There is a certain Mad Libs quality to evangelical concerns about pop culture. My entire conscious life, spanning the 80s to now with only the occasional brownout during the college years, there has always been a demon hiding behind something.
And never behind what you'd expect, such as poverty, prejudice, illiteracy, malnutrition, yadda yadda yadda. No, demons, it turns out, are a bit craftier than that.
For quite a while they hid in witches and warlocks. They moved on to alcohol in the 19th century, and from there to drugs, pornography, and comedians in the 20th. Really, things couldn't be simpler for parents to keep a handle on up until thirty years ago.
Since then, demons have been scurrying all over the place. You've got your Ouija Board possessions for starters. Then all those kids that Dungeons and Dragons turned to murder or a mental institution. Heavy metal subliminal messages inducing suicides and devil worship. Goth music and the computer game Doom laying the groundwork for the Columbine tragedy. Spongebob and the Teletubbies turning your kids gay.
(To that last point, I've always found it odd that pro wrestling never gets even an honorable mention, but I guess it just goes to show how subtle demons will be. A year of WWF magazine and five Wrestlemanias under my belt during my formative years, I'm quite surprised to have made it through with my heterosexuality intact, brother. Though it was the Andre the Giant years, so obviously well worth any risk.)
Good clean fun? Or secret/phantom menace?
Anyway, the family values machine now focuses its insatiable concern upon Bioware, makers of the long anticipated and allegedly quite fun MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, which already commits the sin of allowing at least two great Daily Kos guilds to exist on its server. Beyond that, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council warns us of a new and looming threat to the children.
As things stand, if you play the video game you can have "companion characters", basically computer-generated, computer-operated in-game people that talk to you, help you fight, or whatever. Part of this interaction, in this role-playing game, is that the character you control in this fictional computer universe can have "romance" options with companion characters of a different gender.
This is already a bit bizarre. We have well-defined gender roles in real-life relationships, going so far as to defend marriage by describing in law who may marry whom and fully respecting and honoring the marriage vows binding one partner to another for life. But how are we supposed to feel about a male graphic and a female graphic expressing feelings for each other in fantasyland?
Well, hang on to your virtual hats, people, because it gets worse. Bioware has said that, while at this point, only male and female graphics can, uh, "romance", it will be rolling out new content where male and male graphics or female and female graphics can "romance" too. This is actually, in Perkins' words, "the biggest threat to the empire" in the game!
Who wants to see a Star Wars where the Empire loses? And more than that, where does it end if you allow same gender "romance"ing in a completely made-up setting? (Don't show the guy Second Life.) We are completely at risk of losing our real values within this interactive toy and don't even realize it. Hey, Bioware, instead of wasting all your time on this "romance" nonsense, maybe you should give everybody a REAL character companion that constantly tells them why they and their lifestyle are wrong while they're playing an online video game.
To further drive the point home, I conclude with a cautionary tale from personal experience, not two nights old.
I was playing another long anticipated and extremely fun game called Skyrim. Unlike Star Wars: The Old Republic, this game is played entirely offline with computer characters and is thus free of wickedness, or so I believed. Through toil, dedication, and a seemingly endless quantity of soft drinks, I managed to carry my swarthy Dragonborn character to level 31, when he encountered in his wanderings a gentleman forbidding him access to a mine.
With some convincing, my character agreed to clear the mine of monsters and with my steady leadership and quick wits managed to accomplish the task.
Upon emerging from the mine and informing the aforementioned gentleman of the completion of the mission, a new option appeared in the dialog menu for my character to ask him: "Are you interested in me?" I clicked it. Who wouldn't be interested in the Dragonborn on his quest to crush badness into the ground one skull at a time, I reasoned, especially if this was some sort of spy upon whose traits my character pounced with some sort of mental radar-like impulse.
The man then said, "Why wouldn't I be? Are you interested in me?" I was, indeed. A prelude to treachery surely forthcoming, as already I'd slain a number of assailants seeking to prevent my character from saving the world. Was this a Thalmor agent? A member of the Dark Brotherhood seeking to fulfill a contract, perhaps? I licked my lips and hovered my hands over the keys that would deliver this man to his final, magically produced icicle-pierced fate. I clicked "Yes."
I see the reply. "It's settled then. Brief as life can be in Skyrim, at least we'll have each other." Wait, what? This wasn't coup de grace, it was tête-à-tête! The game snuck me into turning gay, and I guess French, somehow? Thanks a heap, Tony "Too Late" Perkins, for your belated warnings about the hidden threat of video game homosexuality.