Monthly Archives: July 2011

The “Truth” About the Toy Industry, Reprise (Part Ten)

Chapter 10 – The Barbarization of Our Children. This chapter discusses violent toys. He considers Transformers “war toys,” and posits that the cartoon featuring them is “the most violent cartoon on television.” Wait, didn’t you already say that about Dungeons and Dragons?

Through these cartoons, children see acts of aggression and violence as normal. “Do we want children to believe that guns and sorcery are an important part of everyday life?” Phillips asks. Well, if the child lives in the inner-city, guns are already part of his life, and he’s probably already desensitized to whatever sort of violence is featured on this week’s episode of Voltron.

He cautions parents against exposing their children unnecessarily to violence and occult, just because they want the kids to face reality. He quotes John 15:19, the passage that says, “Christians are not of the world, because [H]e has chosen us out of the world.” Does this make them aliens, then?

AS you shouldn’t associate with “unbelievers,” so, too, should your children be barred from those toys which “glorify Satan.” For man cannot serve two masters, and if you let your child play with She-Ra, that is exactly what you are trying to do.

He keeps repeating himself. Violence is bad, mmmkay? Violent toys increase aggression. Do you want that sort of behavior in your children? Look, even Dr. Joyce Brothers agrees with him! When will you listen to Christian reason?

And Russia was not concerned about our nuclear weapons, but they feared American kids walking around in military fatigues. He claims to have heard this from a reporter, presumably from Conspiracy Theorist Weekly. “This is a cause of alarm for them (Russians), because they barbarize their children and they understand the power in it.” Submitted without further comment.

And now, let’s zoom in on a few specific toys about which Phillips has not yet warned us.

Crystlar. He means “Crystar.” This is the second time he has been this sloppy, so I am pondering if it is deliberate, leaving the lazy AND easily-swindled parent (a nearly lethal combination) to just believe what is related here and not feel the need to draw her own conclusions. Anyway. Crystar has “so much occult,” he says, “it almost becomes redundant.” You mean, like most of your book?

Crystalium is a magical realm, ruled by two brothers, Crystar and Moltar (and not, apparently, the one that was on Space Ghost). Choosing between order and chaos is much like Zen Buddhism. The use of crystals is bad news all around. Necromancy is communing with the dead; this will not let you inherit the kingdom of Heaven, for the will is torn up the minute you gaze into that gypsy’s ball.

Power Lords. Without even discussing any of the toys’ attributes, he proclaims them blasphemous, solely based on their name, as it implies that these figures are god’s equals.

These figures are “gruesome,” Phillips tells us; they transform into beasts and aliens. The book of Genesis tells that god created man in his own image; however, maybe we are all aliens and beasts, but haven’t yet learned to harness our powers . . . .

Garbage Pail Kids. He finds these horrible, “a mockery of everything that is cute and innocent.” They certainly do not embrace the ideas of love and friendship!

Voodoo Reagan dolls. These existed? The only information I can find about ones you could actually purchase is here, in the blurb featured on this Flickr photo I found, which was taken at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. An “actual voodoo hex” is used to complete the curse against the (now late) Prez, and this sort of enchantment is verboten in the Bible. I would have an issue with this sort of thing being marketed to children, just in general, but I guess since Phil’s platform is all-Jesus-all-the-time, he’s gotta put everything through that lens.

Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones. This adventure line for girls encourages the female sex to involve themselves in war play. Don’t be fooled by the idea that the doll accessories/weapons can be worn as jewelry – it’s still barbarous!

Build a Guillotine. Part of a series of books published by Perigree Books, entitled The Way Things Work, one in particular tells the reader how to make guillotines and catapults. What kind of fool parents would let their children play with this thing? First it’s dolls they’re decapitating, next it’s their brother or sister’s head under the blade! Okay, if Phillips had actually spent any time actually seeking out this book, he would know that this is utter bullshit. See this link for the exact book in question. The book did include a kit for you to make your own guillotine, yes – out of PAPER! It’s not even a toy, to my mind; it’s more along the lines of model cars and ships in bottles. But remember, Jesus does not advocate decapitation, so you shouldn’t, either.

Godbox For only $14.95, you can have your very own direct line to god via a wooden box. Obviously, this is blasphemous, as one can call on god at any time without an intermediary.

He also uses one sentence to denigrate Zork, Zeus, Quest, and Dungeons of Death. Violence, occult symbols, and right in your own home on your Atari 800 or Commodore 64 computer! There is no escape; Satan is everywhere!

Next up – a chapter devoted solely to D & D. I was wondering when this would show up!

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BWP Special Report: All Your Base Are Belong to Us

And now, we interrupt Phil Phillips’ “toys are evil” announcements to bring you a Books Without Pity Special Report.

This selection is of more recent vintage, has nothing to do with sex (mis)education, and actually comes in praise of its subject rather than reviling it. Quite the departure, wouldn’t you say?

However, some things stay the same. The book in question was gladly given to me by my boyfriend, who runs a certain video game website (hello to those of you who have come via his recommendation. Make yourselves comfortable and have a cookie). He made it to page 18 and stagnated. I, having achieved a higher tolerance for poor writing (Twilight, ahem), blasted past his bookmark whilst we lay about one Saturday afternoon, ill with food poisoning. After a few chapters, I knew where the review needed to make its home, and it wasn’t at Boyfriend’s site.

The book’s full title is All Your Base Are Belong to Us: how fifty years of videogames conquered pop culture. I thought that it sounded interesting, even if that meme is a dried-out husk by now. And I enjoy origin stories about topics that interest me.

Video games and I go way back. I had an Atari 800 computer and spent countless hours guiding Pac-Man through a panoply of mazes until my eyes ached from the strain of staring at the flashing screen in the semi-darkness of our dining room. With the introduction of the NES to the household (a Christmas gift from my parents), my weekend hours were consumed with finding out which castle that damned princess was REALLY in. (This nearly led to our NES’ demise, as my mother, in a fit of pique over being jolted awake one too many Sunday mornings, yanked it from the wall and threw it down the basement stairs. My brother and I ran after it, and huddled over its slightly broken body as it came to rest on the last linoleum step before the cold concrete. The door had broken off, but it still worked, a testament to the hardiness of that console).

While most kids of my generation were either in the Nintendo or Sega camp, my brother and I held dual allegiance, which all began when my grandma got us a Genesis as a Christmas gift. My Game Boy kept me entertained on many road trips, as I evaded bobbing hot dogs and wobbly pickles in Burgertime. I’ve played Tetris so much that games continue in my dreams. I’m rather familiar with most of the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom, Hyrule, and whatever world Sonic is from. I’ve played Earthbound and a portion of Mother 3. On the casual side, Popcap’s games kept me sane in my college days, when I worked at a very slow-moving insurance agency.

I natter on to give you a sense of where I’m coming from. I thought (since I still play lots of older titles) that All Your Base would appeal to my retro sensibilities. As far as the history of this topic, I knew some broad strokes going in, which, admittedly, wasn’t much. However, in his introduction, Harold Goldberg purports to tell the story of landmark instances in the history of video games, as well as why they have affected popular culture so much. He claims the book is for core and casual gamers alike. Did he succeed in reaching both (or either) audience? Press Start to play! Continue reading

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The “Truth” about the Toy Industry, Reprise (Part Nine)

“Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad, I’m hot for – He-Man.” This should be Phil Phillips’ theme song, as we now turn to Chapter 9, on Masters of the Universe, devoted entirely to the hunky 2-d hero in a furry loincloth.

And, indeed, the very first sentence he writes is, “He is strong, handsome, and all powerful.” I knew you were a secret superfan! What makes him frown is the idea that, to children, He-Man has become a god-like figure, “omnipotent and omniscient.” I’m not as sure about the latter descriptor – He-Man is not “all-knowing;” other characters have to tell him about things.

He natters on about the toys begetting the TV series, and the merchandising , blah blah statistics. (See, nowhere else has he cited any)! The toys are immensely popular. Why the massive appeal? It’s new, exciting, and has characters with supernatural powers.

These characters are unusual, mutant beasts that play God. And they all cavort in a land called Eternia. A new world fascinates viewers, as it opens new vistas to imaginary play. There is a moral message at the end of every episode, which has drawn praise from parents, and he admits that these PSAs are taken from the storyline and not tacked on. However these “morals” take less than a minute, which doesn’t really balance out the violence and occult, in his view. And a point debated by many is whether Masters of the Universe is less violent than other cartoons. Ah, and here comes ol’ Phil now with, “[T] he show averages 37 violent scenes for every half-hour episode,” with, of course, no source for this information. How many episodes did you watch? Continue reading

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The “Truth” about the Toy Industry, Reprise (Part Eight)

Ah, Phil Phillps, we meet again, with your perfect coif and “soulful” eyes staring out from the back cover of your book that bashed every inch of my childhood. BWP readers: if you are new, or would like a refresher on this guy, please turn to this page, and reacquaint yourself. Then please return for fresh hell.

Chapter 8 – Cute and Innocent?
This is where the spelunking begins in earnest. Philly Boy will now take us through the virtual toy store of the 1980s, and explain just what he finds wrong with every “cute and innocent” toy available. He claims not to be condemning parents for letting their kids play with these reviled toys, merely making them aware of “subtle influences.” Yes, so subtle, in fact, that no one was aware of them until he, as God’s supposed emissary, pointed them out to easily-swayed parents everywhere!

By the way, in case you were wondering, he does not advocate burning the cute and innocent . . . toys, that is. He wants parents to go to toy stores, to study and decide whether such items are in line with scripture, before they open their wallets. (And should your child be with you in said store, tugging on your arm and begging for Beast Man, he is obviously in league with Old Nick himself, and must be destroyed).

The danger, you see, is not necessarily the molded plastic, made-in-China toy itself; rather, the “occult” images that the toy represents and which are shown to the child through various media. Please recall that the “occult” in the Phil Phillips lexicon is “that which does not embrace Christian tenets.” Supposedly, a question he is often asked is, “Why are so many toys and cartoons today based on occult symbolisms [sic]?” Toys have changed; he cites GI Joe as an example. When GI Joe first came on the market, it was a fairly simple army doll. The Joes of ’86 are more “combat-oriented,” and much more violent. I cannot argue with this.

However, he hasn’t yet answered the question. So, why have toys changed? Apparently, it’s all the fault of hippies. The writers and creators of the 80s toys came out of the 60s, with their acid trips and love beads and Eastern religions. Many of these hippies live in Hollywood. “Don’t misunderstand,” sayeth Phil, “I am not saying Hollywood is a ‘bad place,’ but, the very nature of Hollywood leads to a hedonistic way of living, which often involves ‘meditation,’ drugs, and Eastern religious influences.” Um, it was the 80s; pretty much everyone, Californian or not, was snorting rails. Anyway, these sorts of lifestyles do not lend themselves to going to church on a regular basis, so, obviously, these people are out of touch with God. Oh, so much wrong in that sentence. Where shall I begin?

This dude is a Southern Baptist, as I recall. Now, I am not tarring all Baptists with the same brush; however, of those I have known, they were the biggest buncha hypocrites I have ever seen. The type that would judge others for nonattendance at church, but would also find every excuse not to go themselves. The type you’d find at the bar/stripclub of a Saturday night, getting lapdances and having a belt or three, who would also be found in church on Sunday, front and center, loudly declaiming alcohol as the debbil’s drink. “Do as I say, not as I do” types of people come in every religious stripe, but I’m picking on the SoBaps today. Don’t send me hate mail, k?

Now, P.P. will hit on specific toys for the remainder of the chapter. Are ya strapped in?
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