You had the moral panic in the 50’s surrounding “graphic” comic books and how they cause delinquency in kids. Caused by a German Psychologist mentioning nonsense such as “bondage” in Wonder Women Comics, and how Batman and Robin were “Gay Lovers”. The readers effected by the Comic Books, supposedly, were kids.
Now we jump 20 years later to the Dungeons and Dragons moral Panic. The main claim in this moral panic is that kids were being possessed by Devils. Why? The nature of the table top RPG, made it so that the players would “role-play” as fictitious characters, making it so when their character did something, they would often say “I am” doing the action. Extremist religious groups took that as a sign that Satan was possessing them. You got dozens of groups attacking DND for supposed satanic ritual content, and demonic summoning allegations came soon after. Who was the “victim” in the Panic. Kids… Again.
Fast forward to the Metal Moral Panic of the 80’s. Subliminal messages were corrupting the kids. To make them drink, do drugs, have sex, worship satan, rape babies, sodomize Nuns, want to marry sheep, and worse! Of course all of that is BS. There is no such thing as a backwards or subliminal message that actually does what the proponents of subliminal or backwards messages claim. It’s impossible for you to make out 1 frame out of many 60 frames per second animations to see the “hidden” sex scene. If you can’t see it, neither can your subconscious. With backwards messages, the claim is that your mind reads things backwards so you can understand the messages, deep down inside…. But that doesn’t make sense either…. But who were the targets of these damn hidden satanic subliminal messages in all the rock and Metal Records…. Kids… Again…
Then the damn evangelists in El Paso kept telling the police that satanic cultists who were either Mexican American or Metal-heads were secretly molesting kids, and “Eating Babies”. No proof found… Yet another moral panic… The Victim… Kids. Babies. Metal-heads are eating our babies. Oh Joy!
Now you have the 15 year old set of 5 moral panics surrounding violent games.
A) They make kids violent. Enforced by dozens of “studies” that the media keeps on claiming prove this violence, but they are flawed and only prove aggression. The victim… Kids.
B) They train kids by either breaking down the inhibition to kill, or make kids a better shooter in real life. The target… Kids.
C) They are being marketed to kids due to all the “ads” they see everywhere… The target of all these ads… Kids.
D) Video game console makers use a mineral called “coltan” from the Congo to make their PS2/Xbox/etc. It’s mined using child labor. The victim – Kids.
E) Violent games are used as a recruitment tool for the US military. To recruit… Kids.
Notice a pattern? In all these moral Panics kids are the purported victim. Comic books make kids delinquent. DND makes them possessed. Metal makes them Satanists. Video games make them violent. These are all the major moral panics of the 20’th century. Bigger ones from the 1700’s like the Salem Witch Trials don’t count because they were before the 20’th century. In 3 of these moral Panics (Comic Books, Metal, Violent Games), the government cracked down on the entertainment in question, regulating and censoring it, just to “save the children”. To me, to start a massive moral panic, you need kids as the victim. Everyone assumes they are all innocent and can’t do any wrong, and when a massive entertainment industry giant starts “harming the children”, everyone starts to overreact, and strongly attacks the industry for fake allegations that have been completely fabricated in some cases. In the metal moral panic, very few real bands really were using backmasking and subliminal messaging and the parents groups kept misinterpreting lyrics to demonize the bands. The “satanic” bands like Slayer are fairly rare in Popular Metal, even then. Most metal bands write about societal issues and Satan is rarely brought up unless it is to tell the tale of him possessing, or enticing people, to show the ills of temptation, in bands that write lyrics like that (Iron Maiden, did lyrics like this a lot). In the DND moral panic, roleplaying was mistook for possession. In the Coltan, video game, and Comic Book Moral Panics, nonsense was willingly made up to demonize the Artform inflicted. Coltan is mostly mined in Australia. Not Congo. And it’s used in ALL forms of electronics, from Cell phones to stereo systems. Not just for PS2’s. But the panic spreaders failed to mention either. They also claimed that 85% of the Coltan mined was from Congo, an inflated number. Wikipedia shows that less than 5% of Coltan comes from Congo. In the Video Game Moral Panic, nonsense was made up to make it look like School shooters were influenced by violent games, often times hoaxes were used and cited by newspapers, and to make it worse, psychologists actually spent the time to write books filled with nonsense claims about violent games being used in the military to break down the inhibition to kill. Then all the right wing attacking groups kept on making up new lies. This by far, is the worst example of scaremongering seen in ANY moral panic.
Can you name a single recent (within the last 50 years) moral Panic where kids aren’t the victim? I can only name one, the panic over Terrorism in the US that has been going around, fueling both Racism towards Muslims and the War on Terror. In that moral panic, the religious right perpetrate most of the scaremongering and the targets are random people. Not necessarily “2 year olds”. It’s all about “saving the children”, in all these moral Panics.
- Technology and Moral Panic (tech.slashdot.org)
- Women And Children First: Technology And Moral Panic (blogs.wsj.com)
- Panic over Violent video game Ads. (erosionoffreedom.wordpress.com)
- Train Reading: Buried in Paper (blogs.wsj.com)
- Doom will become reality? Idiot blogger blames columbine on Doom again!!!! (erosionoffreedom.wordpress.com)
- Debunking 5 Violent game myths the anti-gamers spread around (erosionoffreedom.wordpress.com)
- Why in the Blue hell do Bloggers get sued for LIBEL? (erosionoffreedom.wordpress.com)
- Ghost Rider’s Satanic Seventies (bigthink.com)
- Captain America Comic Book Covers Featuring Bondage Fan Bucky (bigbaddie.com)