“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?
By watching the show, children discover that Prince Adam turns into He-Man “by the power of Greyskull.” This gives him supernatural powers and abilities. These things are not god-given, and are, therefore, occult. Phil sez, “Only by the blood of Jesus do humans have any power and authority over others.” Wow, it seems so simple! Pardon me a moment while I check Ebay.
And now he shares a letter from a concerned parent about the effect that He-Man had on his children. He writes: “Dear
Casey Phil, I want to share with you some guidelines which I have developed . . . in deciding which programs and toys are appropriate.” He knows that parents “must restrict” what is available for children. And those two words, right there, set up a metric ton of problems. I am not saying that children should have access to everything; nor am I saying that parents should not examine “questionable” content, whatever that term means to you, prior to giving it to their kids. However, must restrict implies an ultra-tight rein on your child, and this is what leads to issues.. I might be a weird case, once again, but I cannot recall any cartoon or book that I was barred from watching or reading. And I was always told I could ask my parents for clarification if I was confused by something. However, they also watched a lot of stuff WITH me, so they definitely could have switched it off if they suddenly found it inappropriate. And I think I turned out alright.
Only on personal evidence (which really isn’t all that different from what Phillips is doing in this book), I will state that, anyone I’ve ever known who grew up under this sort of restrictive reign had serious problems as an adult. (This book, in particular, caused a lot of drama with someone I used to know). Anyway.
Apparently, this Christian brother (as he signs his letter) has a schedule that is way too busy for him to sit down and preview what the kids are watching. What about your wife? What about a VCR? When he has a little time, however, he asks himself a simple question: “Is there a place for Jesus in this story?” If the answer is no, then his children are not allowed to view it. That seems almost TOO simplistic, doesn’t it?
He regrets not thinking about this when Masters of the Universe first debuted. His sons seemed to be fighting with everyone and they had a “zombie-like” attitude whilst waiting for the show to come on. Urm, so then why didn’t you turn off the damned telly and herd them outside? Who is the adult in this situation? His third son’s first words, supposedly, were “I have the power.” I call shenanigans on this last. Oh, and he makes sure to inform Phil that TV viewing in his house is restricted (there’s that word again) to three shows a day. He doesn’t tell the reader, however, what the other two shows were that the children were watching in addition to MOTU. Because if one of them was GI Joe, maybe that was also part of your problem.
After ChristBro here took the show out of rotation at his house, it only took a few days for his kids to return to “normal.” Well, doesn’t that tell you that it didn’t have that much of a hold on them? Grr.
Back to Phil. He takes offense at the fact that He-Man is the Master of the Universe, which is a term that should be reserved for god. It is simply blasphemous! And again and again, the occult symbolism. Castle Greyskull is a skull! And Skeletor has a ram’s head staff and he can astrally project himself and use mind-control. These practices are detestable and it says so in the Bible. In one of the comic books, he says, Skeletor is in the “lotus position,” levitating. Oh, no, not the lotus position! At least it wasn’t downward-facing dog . . . cause no one wants to see that.
So, basically, he wants parents to teach their kids that god is the real master of the universe. Okay, but he doesn’t have a sword, and he doesn’t manifest himself physically into a superhero and actually get into the fray with whatever “demons” children will be battling, so it’s not really a stretch to understand why kids would have difficulty with your concepts of Jesus, especially considering kids are visual creatures.
The last few pages of this chapter are devoted to She-Ra, Princess of Power, but it’s a rehashing of what I just said above, so I shan’t repeat it. I just have to quote two sentences here, in a paragraph where he talks about an episode with a witches’ spell-casting contest. “These spells that the little girl casts are very specific and in depth. In fact, they are similar to spells that would be found in a book on witchcraft.” And he knows, folks, he’s not just making shit up; he has an underground lair, with a secret, dark library.
Ruh-roh, I told you all too much. If I never post again, you know why!