Sometime around high school, a friend had shown me irrefutable proof that Barney, the Big Purple Dinosaur who’d lull me to sleep with his hypnotic singing voice, was in fact a Satanic figurehead for the corruption of children. I always thought the creature’s bizarre rituals were akin to a child molester’s training video, and so this claim piqued my interest. How so, oh dear high school friend, was the big old Pedosaurus Satan’s gift to the world? “Simple,” he said, grabbing a pen. “Barney is
A CUTE PURPLE DINOSAUR”
It pleased me to note that my friend’s keen sense of observation was as astute as ever. Go on, I urged him.
“Now waaaay back in Ancient Roman times, there was no letter U. The letter V was used in its place, making Barney
A CVTE PVRPLE DINOSAVR”
I stopped to think for a moment what those fiddle-playing pasta eaters had to do with Barney, but quickly remembered that this was high school logic playing out. And so my friend continued:
“Since we’re talking about Ancient Rome, let’s isolate the Roman numerals in that phrase, shall we? That leaves us with
C V V L D I V”
“Now add it all up,” he said. I promptly brought out my Roman Numeral Calculator and did the conversions:
I = 1
V = 5
L = 50
C = 100
D = 500
C + V + V + L + D + I + V = 100 + 5 + 5 + 50 + 500 + 1 + 5 = 666!
HOLY CRAP! BARNEY IS 666!
Of course, that was completely pointless. It does illustrate, however, that with enough stretches of the imagination, people can find whatever they want to find in just about anything. If you look hard enough for the devil, you can find him (or her) in the most mundane things.
So why bring this up? It’s because I’ve been playing a bunch of Pokemon recently, which is the second of two things I’ve enjoyed that were accused of being Satanic material (the first being Magic: the Gathering). Now, Magic, I can understand – in its early days, the art was a lot less censored, and there was even a pentagram depicted in the card Unholy Strength. But Pokemon? Cute little furry critters that you catch in tiny balls? Oh please. I find it hard to believe that a creature named “Jigglypuff” will lead to the eternal damnation of my soul.
And yet I’ve read of others who were convinced that Pokemon were infernal spawns of evil sent forth to defile the souls of all mankind. I remember getting an email from a concerned parent back when Pokemania was running rampant that warned of demonic possession taking hold of her Pokemon-crazed son. She was terrified to discover her child speaking in a raspy almost-whisper, uttering a word unheard of in any language. “Bubba-zoar, bubba-zoar,” he said, clearly taken over by a malicious force from the depths of Hell. The kid, of course, was just copying the Pokemon Bulbasaur who, in the anime, has a tiny little raspy voice and can only speak his name. If the mother had just freaking been watching what her kid was watching, she’d have known that before breaking into a fundamentalist Christian panic.
I know that when I do become a parent, I’m going to spend actual time with my kids and watch what they like to watch. I’m not going to be like that mother who probably was too busy with her own life to get to know the things her kid liked. You’re going to see me chilling out with my kids in front of the TV, laughing along to their generation’s equivalent of Spongebob Squarepants. Why? Because I’ll actually give a damn about my kids. Shame on you, fundamentalist Christian mother who’s out of touch with her own son; shame on you.
And yes, I realize I’m far too old to still be playing Pokemon. I’m also a little too old to be watching Chowder and Ben 10. But you know what? It’s fun keeping in touch with your inner child. It sure as hell makes relating with tomorrow’s leaders a whole lot more interesting.
P.S. Two straight posts without cursing! Fuck yeah!
P.P.S. Oh shit.