Monday, December 21, 2015

PROPAGANDA REVIEW: “The Games Children Play” (1990)

The trifecta of “creative visualization,” He-Man and Final Fantasy is turning our kids into abortion-loving, multicultural globalist mystics. Oh, and the NEA is in on it, too. 

By: Jimbo X

Oh, the late 1980s and early 1990s were such a joyous time to be alive. The arrival of the TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis and Game Boy within just a few months of each other, with the gradual fall of communism somewhere in between? ‘Tis truly was the Golden Era, if ever such a thing existed.

Alas, the George H.W. Bush years being the juvenile-commercial-pop-culture zenith, it was also the great heyday of the Christian propaganda video cassette. Y’all remember video cassettes (and to a much lesser extent, Christianity), don’t cha? Well, one was a pre-DVD, pre-online streaming media format that used electromagnetic tape encased in a plastic brick to play movies and programs recorded off television, while the other was the long-discontinued belief that a guy who looked like Billy Mitchell was the son of God and he died for our sins and a whole bunch of other tomfoolery. And, for whatever reason, the two seemed to make for quite the pairing in that weird post-Reagan, pre-Clinton miasma of memories.

We’ve covered outmoded video propaganda of the like before, most notably, an hour and a half long special documenting why Scooby Doo cartoons and Skeletor action figures were indoctrinating children with Satanic ideology. Of course, in that, there is a little bit of truth - albeit, the Great Satan in question is actually the demonic hand of mass marketers, and the unholy Tao touted being consumerism. That said, it’s always fun/horrifying to see just how far some of these old school video tape Christian fundamentalists were willing to go to paint the other as the forces of evil, and boy howdy, do we have ourselves a good ‘un this go at it.

Now, the names Peter and Paul LaLonde may not mean much to a good 99.9999999997 percent of humanity, but in the world of Christian infotainment-propaganda, they’re pretty much the Ringling Brothers of their respective niche. While today their Stoney Lake Entertainment empire is producing honest-to-goodness tax write-offs starring Nicholas Cage that actually get screened in real movie theaters, the Canadian siblings began a bit more humbly, producing this thing called The Omega Letter newsletter out of their own basement before moving on up to their own syndicated apocalyptic preachin’ program, This Week in Bible Prophecy, which ultimately gave them the economic wherewithal to start spittin’ out their own platoon of fundamentalist-baitin’, straight-to-DVD end-of-days dreck. Yeah, it sounds goofy, but apparently, these guys are making some serious scratch off their doings, as Ernst & Young have nominated them for a slate of honors, including “Entrepreneur of the Year” and “Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year.

The Games Children Play, a 1990 evangelical VHS offering, doesn’t really doesn’t throw you any curve balls. As soon as it begins, you pretty much know exactly how things are going to play out, and if you are one for visuals, there isn’t much to get excited about here. In fact, a majority of the video is just stationary shots of people sitting down, stumbling over scripted lines, with only a few jump-cuts to Nintendo games and ‘80s cartoons to keep us interested. However, what it lacks in visual appeal, it more than makes up for it with bat-shit insane paranoia - with some particularly peculiar allegations lobbed at the National Education Association. 

At some point in your life, you'll spend an entire
afternoon trying to detect Satanic symbols in
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And then, you
will know what it means to truly perform the
 Lord's work. 
So we begin with some ironically Nintendo-sounding music, which provides a segue to a lengthy scene in which a grade school teachers tells a bunch of elementary schoolers to lay on the floor and pretend they are in a safe, special fantasy land. Then we cut to Peter LaLonde, who is holding a microphone that isn’t plugged into to anything and wearing the world’s largest parka in front of a playground. He wastes no time at all before railing against public schools for indoctrinating children with “New Age beliefs” that put kids in “altered states of consciousness.”  Kids today, he continues, are living in a “video age.” Instead of playing kick the can and football, they spend all day watching TV (cue a super nostalgic shot of some old TV Guide listings) and listening to Slayer on MTV. Oh, and The Simpsons is teaching them to hate Christianity, while computer games are instilling in them the tenets of Hinduism, Buddhism and the occult. 

From there, he starts going off on the NEA, describing them as a “socialist” organization with a pro-globalization and pro-abortion agenda. Following some comments from Dr. Chester Pierce - who believes children are diseased by patriotism and sovereignty by the time they are in kindergarten - LaLonde cuts a promo on how contemporary public education denies absolutes, behavioral psychologists are “lobotomizing” children and suicide prevention programs are actually encouraging more kids to kill themselves. By eliminating the “bigoted” Christian ideologies of  students, LaLonde said what the NEA is doing is tantamount to “emotional and spiritual child molestation.” Huh, good to see this guy isn’t keen on the hyperbole, no? 

Quoting John Dunphy - who said that multicultural education can replace the “rotting corpse of Christianity” as children’s ideological bedrock - LaLonde then drudges up some anecdotes about teachers getting students to “hail the almighty globe” and conjuring up Abe Lincoln’s ghost to reinforce the hypothesis that public education is trying to turn all our kiddos into god-danged mystics. 

LaLonde changes out of his Sasquatch-sized parka to don a short-sleeved white dress shirt and red tie to talk about Thundercats in front of an old school CRT television with a million billion books in the background. After a brief clip of the cartoon is shown, LaLonde yanks out a plastic sword and shows us how kids try to use it to “open their third eye,” which the NEA is trying to also pry open via in-school meditation and relaxation therapies. 

After a brief discussion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which is limited to one episode allegedly indoctrinating youth with the ills of the supernatural), LaLonde flaps his gums for quite some time about Masters of the Universe, and how He-Man is actually a parable for the Garden of Eden and “the power of Greyskull” is actually an oblique nod to the power of Satan. Oh, and there’s also some stuff in there about the Antichrist, too, but it’s way too disjointed a spiel to gleam anything of substance out of it. 

Next, a woman who looks so eighties it burns talks about Dungeons and Dragons’ tenuous links to a series of murders and suicides. The camera quickly pans back to LaLonde, who cites some questionable “researchers” who say the game makes kids more violent and likely to attempt suicide. And hey, did you know the guy behind the Hungerford Massacre was a fantasy role-paying game dweeb, too

The next segment focuses on the whimsical world of Nintendo. It begins with a great quote from LaLonde about video gaming culture, which holds true just as much today as it did back then:

“It’s a whole new world out there. These kids are talking in terms we don’t understand, they’re in front of their video boards and they’re totally entranced in a world we know nothing about.”

He flips through the instructional manual for Wizardry: Proving Ground of the Mad Overlord, and cites the startling number of mage and cleric spells (while I’m just gob smacked by the fact that, at one point in time, video games came with instruction manuals with that many pages in it.) He also brings up a passage about how spells are tied to one’s “life force,” which alike in Star Wars and E.T., is meant to get kids to reject God and look down upon any higher moral callings. Well, that, or he has no earthly clue how hit points work in these types of games, I suppose. 

In a spiel against Final Fantasy, it becomes apparent that LaLonde believes the spells mentioned in the instruction manual aren’t tied to in game button commands but are indeed real-life mantras one may repeat to conjure up the dark spirits. I mean, shit, who hasn’t seen a bunch of robed devil worshippers out in the wilderness, repeating “A, B, Up, Down” to placate the evil one, right?

Per LaLonde, kids circa 1990 spent about seven hours a day watching TV and another two to three playing video games - the latter encouraging them to worship dragon iconography as a “new gospel.” (Wonder what this LaLonde fellow thinks about Game of Thrones, no?)

And we go back to the school teacher doing visualization exercises. Afterwards, LaLonde is
Yeah, I can't believe video game manuals used
to be that big, too.
kicking back in an office chair, in front of a huge desktop computer. Kids nowadays are under so much stress, he reminds us. However, attempts to alleviate that stress through “creative visualization” puts children in those afore-mentioned “altered states of consciousness,” which - alike Buddhism and yoga - is designed to “empty” one’s mind so they can be led by a higher power. “This is religion in the public schools,” he emphatically shouts. 

You know that “inner voice” a lot of hippie-dippie educators are always going on and on about? Well, LaLonde tells us those “spirit guides” are actually liaisons from the demonic realm. He brings up some self-help audio tapes, which advise listeners to not use them while driving because that might cause them to become distracted. “This is not science, this is religion,” he spouts once more. 

So here comes this one dude - a bald, rotund fellow who looks sort of like Wolfman Jack, only with a tighter crop and experiencing way more difficulties opening his eyes. Among other things, he rails against “multiculturalism,” “situational ethics,” “Socialism,” “group dynamics,” and “sex education” -- all thinly-veiled code words, he believes, for an agenda meant to undermine Judeo-Christian values.

Towards the tail-end of the video, Paul LaLonde shows up to talk about his experiences working with runaways, drug addicts and prostitutes in Canada. Many of them, he said, had an interest in witchcraft, the occult and heavy metal (primarily, he says they were into it for its aesthetics, not its overall quality … burn!) As it turns out, there is indeed a very thin line between He-Man and Nintendo and shooting up heroin and selling your cooch on the streets for $10. His ultimate thesis? All of the crap they learn in cartoons and video games is what they are ultimately taught to be the real faith once they begin public schooling. Which pisses me off plenty, because not once did my teachers tell me how to astral project or have blood orgies with Wiccans. I had to do long division and learn the state capitals, whilst kids up north were taking Warlockism 101? Man, what a gyp!

Summing up his central thesis, Peter LaLonde drops the line of the video:

“One of the clever things educators laugh about is how paranoid Christian fundamentalists sound when they complain about these things, because it sounds so outrageous, it sounds so off the wall. But we’re not talking about a few words backwards on a record album here that may say something, we’re taking about outright indoctrination.”

Interestingly enough, he brings up a random high-ranking media executive who left the “biz” to go work on cartoons with an environmental propaganda theme … which ironically, is followed by a quick jab at Ted Turner, who had recently produced a mini-series about the Soviet Union that was full of more shit than most major city sewer systems

He says the message of “We are the World” is actually a harbinger of an electronic, cash-less society which will usher in the Mark of the Beast. After some jibber-jabber about “the generation gap,” he said kids shouldn’t be indoctrinated by cartoon and America’s Funniest Home Videos, they should be indoctrinated at church. In fact, he closes the video by saying that as soon as children are able to sit upright, they ought to be in the church pews … because the only way to surmount one form of mindless indoctrination, I reckon, is an entirely different form of mindless indoctrination that gets to them just a neurological step sooner. 

...and now these motherfuckers are bankrolling Nicholas Cage movies. No, seriously

Well, as the kids these days say it, that was some shit right there. It’s kind of hard to go back and watch tapes of the sort and walk away with any profound insights. I mean, they have a clear-cut agenda and for the most part, it’s pretty easy to pick them apart. Like I said in my recap of Deception of a Generation, however, these LaLonde fellows are inadvertently right about popular culture steering children away from Christianity and the old morality - it’s just that their core thesis about Satan himself pulling the strings is so out-and-out bat shit, it’s hard to even mull the parts of their arguments they unintentionally got correct. 

Has public education and juvenile consumer culture over the last 25 years done a considerable amount to pull children away from religion and the older incarnations of nationalism (the intersection of the two, forming the old Weberian Protestant work ethic?) I’d say that’s a foregone conclusion, albeit one with an underlying catalyst that has more to do with corporatism than Satanism. With the auger of political correctness preventing youths from actively celebrating any kind of religious or national identity, the only common culture today’s youth share is a consumer one, and with so many public institutions selling out to multinational investors, of course the “system” would instill in them a certain fondness for vapid consumerism. Aye, that’s a bridge I’ve crossed MANY a times here at The Internet Is In America, so I shan’t squander anymore bandwidth stating the pleasantries of the past. So to put it another way? The LaLondes ended up getting the right answer, but holy hell, is the scratch work they used to arrive at that conclusion wrong as wrong can be. 

Even when the message itself is for the most part right, the delivery of said message goes a long way in determining its overall effectiveness. The makers of The Games Children Play, by sheer blind luck, stumbled upon a thought-provoking, if not wholly believable thesis about the cognitive impact of labor union initiatives and consumer culture indoctrination on schoolchildren. 

It’s just then when you’re saying the Devil himself is the guy behind the curtain yanking the ropes, well, perhaps you can see why it’s so easy to discount everything else you see and hear in the video. 


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