Friday, April 20, 2007

Parents, Beware!

First off, I can't take credit for digging this video out of the depths of time. It came from CrazySteve, by way of Nala (CrazySteve cites yet another source, but that's as far back as I'm going to go...).

Before I make any further comments, though, you need to see the clip.

OK, seen it now? Good. Now we continue with comments.

In case it's not already painfully obvious (which means you probably don't know me and/or haven't ever read my blog), I do not agree with the opinions stated in the video.

Now, for the sake of argument, let's say I was concerned about the "witchcraft" that shows up in the Voltron segment. Has anyone noticed that the "witchcraft" is being performed by the bad guys? Bad guys, by definition, do bad things! If folks are concerned that kids might emulate this behavior, we should just eliminate all villains from all fiction everywhere, lest a child decide that they'd rather be like the bad guy (not that I don't think that kids do like to emulate bad guys once in a while, but this is pretty flimsy reasoning for keeping these things out of our fiction).

No doubt these are the same folks who hate Mickey Mouse for doing the Sorcerer's Apprentice bit. At least there, Mickey is the "hero" of a piece. Ignore the morality lesson in that story (to spell it out for those who need it, beware of using shortcuts to do your chores), just make sure you're not watching the mouse do magic! And, of course, none of us need reminding of what such folks think about Harry Potter....

But it wasn't enough that the protectors-of-our-children (patent pending) condemn Voltron to the fiery furnace, they also set their sights on Transformers because of the level of violence in it, even to the point of killing (gasp!). To illustrate this point, they show us... not the infamous "death of Optimus Prime" clip from Transformers: The Movie, but a scene from War Dawn, a second season episode (making it possible that TF:TM hadn't yet been screened when this video was created. War Dawn came out about 8 months before TF:TM. However, you can ignore the 1984 date shown as the date by YouTube. War Dawn itself didn't appear until December of 1985!). Not only is the "evil" of this scene again perpetrated by the bad guy, but the two robots (not humans!) killed here are described as restored to life by the end of that episode itself! If these self appointed protectors-of-our-children wanted to make a fuss, they might at least have complained that this sequence trivializes death, making it look like a dead person can simply be restored to life with little difficulty, but they didn't even have that much imagination.

And I haven't even addressed the point that "real" killing was forbidden on US afternoon cartoons at the time (you ever notice how, even in the military-based GI Joe cartoon of the era, nothing more "alive" than a tree trunk ever got hit by all that laserfire?). How hard did the protectors-of-our-children have to dig to find this clip, that they could even claim represented death? I'm fairly confident that they wouldn't have found any "real" deaths in any other pre-movie episodes.

Even if I agreed with the concerns about witchcraft and violence in children's television to the same extent as these folks, their arguments are terrible! Just what did they think they were accomplishing?

As I've said in the past, such diatribes by people with too much time on their hands does a horrible disservice to the reputation of Christianity. It's no wonder I have to wade through so many comments online where fans think horrible things about Christians. You don't have to look far to find examples like this. Never mind that millions of Christians are able to live lives of integrity and faith without buying into this fear-mongering. And, if that weren't enough, we have to fight those within our faith who accuse us of "letting evil win, by doing nothing" (to paraphrase a statement often attributed to Edmund Burke, although he may not be the origin), or passively allowing these kinds of "sins" to be portrayed in cartoons.

But, since I don't agree with those who created the video in the first place, I must not care enough.... At least I have faith that God will sort it all out in the end.


  1. The guy with the fro said there were "definite occultic overtones" to Transformers, in addition to the "killing."

    Um. Where?

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work on my latest manifesto -- "Why Pikachu and Potter are Sending Your Children to Hell."

  2. Suffice it to say, since I didn't see anything remotely "occultic" in the clip they used, I couldn't really comment on that. However, there were definitely other episodes that they could complain about that kind of thing, if they were of a mind to do so....

    Indeed, the matrix itself could be accused of that, if you look at it the right (wrong?) way. But as I established, I'm not sure if the matrix was introduced yet when this bit was originally filmed.

    In any event, it still goes back to "too much time on their hands."



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