I have always hated that when tragedy strikes, there are always those people who point to violence and horror in movies and video games as the culprits instead of the mental health of the criminal or the ease in which he was able to obtain military-grade weapons. Unless the criminal seemed to be reenacting some scene or game level in real life, I don’t think the argument stands up.
But violence isn’t the only thing people believe mass media contributes to in the real world. Some people have gone out of their way to argue that mass media can be blamed for many of the evils in our world. Be warned, these people come from some of those less-visited corners of the Internet.
5. Super Mario will Get me Hooked on Drugs
My mother has long detested the red and white mushroom associated with Super Mario Bros., convinced it’s one of those kinds of shrooms. As I got older, the drug associations became more and more obvious. And I wondered if my mother was the only one who was a little hesitant about the Italian plumber.
Well, at Lance & Eskimo, you can find links to sites about all of Mario’s distasteful activities, including his connection to Soviet Russia. One of the sites deals with the drug references.
“…All of Mario’s power-ups are illegal drugs. The game encourages children to start with shrooms, and then move on to stronger drugs such as ‘fire-flowers.’ Some of the drugs can give Mario an extra chance to live, or make him feel invincible!” To which I say: Not all of Mario’s power-ups are illegal drugs. Some of them are animal pelts.
The site goes on to talk about all the trippy aspects of the Mushroom Kingdom—like the silly smiley faces that appear on almost everything. Then there’s the Super Mario Bros. 2 dream world and pill-popping Dr. Mario. I’ve read elsewhere that it goes much deeper. Apparently Super Mario Bros. 3 was just a stage play, and Super Mario 64 is a movie, showing that Mario is really desperate to relive the glory of a single adventure he went on back in Super Mario Bros.
To be honest, playing the Mario games has influenced me less to do drugs and more to stomp on turtles’ backs.
4. Pokémon is a Gateway to the Occult
And it will make me beat my pets.
Pokémon has been long criticized as being glorified dog fighting (maybe not in those exact words), and as being a more child-friendly link to the occult. After all, Magic: the Gathering didn’t really have too many cute monsters. But Pokémon does.
Cephas Ministries has a page about saving our children from Pokémon. The writer says, “Unless [Pokémon fans] know God and His warnings, they cannot understand the forces that have captivated children around the world. And if parents underestimate the psychological strategies behind its seductive mass marketing ploys, they are likely to dismiss the Pokémon craze as harmless fun and innocent fantasy. In reality, the problem is far more complex.”
More complex in that using a Gameshark to catch Mew is technically cheating, and “cheating is not honorable.” On top of that, the writer deplores the use of rocks to make creatures evolve, the strategy of catching one legendary bird in order to make it easier to catch the other two, and the innate violence of Pokémon battles.
The writer offers a multi-step strategy for rescuing your child from Pokémon. “Spark awareness in a young child with comments such as, ‘That monster looks mean!’ or ‘That creature reminds me of a dragon,’ along with, ‘Did you know that in the Bible, serpents and dragons always represent Satan and evil?’”
I can’t remember the last time Ekans or Dragonair tempted me to eat an apple.
But I’m going to demystify Pokémon for everyone who’s confused. Yes, it has a brilliant marketing scheme designed to attract children and get them to keep buying their products. It’s simple: It’s all about the money. It’s that simple.
3. Yu-Gi-Oh! is the Next Step towards Witchcraft
Here’s a real question from Yahoo! Answers: “Are Yu-Gi-Oh! cards demonic? I really need to know the truth because I love the game, but I also love my savior Jesus Christ. Serious answers, guys…please.”
I had a friend who never bought a single Yu-Gi-Oh! card in his life. He had them, but he never bought them. People would give him cards so that he could have his own makeshift deck until he could buy a starter deck or booster packs. Then he became convinced that they were evil, but instead of selling them (and collecting what he called “devil’s money”) or giving them away (he didn’t want to inflict this evil on others), he burned them all.
I think it’s the language that gets people. In Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are dragons, fairies, spellcasters, fiends, zombies, and spells. You summon monsters—they don’t like that word, “summon.” And many of the fiend-type monsters are fairly demonic-looking.
But, like Pokémon, it’s about enticing children in order to make money. Nobody is conjuring the devil or spilling goat’s blood on the playing field.
In fact, I know people who swear playing this card game improved their math skills with all of the adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing that went into calculating battle damage, field advantage, and equipment.
2. Harry Potter Makes Evil Look Innocent
Chick Publications has a problem with the effect the Harry Potter hype has had on children. They are appalled at the following quotes from children, only a sample of those found on their site.
“I want to go to wizard school and learn magic. I’d like to learn to use a wand to cast spells.” There’s nothing wrong with fantasizing about living in an imaginary world—especially one from a book.
“The books are very clever. I couldn’t put them down. When I was scared, I made myself believe that it was supposed to be funny so I wasn’t so scared.” So, the book was engaging enough that a child couldn’t put it down. I’m happy this kid was reading. And, you know, there are some scary parts in a lot of novels. Fear isn’t solely used by authors who write about the supernatural.
“I feel like I’m inside Harry’s world. If I went to wizard school, I’d study everything: spells, counterspells, and defense against the dark arts.” Again, the book captured the child just like a book should, sucking you into its world.
“I liked it when the bad guys killed the unicorn, and Voldemort drank its blood.” Okay, this one is kind of messed up. I would watch this kid when she becomes older.
This author at Chick Publications is obviously at odds with something greater than Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. S/he feels as though Christianity is suppressed in schools while Wicca is widely accessible. The icing on the cake was that on the Scholastic, Inc. website (the company that brought Harry Potter to the states), typing in “Harry Potter” turned up almost 268 matches while a search for “Jesus” yielded only 23. Well, if the Bible was rewritten into a young adult format and released beside a chain of highly collectible Bible-related action figures, maybe children would be more attracted to Christianity. Because that’s just what we need: religion marketed toward children. Though, I don’t know if children would be allowed to see it in theaters when they turned it into a movie series.
1. Twilight Corrupts with its Emotional Pornography
Bible.org actually criticizes Twilight in a way I haven’t heard yet.
“The Twilight series is touted as pro-abstinence and pro-chastity because the main characters don’t ‘go all the way’ before they get married. A lot of parents hear that and give a green light for their daughters to read the books and see the movies. But the Twilight books are a lust-filled series, so embedded with writing intended to arouse emotions, that it is legitimately considered emotional pornography.”
I had never even heard of emotional pornography before I read this article. And I’m going to do something I don’t think I’ve ever done before: defend Twilight.
If Stephenie Meyer—with all the criticism she’s faced because of poor writing or lackluster plot development—can write a book in such a way that it arouses emotions and catches the reader up into the story, then she has done her job as a writer. Books should arouse emotions. Maybe these aren’t the kinds of emotions people of all ages should be experiencing. But that’s what parents are for. They should actually read the books before passing them on to their young children. And even then some things slip through the cracks.
Just be grateful that they didn’t get a hold of any works by the Marquis de Sade. Google him.
I can’t wait until they produce the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.