Archie McPhee, a toy shop that attracts thousands of tourists in Seattle, has released yet another kitsch product – Vladimir Lenin lollipops. A box of candies made in the form of Lenin’s head costs $27.95. The slogan of the new product says: “I taste like cola!”
The official website of the company says next to a large image of the lollipop and a smaller image of the candy box: "Celebrate the fall of communism and show your support for obscure political irony by munching on these Vladimir Lenin Head Pops!"
Each Lenin candy box contains 24 individually wrapped lollipops.
This is not the first communism-themed product of the company. Archie McPhee also sells a set of Vladimir Lenin’s moustache and beard, which, as the company says, will “impress your comrades.”
Another product is available as a tin box of mint candies with the image of Vladimir Lenin and the sickle-and-hammer emblem on the lid. The slogan on the box says: "Revolutionize your breath just like Lenin and the Bolsheviks revolutionized Mother Russia!"
Archie McPhee is a Seattle based novelty dealer owned by Mark Pahlow. Begun in the 1970s in Los Angeles as the mail-order business "Accoutrements", in 1983 it opened a retail outlet dubbed "Archie McPhee" after Pahlow's wife's great-uncle.
The company's line expanded from rubber chickens to glow-in-the-dark aliens, bacon scented air freshener, and hula girl swizzle sticks. It became a popular Seattle tourist destination while maintaining enough counter-cultural credentials that Ben & Jerry's Wavy Gravy ice cream was introduced at a party on the premises in 1993.
Its kitsch appeal received further national attention from the "Librarian Action Figure". In 2002 Nancy Pearl told Pahlow over dinner that librarians like herself "perform miracles every day". Pearl later posed for a 13 cm hard plastic doll, and librarians from all around the world registered their dismay at its "amazing push-button shushing action!"
Pearl has gone on to author two books as well as an international tour and the release of a "delux" edition of her action figure and Archie McPhee has since featured in Scientific American's "Technology and Business" review and Time Magazine's fifty coolest websites of 2005.
The difference between the West and the two mighty allies in the East - Russia and China - is enormous. In fact, it is not a difference, but an outright contrast