Feb 19

Pokemon: Children’s Show or Romanticized Cock Fighting?

If you’re trying to access this article from a computer at your school or place of business, I apologize. You most likely can’t view this article because, if your computer’s censorship software works anything like my school’s, your system saw the fragments “romantic” and “cock fighting” and exploded. Nonetheless, for those of you who can actually read this, it’s time to have an important conversation. For years, our kids have been driven away from the evils of the outdoors, exercise, and boyhood adventure by the warm glow of television and Gameboy screens. And for years, the franchise that has been filling those screens has been Pokemon. Pokemon has, at least superficially, all the elements of a safe children’s show. It’s morally dichotomous with little ambiguity. It’s about the importance of orienting oneself about one’s goals. It’s about the importance of hard work and attention to detail. And it’s about the value of capturing wild animals and forcibly training them to fight one another in organized battles for the entertainment and monetary benefit of others.

Is this appropriate to show our kids? Don’t get me wrong I have no qualms with showing acts of human violence to kids (that’s why I let my kids watch Dragon Ball Z), but animal violence?┬áThat’s despicable. There’s nothing worse than animal violence, not even murder. The NFL has taught us that.

But the biggest question here is as to whether kids who watch the show can actually identify it as animal cruelty. I certainly never saw anything morally questionable about the show when I was a kid, and I think I turned out pretty well. Still, if a kid can’t tell it’s wrong, and doesn’t identify it as wrong, isn’t it still wrong? These are the questions that keep me up at night. These are also the questions that keep my parents up, as I usually ask them these questions as they go to sleep. So the world goes.

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