Saturday Morning Conspiracies

The entire time I was growing up, I heard tales of how Saturday morning cartoons were the instruments of Satan to warp young minds into a worship of the occult and practice of witchcraft. People like this guy told us that everything from He-Man to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were really part of a global conspiracy to enslave the nation’s children in between ads for breakfast cereal. Sneaky.

Of course, the real problem with these claims of satanic subterfuge is that the vast majority of a generation of cartoon watchers eventually grew up into more or less responsible adults who were curiously non-satanic. One would think that if Old Nick was afoot in our subconscious there would be a whole lot more ritual sacrifice, demon possession, and general witch-like cackling going on. Heck, to hear some folks talk, by this time you’d expect a pentagram to have replaced the stars on the American Flag. A quick look around, however, shows that instead of the really cool sins we were promised, it’s pretty much just the same old lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and pride of life that we’ve always seen.

But maybe the conspiracy theorists will be proven right after all. Perhaps our entire society is composed of sleeper agents who harbor dormant demons unaware and some fateful day when a yet unwritten Miley Cyrus song plays on the radio, a veritable Satanic army of cartoon watchers will spring to life, wreaking havoc, sacrificing small animals, and possibly even bringing back disco. The word “nightmare” doesn’t begin to cover it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go deal with my daughter who has been watching Scooby Doo all morning and is now levitating our cat.

Update: Jordan Poss has provided me with some excerpts from the book Turmoil in the Toybox (PDF 4MB) by Phil Phillips which describes some of the various cartoons and toys are of the devil.

212 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Conspiracies”

  1. The picture looks like it came from the South Park “Imagination Land” episode.

    South Park: now that is a good cartoon that fundies (and probably many non fundies) have got to hate!

  2. Unfortunately, Star Wars is missing from the picture–most fundies had their guns turned on these movies and action figures for the better part of the past 3 decades.

  3. (these are in reference to the PDF, btw)

    Ah, yes, good ol’ “DnD is eeeeeeeeevil”! I was waiting for that to come up in the PDF.

    I’ve never quite been able to understand why DnD is evil, but RPGs based off of it are perfectly fine (other tabletop RPGs, videogame RPGs [such as the Elder Scrolls games or even things like Mass Effect or KotOR], and so on). I suspect it’s because they know so little about DnD in the first place, they aren’t able to tell when other things are based off of it.

    Also, I will agree with him on one thing: the Spider-man cartoon he’s referring to truly must have been a thing of evil. Or at least the Sixties Spider-man meme would have us think so. πŸ˜†

    Ooooh, there’s a My Little Pony reference! Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m a brony. (or at least the female equivalent) I know the old MLP show was different (and much less entertaining) than the current one, but still. Glad to see it got a shoutout. πŸ™‚

    Oh, and whatever would that guy think of anime?

      1. That’s a load of bat puckey. Googling “Michael Stackpole Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons” should turn up an extensive analysis of the anti-RPG rumorfest. The relevant part here is that there was at least one person who played D&D and, some months or years after having stopped playing the game, committed suicide. Which is like blaming my bad eyesight on the fact that some years ago I used to take the bus to work.

        1. I’ve never played any RPG in the D&D style (have played lots of video game RPGs). I’ve always assumed everything I heard about D&D was total BS. Glad to have that confirmed.

      1. Yeah, I’ve read that! As a kid, it kept me from looking into D&D further. Eventually, as I got older, I found out more and realized it wasn’t an issue.

        D&D rules are used in pretty much every RPG, even computerized ones. From what I know of how the rules work, its a pretty clever system.

      2. This single tract tells me all I need to know about Chick’s allegiance to the truth.

        As I said in another forum, a comparable tract about chess playing would include a “referee” who instructed everyone to put on funny hats before playing and commanded them to tackle each other to the ground.

        I didn’t watch much Saturday morning TV growing up because for most of my childhood we didn’t have a TV. My personal shibboleth when assessing any Christian book about popular culture is D&D. If the writer can’t get his/her facts right about my game, I don’t trust him/her on any other topic.

        1. This single tract tells me all I need to know about Chick’s allegiance to the truth.

          I’ve noticed that where it comes to talking about things they think are EEEEVIIIIL, fundies have a distressing tendency to downgrade that whole “Thou shalt not bear false witness” thing from “commandment” to “optional guideline”.

      3. Right now there’s an “old-school” movement of people creating new pencil-and-paper roleplaying games that emulate the original, simple D&D, as opposed to the modern edition. These game rules are often distributed for free online.

        One guy called his game “Dark Dungeons”. He even included a ‘sample play’ transcript, in which one of the characters has the name “Black Leaf”, like the character in the Chick tract.

        http://darkdungeonsblog.wordpress.com/

  4. Is that a rubix cube next to Strawberry Shortcake? I really never heard any preaching against those as tools of Satan! (Although since I never could solve them, maybe they were! LOL)

  5. My first time posting on here but have read a ton from all of you, you guys are hilarious. Love this one. I think I had that very book in my house but I never read it. Some “concerned” person gave it to me. I was indoctrinated with this stuff from the time I got saved and it has caused nothing but heartache in my life. I am a looney tunes person but they do promote violence and Bugs is gay because he wears a dress and kisses Elmer. Go figure :mrgreen:

    1. wow, no kidding! My wife did one of those one time, ever. Thankfully we didn’t spend much money, but we still have “samples” of her product, and it’s been about 6 years since she did it.

      I did have some guy from BJU try to get me in on his “business opportunity.” What a crock.

  6. Veggie Tales was not allowed in the nursery or anywhere on church property…it was considered “worldly” because it was popular with liberal churches and the NIV was used.

    1. Veggie Tales is “worldly”? I have to admit, that’s a new one. My own fundy mother loves Veggie Tales and made sure to stock my daughter with plenty of VHS tapes when she was younger.

      My daughter was lucky. My siblings and I had Psalty The Singing Songbook and Adventures in Odessy on the list of “approved” media. There was something about Psalty that always creeped me out…

      1. I loved, Odyssey as a kid. Still think its a good show. My mom wouldn’t let us listen to it for a while because she said we had started imitating bad attitudes of some of the kids. Eventually we were allowed to start listening to it as kids. My favorite album was the ‘Darkness Before Dawn’ story arc.

      2. The Veggie Tales music is too rocky for many fundies. Also some fundies get very offended at the liberties they take with Bible stories: they think children will be confused about the truth and think Daniel really was a talking cucumber.

      3. Yes, Psalty and Barney have the same creepiness factor. I am sad to admit I read that book and wouldn’t let my oldest child watch a lot of those cartoons like ninga turtles etc. He still loves me though. Many of us have things that make us cringe and we regret that IFB churches indoctrinated us on and now that we don’t believe it anymore they would call us “backslidden” and “in the world”. This post has a personal “twitch” factor for me. πŸ™

        1. We had a large collection of Care Bears at that time and they were so cute, but I got rid of them because of the book. Yeah many fundies don’t do Veggie Tales because of the music, I LOVE Veggie Tales!

    2. Yeah, Veggies Tales was evil at my old fundie church because of the music and the fact that they used the NIV, which was the work of Satan. One time when we were on vacation with some family friends, they started watching VT and my mom let us watch it, but we were strictly prohibited from mentioning it to our friends back at church.

  7. During the ’80s, Many Fundies and Evangelicals focused more on what form The Whore of Babylon or “False Prophet” would take than “I think So and So is the Anti-Christ”. “The New Age Movement” was supposed to introduce young children to supernatural power through toys and Saturday Morning Cartoon endowed with magical powers.

    The Second Coming was supposed to happen in 1988. Some people got paranoid.

    Being that the Rapture didn’t happen in 1988, Some people got fearful over the possibility that The New Age Movement would have their children trained as powerful New Age mystics by the year 2000.

      1. Actually The Rapture was back in 2008, but there weren’t enough Fundamentalist Christian married gay couples to be “taken up” (yes, they’re the _only_ ones who make the cut), so nobody noticed.

        Do You Believe That?

  8. This pic is awesome. I’m fairly sure it’s by J.Scott Campbell. As it screams of his style. Thought I’d mention it since there have been lots of comments and I didn’t notice any credit.

    I had a friend who couldn’t watch cartoons when I was a kid. (cause of religion) My kid self just found it weird, and so he was weird. Poor guy. We were friends for a bit, but he found it pretty hard to fit in. It’s kind of like torturing your kid.

  9. Deja vu- my parents had that Turmoil in the Toybox book when I was a kid. As a voracious reader who grew up in a household that included a large library of books like this and no worthwhile literature, I can tell you that it’s a really boring book.

  10. Fortunately, my parents didn’t buy into any of that part of fundyism, so I grew up believing in magic, She-Ra (my heroine–I begged my mom to change my name to Adora, and I’d still name a daughter that if given the opportunity), He-Man, unicorns, and magical rock groups named Jem. And I don’t regret a minute of it–in fact, it’s helped me maintain my faith in the real thing. And, it doesn’t hurt my identity as a child of the eighties, either. πŸ˜‰

  11. This would probably give Phil Phillips and other Fundies a stroke:

    About 8 years ago, my then-3 year old nephew was a big fan of the Powerpuff Girls cartoon. He had a big pillow shaped like Buttercup that he’d carry around with him. And he’d often want to play, him pretending to be Buttercup, and me pretending to be the villain, super-intelligent chimp Mojo Jojo. (Usually it involved me being battered by his tiny fists.)

    One time he said “I’m not Ryan, I’m Buttercup!”.

    It was cute, and funny, and we didn’t worry about him identifying with a girl cartoon character. For one thing, Buttercup’s the toughest fighter, and has a tomboy attitude with kind of a deep scratchy voice compared to the others.

    Anyway, that lasted about six months or a year, and then he moved on to the Hulk, Spiderman, Power Rangers, etc.

  12. The black armor dude on the right is Baron Karza from the Micronauts comic and toy line. Don’t think there was a cartoon series in the 80s, though. Sadly.

  13. If you’re on LinkedIn, check out Phil Phillips’ photo. He’s the Phill Phillips in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy, he lists a 1990s book he wrote about good toys for your kids, but not the

    He looks kinda gothy.

  14. I remember my parents having the book “Turmoil in the Toybox.” We were not allowed to watch He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Rainbow Brite. My poor parents are very smart people. They just got sucked in to the bologna.

  15. Just a thought here. Right off the bat I found a problem (not hard I know). The author of this demon busters news letter tells a story how he cast a demon out of his daughters doll in her room. That clearly is a lie. Everyone knows if God is present (and He clearly is based on the authority the author has to cast out demons) in the home that a demon can’t be present. So there’s no real need to read further unless you need some comic relief. Most would mindlessly agree with this guy and let the painfully obvious soar right over their heads

  16. Memorable things my mom said on Saturday Mornings:

    “We don’t even watch the Ghostbusters cereal commercial!”
    “No magical cats.” (No magical anything, really.)
    “A ‘game master’ has something to do with Dungeons & Dragons, and you should not have anything to do with Dungeons & Dragons!”

    The last one was in regards to a show called “Captain N: The Game Master”. It used several Nintendo games as backdrop, and the premise was given a Tron plot treatment. It had absolutely nothing to do with Dungeons & Dragons. She really couldn’t get things into context. “Dungeon Master” was what the D & D game used. While “game master” is a generic term for other game publishers to use. She probably thought that Satanic High Priest Gary Gygax had “Gamemaster” copywrited.

    Of course, during those days, she was weary of the word “new” being proceeded by “age” in ad copy. Same with “one” and “world”.

    For example:

    “Join the new age of fitness.” [at some gym.]
    “One World. One Card.” (Credit card television ad.)

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