Of Skyrimming, overzealous Christianity, and reading comprehension


One of my absolute favorite theist parody sites is ChristWire. They are, for all intents and purposes, a proving ground for Poe’s Law. There, the most ridiculous parodies of fundamentalist or evangelical Chrsitian reactions to everyday occurrences or aspects of pop culture are mimicked to such a high degree that, all too often, real Christians believe the parody and act according to their consciences.

In this case, ChristWire took aim at the recent Bethesda game Skyrim.

Right off the bat, the gay supporting software company Blizzard, shows the player images of decapitations and after the third of forth head chopping, a necromatic dragon appears and sets the player free from righteous punishment. Now that the player is free, they will spend the next 400 hours robbing people, killing villagers, crafting sexual items, fornicate with elves and other Harry Potter style animals and also learn how to conjure up black magic.

Emphasis mine.

[…]
Skyrim Jobs – Skyrimming is a street term the gays use when talking about applying their tongues to the outer rim part of another man’s sewer spout, while that man is being hung upside down. See the gays have weird fetishes and are close to Satan. Satan speaks to them and tells them news ways on how to experience demonic orgasmic sin. Satan has recently taught our fecal fisting bandits that if you hang each other upside down and let the blood rush to the head, the anal dumpster becomes more sensitive to touch and we all know gays wake up and fall asleep just day dreaming about sticking something up their own or someone else’s sewer hole.

If you notice your son has become more light headed around the house, this is a definite warning that he has been Skyrim jobbing.

One of the commenters on the comments thread, Stephenson Billings, posted in support of the article’s “thorough journalism”. Shortly thereafter, a petition appeared on the White House’s We The People site by B. Stephenson:

“We petition the Obama administration to: Immediately Ban the Deadly Videogame Known as ‘SkyRim’ for The Safety of America’s Youths.

“Whereas videogaming has proven to cause social, ethical and health problems in people of all ages,

“Whereas sexual perversion and homosexuality are threatening to destroy the Christian foundations on which this nation was built,

“Whereas a new video game has just been created that far exceeds any others in the psychological and spiritual damage it does to teens,

“We, the American people, today ask you,

1. To enact an immediate ban on the videogame known as ‘SkyRim’ produced by Blizzard Entertainment.
2. To seize and destroy all copies already in public hands and erase its presence on the internet.
3. To prosecute the players of ‘SkyRim’ to the fullest extent of the law.
4. To create a national database of videogame avatars and ‘screen names’ so that teenagers can be better monitored.”

Never mind that Skyrim is a single-player game and doesn’t connect to the internet at all, the fact that this petition expects to be able to erase its “presence on the internet” is hilarious. As though any successful petition could ever do that.

When I first stumbled across this article on StrategyInformer, I was taken in. I didn’t notice the link to the original ChristWire article and I was going to rush right off to my blog to post about it, staunch defender of atheism, video games, gay rights and reality-based policy that I am. But the “Blizzard” mistake reminded me of the Skyrim article I’d seen on ChristWire a few months before, and I doubled back to find it, and found Stephenson on the comments.

I honestly could not tell the difference between this initiative and any of the, say, American Family Association initiatives against gays, or the One Million Moms fight against Ellen DeGeneres being the spokesperson for J C Penney, or the constant moral panics about video games. And I almost posted something ragey and ranty about yet another overzealous Christian freakout over something innocuous and harmless. I almost embarassed myself over a Poe that I missed completely. When I realized my error, I breathed something of a sigh of relief.

Then someone posted this link on an old thread about Christians and Pokemon.

The Pokemon mania supports a financial conglomerate that knows how to feed the frenzy. The television series is free, but it drives the multi-billion dollar business. It also inspires the obsessive new games that disrupt schools and families by giving the children —

a seductive vision: to become Pokemon masters
a tempting promise: supernatural power
a new objective: keep collecting Pokemon
an urgent command: “gotta catch them all”

These enticements are drilled into young minds through clever ads, snappy slogans, and the “Pokeman rap” at the end of each TV episode:

“I will travel across the land
Searching far and wide
Each Pokeman to understand
The power that’s inside.
Gotta catch them all!”

The last line, the Pokemon mantra, fuels the craving for more occult cards, games, toys, gadgets, and comic books. There’s no end to the supply, for where the Pokemon world ends, there beckons an ever-growing empire of new, more thrilling, occult, and violent products. Each can transport the child into a fantasy world that eventually seems far more normal and exciting than the real world. Here, evil looks good and good is dismissed as boring. Family, relationships, and responsibilities diminish in the wake of the social and media pressures to master the powers unleashed by the massive global entertainment industry.

I’m convinced that this one’s serious. I’ve seen enough anti-Pokemon theist whargarbl in the past few years to know when theists have chosen a legitimate pop-culture target for their Five Minutes Hate that this one is almost certainly not a Poe. Most of them have moved on to Harry Potter, but some still think Pokemon is the be-all and end-all harbinger of the End Times.

And that just makes me sad. There is so much irrationality out there. In a way, I wish there were no Poes to have to deal with, to sort out who’s legitimately deluded, because it’s literally impossible to tell the difference between a Christian fundamentalist going on a hate crusade against some aspect of popular culture, and a parody of such. There’s enough complete nonsense in what they really believe that there’s no shortage of whargarbl on the internet.

And yet, I still like ChristWire.

It’s complicated.

Comments

  1. Yellow Thursday says

    …crafting sexual items, fornicate with elves and other Harry Potter style animals…

    *perks up* Really? Must be later in the game, because I haven’t seen it yet.

    Must play more Skyrim!

  2. Marshall says

    I went to a Christian school for 8th grade (I was homeschooled prior to that), and had been playing the original Gameboy Pokemon games; it seemed everyone was playing them during that particular period of time. Standing in line for lunch, a friend and I struck up a conversation, which was promptly interrupted by the principal shouting “NO! That POKEMAN is NOT A GOOD GUY!”. That’s an exact quote. I’ll never forget that. Less than a week later, the school sent out a newsletter about how important it was to protect children from the evils of Pokemon, and yes, Harry Potter books. My games were taken away, and my Dad went with the rest of the school’s parents and teachers to picket the opening of the first Harry Potter movie later on. I think that was the first time I remember realizing that Christians often overreact to things that are really quite harmless. Formative experience, I suppose.

  3. Alverant says

    I thought Skyrim connected to the internet for DRM. If you’re not connected, you can’t authenticate the program you paid for, so you can’t play. Erasing it off the internet would prevent authentication and thus people from playing it.

    And Pokemon is pretty evil. The kids leave home and school to wander around unsupervised and put animals into little balls then force them to fight each other for fun. Yes kids, cockfighting is OK if the animals are cute!

  4. Marshall says

    And Pokemon is pretty evil. The kids leave home and school to wander around unsupervised and put animals into little balls then force them to fight each other for fun. Yes kids, cockfighting is OK if the animals are cute!

    Is this a joke? If so, feel free to ignore everything else I say. If NOT, then hell, what can I say, by that rational just about any game that has ever existed is evil. Most games use conflict of some sort as a gameplay element, often the central one, or as a plot element. This is true of novels and movies as well. I’m not entirely sure what you’re advocating for; should fictional characters never do anything that we wouldn’t want ACTUAL humans to do?

  5. John Horstman says

    What’s really astounding is that someone could fall for that article when it reads like a computer algorithm wrote it by picking phrases out of “computer game” and “gay sex” dictionaries.

  6. Rawnaeris says

    …yeah Christwire has been known to fool me before, especially since it has a tendency to show up in my Zite app where I can’t see the original article right away.

  7. sqlrob says

    I thought Skyrim connected to the internet for DRM. If you’re not connected, you can’t authenticate the program you paid for, so you can’t play.

    Sort of. The PC version does (Steam), but the console versions are fine without connectivity.

  8. Alverant says

    Marshall I was joking … mostly. Yes, I’ll grant that if you think about things rationally some games would be considered evil if done IRL and there is a suspension of disbelief necessary. But Pokemon goes beyond just about everything else I’ve seen. I’m not advocating for anything. I know it’s just a kids show and game, but that doesn’t mean I can’t poke fun at it.

  9. sithrazer says

    “crafting sexual items”

    Actually, that was Fallout 3 and all my fault. Steel….phallus (trying to keep things PG, though I don’t know why).

    It might be flagged as mature content and so require signing up to view. Suffice to say, it is a sexual aid turned melee weapon.

    Now that the Creation Kit has finally been released, I’ll have to see about porting it over to Skyrim and putting at least a little truth into that silly article. :p

  10. Midnight Rambler says

    I honestly could not tell the difference between this initiative and any of the, say, American Family Association initiatives against gays, or the One Million Moms fight against Ellen DeGeneres being the spokesperson for J C Penney, or the constant moral panics about video games. And I almost posted something ragey and ranty about yet another overzealous Christian freakout over something innocuous and harmless. I almost embarassed myself over a Poe that I missed completely. When I realized my error, I breathed something of a sigh of relief.

    Yes, the Christwire article is a Poe, but I’m pretty sure Stephenson Billings isn’t. He just posted a comment today in the article about the Prop 8 decision saying:

    This is simply an outrageous act by an out of the control judiacry. Newt Gingrich is right, these bums should be hauled before Congress and explain themselves. Clearly the voters don’t matter? Every state in the Union has a majority who opposes hardcore homosexual marriage and then along comes the homosexual judges appointed by Clinton to punish Christians and degrade true marriage. This is absolutely disgusting and I don’t understand why these pervs want to get married in the first place.

    It seems like at least 2/3 of the commenters there, from both sides, think Christwire is serious.

  11. says

    sithrazer: dude. That was you? Awesome. I LOL’d hard at that one when I was basically installing every single extension in the Fallout Nexus. Yes, I was pretty obsessed.

    Listen though — when you do import this to Skyrim, could you be a bit more careful about the clipping on it this time through? I only say this because I don’t want to be torn from my immersion when I’m dual-wielding (dual-wielding!!!) two great big steel dildos, and I notice my hand is kinda going through the base.

    Going to make it a dagger for the 15x sneak attack buff, or a mace for, um, realism? :D

  12. Alverant says

    I’m surprised they didn’t mention how in Saints Row 3 you can run around naked and beat people to death with a giant purple dildo.

  13. says

    Pokemon? Dude, I played Dungeons and Dragons in the 80s. I was learning the Dark Arts at the tender age of 10, casting Magic Missile and trying to navigate the restrictive multiclassing of AD&D, all while listening to metal music like Slayer, Metallica, and Megadeth and drinking that most Satanic of beverages: Jolt cola.

    To listen to the religious right back then, I’m certain the only reason that there aren’t dozens of bodies buried under my house is my Good Christian Upbringing. And the fact there’s Black Widows under my trailer and I’m moderately arachnophobic.

  14. sithrazer says

    I’m a horrible procrastinator, so who knows when (or really, if) I’ll get around to it, but when (if) I do, I shall endeavor to replace the giant’s clubs with painfully massive versions, and make them dual wieldable. Just to fuck with your immersion. :p

    I suppose I could hack up a sword/dagger hilt and replace the blade with the dildo and that should guarantee a clean grip. But then I’d have to start on the Ren-Faire jokes about food on sticks.

    While my mind is in the gutter, I bet I could whip up an enchant that makes them vibrate. For your adventuring pleasure, of course.

    I did, at one point, consider making it a replacement for the Ripper in FO3/NV, leave the sound and everything alone, just swap the model.

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