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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Turmoil in the Toybox (Humor) (Non Fiction)

by Phil Phillips

Publisher: Starburst Publishers; 3rd Printing edition (September 1990)

Softcover 191 pages

Finished 9/20/2017

Amazon Listing 

    “After extensive research Christian Life Research  and other experts have concluded that Dungeons and Dragons is not a game. Instead they claim that it is a teaching on demonology, witchcraft, voodoo, murder, rape, blasphemy, suicide, assassination, insanity, sex perversion, homosexuality, prostitution, Satan worship, gambling, Jungian psychology, barbarism, cannibalism, sadism, desecration, demon summoning, necromantics, and divination.”
    Looks like I’ve been playing a different game.
    An unintentionally hysterical book on the Occult terrors lurking in the toy boxes of American children. This was originally written in the 80s and revolves around most of the toy lines I grew up playing. And while I did become a Satanist, I doubt it was because I once picked up a Cabbage Patch Kid.
    Make no mistake, this is not really a full sized book. Ostensibly it is 191 pages, but seventeen of those are the gallery filled with pictures of toys which you already know how to visualize, ten of those are footnotes, and the font size is extra large. I will get something out of the way, to the author's credit he doesn’t claim the problems with the toy industry is due to a Satanic cabal as did many of his brethren. He is more focused on occult influence from humanist and eastern religions, but his worries are exaggerated to a ridiculous degree. 
The face of evil
    Pastor Phil Phillips (No to be confused with the singer of the same name, the one who gave us “Sea of Love”) was an evangelical missionary. That is one who roams around in revival tents and so forth, with no permanent flock to call his own. In order to make an impact, give himself some distinction, he decided to “bravely” go after the toy industry (not any specific company mind you- don’t want to get sued) for inserting occultism into their daily lives. Currently he’s running a non-profit in Texas, called God Loves Kids.
    The author has a shaky idea of what should be considered occult. He never fully explains it, either because he doesn’t know, or perhaps it was more effective as an ill-defined catch-all term for non-Christian. Or should I say non-evangelical fundamentalist Christian, which is its own thing. This was written during a time when there was a big anti-Catholic push in the fundamentalist community. The pope was the antichrist and spreading the word of Satan. Anything not part of foot-washing baptist dogma was suspect, which is why you have doom peddlers like the author lumping Buddhism, Judaism, Wicca, Satanism, and Hinduism into the same evil lump. I suppose, though, from his perspective it is.
    The author does make some good points about parenting. Rather, he parrots some good points. Much of the useful information here is cited from other sources, which I will give him credit for. He has done research and does not plagiarize. Though much of what he has to say is common sense. Pay attention to what your kids are watching on television, limit the amount they watch each day, make sure they are eating healthy. Howver, as most of the toy lines he mentions here Rainbow Bright, He-Man, Crystar, etc are dead franchises, which tends to lessen the impact of his message. 
Glamor shots of author Phil Phillips
    He saves special venom for Masters of the Universe and Dungeons and Dragons. Apart from the supposed occult angle, was use of cartoons to push toys. This was a hot button issue at the time, and He-Man was the first cartoon and toy line to be produced simultaneously. After their massive success, nearly all  new toys and cartoon followed the same pattern. He rails against this as a brainwashing of children to be mindless consumer drones, and so on. The occult angle is specious. Skeletor had a staff with a ram’s skull on it, a sign of evil. This offended our author even though the character is clearly the series main villain. He-Man is the most powerful man in the universe, when that should be "Je-Sus".
    He then goes on to bash various other toys and cartoon. He does state that while the toy may appear to be harmless, they in conjunction with the cartoon may call up occult practices. My Little Pony is evil because, “the unicorn is a symbol of the antichrist.” In this case he’s getting his occultism mixed up. He writes, “the New Age, also known as the Golden Age, is referred to as the Age of Aquarius or the Eon of Horus.” Now this perhaps a little esoteric but New Age has nothing to do with the Eon of Horus. The latter is part of the philosophy of the Thelemites, the religion promoted by Aleister Crowley and associates. Lumping them together as if they are the same thing demonstrates a lack of understanding on the author. While there may be some similarities, there is a significant enough difference in my mind.  Care Bears, G.I.Joe, E.T., Star Wars toys and so on are attacked next. Basically anything you enjoyed as a child was evil in some manner and that's why you're such a horrible person.
    The purpose behind this occult influence is prompt the kid to act out occult practices with the toys, while the child is under the impression that they are just playing. The toy acting as an occult avatar or surrogate for the helpless child. Then the child will supplant the toy and perform the evil rituals or rites or what have you themselves (the specifics are unclear), allowing them to be seduced into the homosexual lifestyle, abortion parties, and general evil. 
Seducers of the innocent.
    The condemnation of Dungeons and Dragons (which my parents briefly fell for) centers around the same hoary old chestnuts anyone who played tabletop RPGs in the 80s will be familiar with. Most of it is typified by the quote at the beginning of this review. RPGs are Satanic, they teach occult practices and evil magic, they cause the loss of a personal ego into a paper homunculus, etc. The author only mentions D&D by name, but I assume his ire extends to all other RPGs as well, though he more than likely doesn’t know what they are. 
       I’ve heard all of this before. It sent me back to a frustrating time when I had to patiently explain to my parents how bullshit it all is. They didn’t believe me, but I eventually wore them down until they shut up about it.  "The book says", "The book says" was their mantra, as if the printed word couldn't be a lie. Guess what, it can and does!
    In general this book takes a lot of material gathered by other groups on toys, films, and cartoons in the 80s and puts a paranoid fundamentalist spin on it. As I wrote above, the fact that most of these cartoons and toys are now defunct, and that those who played with them are all adults, shines a bright light on how crazy these suppositions are.It's fun for all the wrong reasons.
           For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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