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Black Sabbath Moral Dissonances in Christian Media

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A great man who lived way before Christianity and its terrible rise to power speaks the quote that I have found; his real name is Siddhartha Gautama, but many people call him the Buddha. He rejected his royal and wealthy status to go on a spiritual journey to find out the cause of suffering; this journey made him one of the greatest teachers and philosophers in the history of humankind, problem is…why don’t we hear about him as much as we hear stories from the Bible? Sure, there are many manga’s and films about him, but our whole scope of media in America, which claims to be diverse is dominated by mostly Christian messages. Today, you do not have to have a Bible to find these messages, for they are all around us. It is hard to count the vast number of nativity scenes that are on people’s lawns, Veggie Tales sells thousands of videos to teach kids moral lessons from the Bible and elsewhere, and many churches are now using rock and pop songs to bring in more followers into their congregations. According to the philosophy of the Buddha if you create too much temptation over one belief or way of life it causes great pain and in the end hurts diversity more than benefits it. In my opinion, this is partly due to the massive amount of religious media that geared towards children at a young age; and I am not talking about Charlie Brown Christmas or The Little Drummer Boy. I am talking about the other side of the spectrum where every single episode has a religious or moral anvil waiting to fall down on someone, or a moral construct that is very deluded. Welcome to the Black Sabbath of Christen media where subtlety is for the week and the faster you shove those morals down the pipe will make you famous, but not for long…

A long time ago, children had fun reading comic books and watching Bugs Bunny outwit Elmer Thud was the best thing since sliced bread, white or wheat; however, the fun was ruined by media watchdogs. Who were mostly constrictive and very extremist about the so-called children learning morals and values than they were about having children having fun and laughing their socks off when Daffy’s bill was shot off. In my opinion, people who want people to “think about the children” are by far the most deceiving people in the world of children’s media and elsewhere; these people are dangerous when put face to face with actual children or people who have a different opinion. They use their moral guidance as a mask to hide whatever vice they may have; but inside they are full of greed, belligerence, hate, and want everyone to be converted into to their practices of assimilation, which are mostly of religious interest. It all began when a Lutheran media group pitched a show we know today as Davey and Goliath to CBS. Now you may think to yourself that a stop-motion cartoon like this show is cute and funny like Rudolph; this show however had life or death situations that are based on a very realistic constructs. In its first episode Lost in a Cave our main character Davey discovers another route and of course gets lost, he is scared and alone until he sees light gleaming though the rocks and finds his way out. For us, the question that remains weather the light was just sunlight or guidance from god. This is what makes this show special for Christen Media; it gives us the question of who god is in a way we can understand it. Therefore, it became popular with many networks because they knew about the starkly realistic and sometimes dark situations that balanced out the fantastical realms of television shows during that time.

Latter the Evangelical Baptist saw what the Lutheran Church did with Davey and Goliath and applied it to the cheaply animated and somewhat modern Jot the Dot the plots were simple, the messages were quite heavy-handed, and very religiously suggestive. In one episode, called The Lion Hunt Jot and his friend go on a pretend Lion Hunt. While he and his friend are playing happily, his mother calls him three times and on the fourth time, he tells his friend he has to go home. When Jot gets home, he tries to explain to his mom why he did not hear her, because he was playing with his friend. Frustrated, Jot sits down on the couch and guess what happens next, his father gives him a religious lecture on why he should listen to his mom, “ok dad! Next time I’ll listen!” he says happily; which seems quite uncanny for a kid to say such a statement with such joy. Of course, Rolly-Polie-Olie has much better dialog and is not that religious or preachy for a kids show. Meanwhile, many parents and churches were compiling about a new revolution in television…the Saturday Morning Cartoon.

Due to the rise of the Saturday Morning Cartoons, many Christen watchdogs wanted to create their own Saturday Morning show; however, the FCC wanted to not allow religious groups to interfere with the media or the networks because it would corrupt the right of free-speech and combine church and state together into a ugly mess. This lead to the rise of a group called Focus on the Family and many other groups sprang up in their lead; they created a radio show called Family Portraits, which later became a series called Adventures in Odyssey. The sires is set in a town in the Midwest (not in the so-called Bible belt) called Odyssey, and most of the stories begin with an introduction by an ice-cream proprietor named John Avery Whittaker. In the first episode, he takes us for a little walk and tells us (spoiler) that the town got its name from a church. Each episode dealt with various issues and morals, in fact one episode called Pamela has a Problem deals with the issue of unwanted pregnancy, which seems quite awkward for a radio-show geared towards children and their families. Yet even though the show dealt with controversial issues and messages, the shows general audience has an average of 1.2 million listeners in North America alone! It is a good thing that the show is not set in a religious compound, but I do inquire; Could Odyssey be a town disguised as a compound…where kids are required to obey certain religious norms in dangerous situations or learn their lesson though epic failures that are later blamed on them? Could the ice-cream emporium Whit’s End be a clever setting for congregating new members? We will never know…until we think about things from the perspective of, “what if?” or “why?” instead of, “it’s just a show with morals and values, I should not worry!” When people think this way they fall victim to themselves becoming heavy-handed with morals too, as Nietzsche would put it, “He who fights monsters will become a monster himself”. The so-called monsters being…children’s cartoons, which latter led to a live action/animation show with a seemingly innocent title, McGee and Me! Nevertheless, hidden inside this show is the age-old shadowy assumption that cartoons or cartoon characters for that matter can never be trusted.

The setting of the show seems innocent and so does the intro of the show; the intro shows us how Nick drew a cartoon friend named McGee and how he comes to life Roger Rabbit style. In the first episode called The Big Lie, we learn from the very beginning that McGee’s advice to Nick is not very good and at first, we think McGee is trying his best to be helpful; but here comes the twist. When Nick makes friends with a group of boys who want to scare an old man who lives in a creepy house, McGee tells him to go ahead and do so and latter it spirals into a lie as punishment Nick’s parents force Nick to clean up the old man’s house. In this sense, McGee’s role in the show turns from a helpless Jimmy Cricket learning the ropes, to the devil on the shoulder, another problem with this show is that McGee does not evolve himself, instead its Nick who learns the lesson to evolve moralistically after McGee tells him to get away with everything. Nerveless, the episodes both onVHS and DVD where bought by the thousands like Paczkis on Fat Tuesday; however they like the Paczkis themselves had their side-effects on the general public. When the show was pitched on ABC, the network edited out the references to Biblical passages and god, which was a slam in the face to the distributers of the show Focus on the Family. However, even though the show is not on air anymore they are still selling the dead horse (“He’s not dead yet!”) To schools and church programs all over. I had to watch The Big Lie in Middle School for a writing project on themes in writing and even I knew the show was going to go to Anvilland, even at the end, I felt a sense of disappointment for the fact that McGee did not learn the same lessons Nick did. Latter, the mighty will of God (Phil Vischer) resurrected McGee and Nick only this time their two vegetables named Bob and Larry! However, we all know what happens to vegetables when they get too sour…here is why.

At first Phil Vischer was a funny, smart, and very whimsical in his writing and animation; much of it we see with the early episodes of Veggie Tales and even in a parable about self-worth called A Snoddle’s Tale which his soon to be wife really liked. Its character is much like a combination of a sermon told by the gospels and Dr.Seuss and tells the story of a group of beings called Snoodles; when a new Snoodle is born they come out of a wacky machine. When the new Snoodle named Snoodle Doo comes out of the machine he has no knowledge of his abilities when he tries to utilize his abilities he is met with ridicule by the other Snoodles. Hurt by their ridicule though drawings, he flies over a mountain and meets a stranger whom is a representation of god, the stranger throws the hurtful pictures into his fireplace and shows him a picture of who he truly is; a proud and wonderful Snoodle. The episode was made a year after Jonah got out and after forty animators were laid off because of the dwindling cost of the movie. The Snoodle episode marked the end of an era for Veggie Tale’s creator being a ripe new fruit to a rotten one, after all tomatoes are fruits not vegetables. I previously wrote an article about Big Ideas corporate meddling called The Drummed out Little Drummer Boy; In it I also talked about his new creations besides Veggie Tales one of them being a sires of educational and christen apps and shows called Jelly Telly. When he announced the creation of the app on a YouTube video, he was ranting about how kids do not care about the Bible and its messages, and care more about their own gaming apps and videos. Since when did Bob the Tomato become a zealot? After that, he wrote an article on his blog about the problem with Christen Media, when really people like him and many other watchdogs and radical censors are the problem.

The purpose of me writing this article is because even though the Christian media says it has wholesome values, their mentality and scrutiny of issues and decent principles can sometimes lead people to disbelief and avert them from certain universal truths. One day while I was at a Salvation Army thrift store, I spotted a DVD of Bibleman which made me curious about how overtly religious it might be; so I looked on the back and I read one of the plot lines. One that really shocked me was an episode where some evil villain (probably an atheist one) wants to get rid of churches and Christianity all together, and immediately I knew exactly why I never bothered to watch Bibleman in the first place. I wanted to hide the DVD so that no one could find it but instead I put it behind another DVD and while doing this I thought about how many religious and non-religious leaders did protest not though violence or a hurtful ranting; but protested with peaceful action and humor. That same day I found videos of McGee and Me and put them near a figurine of the Last Supper, a friend asked me why I did this and I explained to her why. It is because there are two kinds of truths in the world, the deluded truth and the universal truth; the universal truth is that every religion has the message of how we can achieve tolerance and peace in a world dominated by deluded values and norms. The Last Supper is a symbol that represents shared togetherness, the universal goal of peace, and how people with different backgrounds and beliefs came together to support and understand the path to salvation and forgiveness of all people. During the last years of the Buddha’s life, he called all of his disciples to his sermon near the same kingdom that he left so long ago to find the answer to suffering. Wherever he went, he gained disciples, followers, and created social change in the way people thought about death, leadership, love, organized religion, and harmony with nature and people of different backgrounds. In the sermon, he says that the true way to understand others is though compassion and mercy weather friend or nemesis, religious or non-religious. We can learn though the flaws of Christian Media by watching it to get an understanding of what happens when the true meaning of a message is deluded, what the problems with organized religion are, and what happens when extremism takes over a certain value and is twisted to fit the agenda. We can do this so we can have a generation of thinkers and researchers, and less Phil Vischer’s and Jerry Farwell’s.



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