent match.
The latest version of audio pareidolia emanating from a child’s toy comes to us courtesy of McDonald’s. They are promoting the new kids movie “Minions” by putting a Minion caveman doll in their trademarked “Happy Meal” for kids. Some customers are complaining because they believe the “talking” toy is uttering the words “What The Fuck”. The McDonalds corporation has responded to these claims:
“We’re aware of a very small number of customers who have been in touch regarding this toy, and we regret any confusion or offense to those who may have misinterpreted its sounds … The allegation that this toy is saying anything offensive or profane is not true.”
The company says the Minion Caveman toy emits three sounds – “para la bukay,” “hahaha” and “eh eh.” Even after being told this, it is still difficult to make out exactly what the Minion caveman doll is “saying”, so it is easy to see how a person on their own might interpret all sorts of words from the babble.
The best remedy is being aware of the phenomena of audio parediolia. Isn’t that right, Obama’s Elf?