The Etch-A-Sketch, that classic red-framed children’s drawing toy, first hit American stores in July 1960. We Brits had to wait until 1967 when it was finally launched in the U.K, so by the time it arrived I was already a teenager. However, I still recall witnessing my young brother’s expression as he ripped opened his birthday gift to discover this magical new ‘tablet.’
The Etch-A-Sketch is an icon of the sixties. Its appeal is also emblematic of that period in a child’s life when bad things can simply be magically erased – literally in one swipe. Remember when you grazed your knee and it felt better after Mum had kissed it? Or when the boogeyman, who you felt sure was hiding beneath your bed at night, would suddenly disappear after Dad’s reassurances? I thought that Etch-A-Sketch belonged solely to childhood. But I was wrong. Imagine the irreparable damage that is being done to generations of people when it is possible to revise historical and political facts in one seamless ‘swipe’.