Those Evil 80s Toys

Having grown up as a fundamentalist Christian in the early 80s, I remember well the many books and sermons about the evils of pop culture. I read Bob Larson’s books about the evils of rock music (and then ignored them completely). Here’s some video clips of preachers in the 80s railing about the evils of various toys.

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  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    I was annoyed when the christian outrage marketing machine over-promoted dungeons and dragons and suddenly everyone was doing it, and we had all kinds of new people showing up at our gaming nights. It was terrible!

  • marcus

    IIRC Gary Greenwald went on to have a seminal roll in many porn movies. I also remember that whenever I went to any disco anywhere he always seemed to be there. I don’t know how he did it. That boy loved to disco dance!

  • janiceclanfield

    See Marcus! You’ve been infected by D&D. They -told- you this would happen. First D&D, then trips to irradiated lands to see first hand what the demons you and your kind unleashed by playing this evil, immoral game!!!111!!

    God’s gonna get you.

  • dukeofomnium

    TIL that Ron Jeremy used to call himself Gary Greenwald.

  • http://umlud.blogspot.com umlud

    The video ends with a heartfelt, “God bless now from the Eagle’s Nest,” from Glenn Greenwald.

    Am I the only one that thinks that it’s strange that he’s named his place after Adolf Hitler’s retreat? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kehlsteinhaus

    Based on Greenwald’s level of hyperbole, I suppose I can now call him a neo-Nazi or a Hitler-lover?

    (And yes, I did a Poe.)

  • John Pieret

    Smurfs … freaking Smurfs … are demonic? Stupid, unfunny, couldn’t carry Crusader Rabbit’s (okay, I’m older than dirt) jock strap, sure! But demonic?

  • Mr Ed

    Transformers, Voltron and She-ra are sexulized? If a semi turning into a robot gets you going you need help

  • longstreet63

    Whenever someone asks, “Is there a conspiracy?” their answer is apparently always “Yes”.

    After that, they usually explain how sentient tacos run the world.

    Although sometimes they call them by different code names because the tacos are always listening.

  • Wylann

    I’m not watching the video, but he didn’t mention G-Force did he? Cuz I’m pretty that’s slang for….something.

    Oh, and I’m totally with you Marcus. I was playing AD&D (and basic before that) before it was cool.

  • Michael Heath

    In the mid-1980s I recall a cassette tape going around amongst my friends where a preacher “proved” that rock and roll came from the devil. I don’t recall his name. It was passed around for its amusement value.

    I especially remember this preacher claiming that some of the background noise in “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow was identical to the “wailing and gnashing of teeth” we’d be experiencing in Hell. We found that ironic since that group was considered pop for teenie-boppers and not “real” rock and roll. (The album-oriented rock era was full of snobs, which probably includes me though I grew out of it.) Perhaps it was assertions like those by this preacher that caused a spike in demand for a more overt Hell-theme by some rock bands; a “we can top that” attitude.

    One of my first experiences in irony was considering the lyrics to Black Sabbath songs when I was in my early-teens. I was expecting them to be promoting Satanism and evil. Instead they mostly lament the existence of Satan and evil along with condemning humans that they perceived as evil; e.g., the lyrics for War Pigs is illustrative and thematically, very similar to CCR’s Fortunate Son.

  • twincats

    Greenwald might’ve been spending too much time with those demonic playthings. Coulda swore I heard him say ‘stoned hedge’ in that video.

    heh heh, Stoned Hedge; great name for a ska band!

  • Scr… Archivist

    No! Not Yoda!

    I especially enjoyed the juxtaposition of the words just before 3:14 and the image right after. It works on a couple of levels.

    ——-

    And, umlud @5, I noticed that, too. But the term is used in other places.

  • zenlike
  • jonathangray

    Have you ever thought about your soul – can it be saved?

    Or perhaps you think that when you’re dead you just stay in your grave

    Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you?

    Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school?

    When you think about death do you lose your breath or do you keep your cool?

    Would you like to see the Pope on the end of a rope – do you think he’s a fool?

    Well I have seen the truth, yes I’ve seen the light and I’ve changed my ways

    And I’ll be prepared when you’re lonely and scared at the end of our days

    Could it be you’re afraid of what your friends might say

    If they knew you believe in God above?

    They should realize before they criticize

    that God is the only way to love

    Is your mind so small that you have to fall

    In with the pack wherever they run

    Will you still sneer when death is near

    And say they may as well worship the sun?

    I think it was true it was people like you that crucified Christ

    I think it is sad the opinion you had was the only one voiced

    Will you be so sure when your day is near, say you don’t believe?

    You had the chance but you turned it down, now you can’t retrieve

    Perhaps you’ll think before you say that God is dead and gone

    Open your eyes, just realize that he’s the one

    The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate

    Or will you still jeer at all you hear? Yes! I think it’s too late.

    – Black Sabbath

  • jonathangray
  • jonathangray
  • zenlike

    jonathan, you think that is a brutal metal cover? You’ve seen nothing, o simple one.

  • jonathangray
  • jonathangray
  • jonathangray
  • jonathangray
  • zenlike

    Yes, you really want to point out the fact that you are just trolling . Great.

    If you have nothing to contribute (not that you ever had), please go away and stop stinking up the place.

    Troll.

  • jonathangray

    I’m puzzled — I thought you chaps disapproved of misogyny.

    Yet you seem unperturbed by the fact that we’ve progressed from this

  • jonathangray

    to this.

  • zenlike

    Yes, because very disturbing artwork did not exist in good old Christian times.

    Add medieval art to the topics jonathan is clueless about.

  • billydee

    My two sons were raised in a very liberal Episcopal parish. As liberal as it was, it still had its nut-jobs. When my younger son was six his Sunday School teacher told the class that Smurfs were satanic because they were blue because dead people turned blue. He looked her in the eye and said, “That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.” He walked out of the class. He is now a devout atheist

  • jonathangray

    I would say this contains comparably disturbing imagery. Can you spot the difference, though?

    Sigh. I miss the ’80s.

  • Peter B

    @6 John Pieret

    But Rags The Tiger. Ragland T. Tiger. Nobody mentions him.

    I also remember watching Howdy Doody on a neighbors TV. These neighbors had children my age and were the first on the block to have a TV.

  • laurentweppe

    I’m sorry Ed, but the fundies were right on this one: the Transformers toyline eventually led to the Bayesque Transformer movies, which clearly prove that 80s toys came straight from hell to cause untold harm to the brains and souls of the older millenials

  • http://www.facebook.com/KacyRay kacyray

    (Speaking of Yoda) – “He is a three fingered, three toe’d beast… he has the two fingers and the thumb, which from my information means ‘Satan is Lord'”.

    This explains the “God Hates Sloths” movement.

  • jonathangray

    zenlike:

    Yes, you really want to point out the fact that you are just trolling . Great.

    If you have nothing to contribute (not that you ever had), please go away and stop stinking up the place.

    Troll.

    Actually, no. There is a serious point here. You’re being encouraged to laugh at Concerned Christians freaking out at supposedly satanic 80s pop culture. Why? Not because they believe in the devil — you already know that and laugh at it all the time. No, you laugh at these Concerned Christians from the 80s in particular because what they’re freaking out at seems so absurdly innocuous. I mean, look at that old Iron Maiden album cover — it seems unthreatening to the point of quaintness, with it’s capering cartoon devil. A Christian must be seriously paranoid to get upset over something like that, right?

    But why does that old album cover seem so tame and lame now when it wouldn’t have been seen as tame then? Back then, it would have struck many people as quite menacing and intense — both to Concerned Christians (“OMG, Satan!”) and to adolescent metalheads (“Satan — cool!”). And no doubt that was exactly the reaction it was intended to evoke. What’s changed?

    Well that cover would have been considered a bit of a joke more than a decade ago. Why? Because we had folk like Marilyn Manson who we’re doing much more extreme stuff. Nowadays Marilyn Manson seems a bit of a joke because we’ve got stuff like the ‘brutal death metal’ genre doing much more extreme stuff. So there’s a trajectory towards the ever more extreme, towards stuff which you yourself describe as “very disturbing”. But the point is that these later manifestations couldn’t have happened without the earlier ones. Folk like Marilyn Manson were only able to do their shtick because folk like Iron Maiden had already pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable a little, and this in turn made it that much easier for the brutal death metal bands to be “very disturbing”. If you’d shown an 80s metalhead one of those brutal death metal album covers, he would have unhesitatingly said it was just sick and repulsive and unacceptable. He would probably have sounded like a Concerned Christian in fact. Anyone would have.

    So while you may think those 80s Christians were deluded in believing in the devil, just like their modern counterparts, their paranoid overreaction has been vindicated — they saw the inherent trajectory.

  • dingojack

    Little Jon-Jon asked “But why does that old album cover seem so tame and lame now when it wouldn’t have been seen as tame then?”

    Because it was innocuous then, and still is.

    Run along and play Jon-Jon, the adults are talking.

    Dingo

  • jonathangray

    Because it was innocuous then, and still is.

    Maybe you’re right although I seem to recall there was some ‘satanic panic’ controversy about that album among conservatives at the time.

    What do you think about the BDM artwork?

  • Michael Heath

    jonathangray:

    So while you may think those 80s Christians were deluded in believing in the devil, just like their modern counterparts, their paranoid overreaction has been vindicated — they saw the inherent trajectory.

    That’s obviously false. The past paranoid Christians deluded into believing in the devil were most certainly not “vindicated”. I.e., there’s still no evidence of a devil.

  • dingojack

    Nearly as lame as your arguments (nearly)

    DIngo

  • zenlike

    Comparing an album cover of a mainstream stadium-filling, chart-topping metal band from the 80’s with album covers of very obscure and fringe metal bands of today. Not a dishonest comparison at all, no sirree. Hint: there were comparable album covers in the 80’s, but from comparably non-mainstream bands.

  • jonathangray

    Michael Heath:

    So while you may think those 80s Christians were deluded in believing in the devil, just like their modern counterparts, their paranoid overreaction has been vindicated — they saw the inherent trajectory.

    That’s obviously false. The past paranoid Christians deluded into believing in the devil were most certainly not “vindicated”. I.e., there’s still no evidence of a devil.

    The question isn’t whether the devil actually exists, or whether it’s stupid for Christians to believe he exists. The question is whether, given that Christians do believe in the devil, they are being even more stupid to think he could corrupt society using cultural artefacts which seem relatively innocuous (especially in retrospect).

    And the answer to that question is clearly no. Imagine it’s the 1980s. You’re the devil and you fancy injecting BDM-type imagery into the cultural bloodstream as part of your ongoing long-term project to corrupt 20th-century American society. Obviously it makes sense to target popular youth culture. Gotta catch ’em young and it’s big business after all! Unfortunately at this time US society is still a bit too conservative and Christian for you to pull out the extreme stuff straight away — there would be massive outrage and pushback. (And not just among conservative Christians … even many permissive secular-minded liberals might begin to feel uneasy about where society is headed, which is the last thing you want.) So you start with imagery just shocking enough to push the envelope of what’s acceptable a little, but sufficiently innocuous not to alarm too many people too soon. Wait a few years until the fuss has died down, then introduce some slightly more extreme imagery, then wait a few years more and introduce something slightly more extreme still … and so on. Salami tactics — one think slice at a time.

  • jonathangray

    dingojack:

    [What do you think about the BDM artwork?]

    Nearly as lame as your arguments (nearly)

    I knew you’d say that and I’d bet good money most leftoids would say the same. (Unshockability is a vital part of the leftoid self-image.) But it’s amusing to compare your studied insouciance at the BDM stuff with the uproar here at imagery which, while certainly distasteful, is hardly in the same league. Leftoid pearl-clutching in the comments: “Somebody at that ad agency definitely needs to lose their job” … “This is beyond disgusting” … “Ugh” … “Sometimes I hate the whole world so much after swallowing the red pill. I don’t know folks take it sometimes, I really don’t” … “I’m ready to board the first flight leaving this planet” … “Nasty” … “This is a sick product of a sick mind. This is the kind of misogynistic stupidity this and other blogs are trying to overcome in our society” … “Yup – another one of those ‘what the hell is wrong with the world’ moments. How anyone could have allowed this abomination to be created is beyond me” … “toxic misogyny” … “just another expression of rape culture” … “Hey – does anyone know when the next one way flight off this sorry rock is scheduled to leave?” … “fucking chilling” … “fucking disgusting” … “appallingly sexist and implies all sorts of criminal and cruel acts to follow …”

  • jonathangray

    zenlike:

    Comparing an album cover of a mainstream stadium-filling, chart-topping metal band from the 80′s with album covers of very obscure and fringe metal bands of today. Not a dishonest comparison at all, no sirree.

    Except that today’s fringe has a habit of becoming tomorrow’s mainstream. Doesn’t the history of popular culture bear that out? What was fringe, sleazoid, shoddily-produced ‘video nasty’ material 20 years ago is now slickly professional big-budget Hollywood ‘torture porn’.

    This is mainstream.

    Hint: there were comparable album covers in the 80′s, but from comparably non-mainstream bands.

    What comparable album covers from the ’80s did you have in mind?

  • zenlike

    Jonathan is still playing the false equivalency game I see; Still the dishonest douche-bag he ever was.

    For the rest, I’m going to put a big [citation needed] tag on…well, all his posts and leave it at that.

  • Michael Heath

    zenlike,

    I suspect Jonathan Gray is a Poe. So from my perspective, I’ve come to respond to his comment posts only when I’m curious on how he’ll maintain his schtick. I.e., I’m looking to merely entertain myself and hopefully other readers.

    These comment posts of mine are contrary to my primary motivation for responding to comments from other commenters. And that’s to foster a dialogue or debate to better inform both myself and other readers; and then to adjust my positions accordingly. Jonathan’s apparent act simply doesn’t contribute to these objectives, though again, they do sometimes offer some entertainment value. I think that value is similar in one aspect to what Stephen Colbert does; though Mr. Colbert also informs his viewers – unlike Mr. Gray.

  • jonathangray

    zenlike –

    I take it you can’t actually think of any comparable album covers from the ’80s then …?

    Michael Heath –

    Bluster ≠ refutation. Just sayin’.