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File:Satan rock.gif

Satan explains the plan behind rock music. (Strangely, he seems to misremember that he founded Motley Crue in 1981.)


It has long been known that the older generation has always been suspicious of those things that capture the attention of the younger generation. Nowhere is this more true than in the field of entertainment.

At least once a decade, something new — a new genre, a new medium, what have you — comes along and grabs society by the cojones. Everybody's heard of it, and it's not long until someone comes by and realizes, "Hey, if I complain about this, everyone will listen to me!"

So they do; they make great warnings about how it's corrupting the moral fiber of poor, helpless children with inexorable brainwashing; they claim it increases juvenile delinquency, decreases attention span, and pollutes their bodily fluids. If they actually bother to back these assertions up, they'll pull out a few rare examples of it "corrupting" people, that when you examine carefully, usually turn out to be exaggerated anyway (or the lowlifes in question were pretty messed up to begin with). And people listen; not everyone, not even a majority, but enough to cause a stir. Often, this causes bannings, panicky newspaper articles, and Very Special Episodes about the subject.

Usually, within a few years, the fever has died down, and there's only vague echoes of "oh, yeah, that's Satanic" left in the communal memory. Some subcommunities forget faster than others, of course...

Note that cultures confronting actual social problems or actual external enemies will tend to skip an iteration of the cycle.

Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000 is another expression of this. New Media Are Evil is related, as is Nostalgia Filter, Everyone Is Satan in Hell, and Rock Me, Asmodeus. Compare Banned in China. The appearance of The Moral Substitute is a possible result of this trope.

Examples of The New Rock and Roll include:

Anime & Manga

  • On Sept. 18, 2007, a teenage girl in Kyoto hacked her father's head in half with an axe. The event made a huge impact in the Japanese media, where it was linked to an event in the first season of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni where a teenage girl cleaves a man's head in half (to defend her father). Despite the episode in question having aired over a year ago, the next scheduled episode of the second season was canceled, as was the final episode of School Days. That the girl had said in an earlier interview that she wanted to be a Mangaka didn't help.

    The Japanese media attitude towards anime and manga goes much longer back. Around the late '80s, a serial child killer was found out to have several Lolicon manga in his home, and the media jumped the illogical conclusion that the killer had been guided by these stories and could no longer tell the real world from fiction, and pushed out lovely headlines like "There is an army of 10,000 killers raised by manga in our country". The Otaku lifestyle was also called anti-social, ironic, considering that the annual (and soon thereafter, bi-annual) Comiket was one of the largest public gatherings in Japan.
  • Death Note has earned some media attention, with various public figures overreacting to people creating replicas of the titular note. To be fair, this is partially justified, as someone bringing their shit-list to school probably should raise a few eyebrows. And, well... if the teachers at Light's school had raised a fuss over a student bringing in a Death Note, it would've saved the SPK plenty of trouble finding him.
  • Pick any headline about some ten-year-old that got Hentai out from the library. Remember... unless specifically instructed not to by the parent of an underage patron, librarians loan out anything in the library (except reference books) to any patron, no questions asked. They can think whatever they like about it, but a patron can borrow whatever they want. It's policy.
  • An episode of The Good Wife featured a sleazy murderer who had manga-style artwork in his house, which he even referred to as manga to make sure we got it. And then he gave one of them to the main character as thanks for helping him beat the rap. This was all gratuitously and embarrassingly irrelevant to the episode's story, and was clearly thrown in just because the writer thought this is what manga fans are like.

Comic Books

  • Psychiatrist Frederic Wertham wrote a book in 1954, luridly titled Seduction Of The Innocent. It blamed comics, especially the crime and horror genres popular at the time, for juvenile delinquency, as well as corrupting sexual themes. He appeared before the Senate subcommittee on juvenile delinquency, which lead to veiled threats of censorship; in the end, the industry adopted the self-regulating Comics Code. Ironically, this may have helped the Superhero genre, since it was easy enough for it to produce simple tales of good versus evil that even the harshest censor would pass.

    While it doesn't excuse Wertham's jerkassery, he was not entirely making it up — comics at the time tended to have stories that would be judged PG-13 even by today's standards. Wonder Woman, for example, had a good bit of BDSM themes that track back to her creator's interests, research, and Word of God. Comics weren't quite as innocent at the time as what survived into subsequent decades. Wertham was definitely playing it up, but the material is stuff even today's parents wouldn't want their younger children reading.
    • What makes the whole Comic Code thing worse is that Wertham really wasen't that bad of a guy. He didn't want the Code to be founded and was against it. He just thought that comics should have a rating system like TV and movies.
  • Rock and Roll is still sometimes demonized; Batman: Fortunate Son has Batman fights against the evils of Rock and Roll and was published in 1999. The main villain of the comic is an insane and evil version of Kurt Cobain who is driven to madness by the ghost of Elvis Presley. (Linkara did a review of the comic.) Also, Batman hates rock music after witnessing a rocker kill his girlfriend.

 Batman: Punk (music) is nothing but death and crime and the rage of a beast!

    • Not to mention the fact that — of course — he'd been listening to rock music on the radio on the day his parents were murdered and his father made him switch it off, which naturally made him associate it with and blame it for the death of his parents. One gets the feeling that Bruce Wayne couldn't do anything on that fateful day without somehow retroactively linking it to the death of his parents. Fridge Logic kicks in when you realize that if Bruce had simply insisted on continuing to listen to his radio his parents would've stayed home with him and they wouldn't have died in the first place.
  • Inverted in an issue of Cthulhu Tales, which reveals that the development of rock music and its later subgenres and expansion into more experimental forms of music are in fact what's keeping humanity from being driven mad and held in thrall to an Eldritch Abomination.


  • It's one that flares up every so often, but in the 1980s and 1990s especially there was a lot of moral panic and outcry over violent horror movies and Video Nasties and their corruptive effects on the young and impressionable. Naturally, the attempts to prevent these movies from reaching the innocent eyes and minds of these viewers (including banning them in several cases) just made people want to see them more.


  • During the first chapters of Don Quixote, we see characters burning chivalry stories, referencing the real life outcry against people reading them, because they tempted away young women and distracted everyone else away from reading The Bible. What makes this scene ironic is that Don Quixote was written decades after the controversy died down, and would be like people in the 21st century upset over Jazz; naturally, Don Quixote is all about someone who's stuck in The Old Ways, and whether that's a good or bad thing. It's a bad thing.
  • The Harry Potter books have been accused of getting kids interested in the occult.
    • This has a slight edge of truth to it. Interest in Wicca? Maybe a little ("real" Wiccans complain about the shallowness of that interest). Interest in demon summoning? Not so much. Naturally, parodied by the Onion. And yet, some people took it seriously.
    • The books don't actually portray religion, not even pagan ones. Wicca has nothing to do with shouting fake Latin, riding on brooms, etc. If the wizards of the Potterverse have any religion, it's a watered-down Christianity. The wizards celebrate Christmas and Harry's parents have a Bible verse on their headstone (though it is not identified as one).
    • And yet many of the Moral Guardians so upset over Harry Potter never talk about the alleged occult themes of Bewitched. Because, you know, they grew up on that show.
  • Goethe's 1787 novel Die Leiden des jungen Werther (translated into English as The Sorrows of Young Werther) inspired a trend (termed 'Werther fever') of young men dressing like Werther. Certain Moral Guardians thought readers might copy more than Werther's fashion sense, and blamed the book for inspiring a wave of copycat suicides. It's a bit of a legitimate grudge: The psychological term for it has been dubbed the "Werther effect," where suicides increase after a report in the media. That is why suicides are not reported unless there is a very compelling reason to do so.
  • Kim Newman parodies the moral panic around violent horror movies in the short story "Where The Bodies Are Buried 3"; a series of brutal murders is blamed on the titular horror movie, which prompts a tabloid journalist to spearhead a campaign which eventually leads to horror movies getting banned because of their influence. He later comes to realize that there is indeed a dark, demonic presence at work corrupting people into committing these crimes... but it's got nothing to do with the movie. It's working through the tabloid newspaper and his campaign.

Live Action TV


  • Although this trope is named for rock 'n' roll, the trend itself dates almost as far back as recorded history. Texts complaining that new music was corrupting the younguns have been found dating back to Babylonian times.
  • As said, rock 'n' roll itself, starting in The Fifties. This took many different forms over time; witness the "backmasking" controversy in the late '70s and '80s, when fundamentalist Christian groups began to claim that backwards messages in music could subliminally influence listeners, and that rock musicians were doing this to draw their fans towards Satanism. Others condemned rock 'n roll on the basis that the term itself is a depiction of sex; in fact, it refers to the steady beat.
    • Parodied with "Backmasking" by Mindless Self Indulgence, which starts with the lead singer inviting the listener to "play that record backwards"... and then the track reverses itself, and you hear a middle-aged mother saying things like, "Eat all your vegetables" and "Clean your room."
    • Petra, a band which helped pioneer the Christian Rock genre, included the back-masked message "What are you looking for the devil for when you oughta be looking for the Lord?" in their song, Judas' Kiss.
    • Five Iron Frenzy also takes a swipe at the backmasking kerfuffle in "My Evil Plan to Save the World," a song about a hypothetical song which, upon reversed playback would "tell the kids to stay in school."
    • Linkin Park's song "Anouncement Service Public" is comprised of "You should wash your hands and you should brush your teeth" backwards.
    • Larry Norman, known as the "Grandfather of Christian Rock", wrote one of his most well-known songs, "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music?", in direct response to the claim that rock 'n' roll was inherently evil.
      • Resurrection Band, known for pioneering Christian Rock/Metal, inverted this trope in their tongue-in-cheek song "Elevator Muzik", which described classical music as artificial and commercialized, in contrast to music which focused on evangelism and spiritual growth.
    • An article denounced Alice Cooper as surely not a true Christian (even though he is, in real life, a born-again Christian and a volunteer Sunday School teacher), not so much because of his particular style of shock rock, but because he happened to be involved in the rock 'n roll industry at all:

 I urge you to [...] renounce everything you did in the past and the evils of rock music in general.

    • So has the tendency of some bands to play at 100 db or more. Admittedly, they have a point in that case, but not as much as they think they do; "this band plays at 110 decibels live; therefore all its music is evil" isn't actually valid logic.
    • Because of its raucous beat and unintelligibly slurred vocals, the 1963 hit "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen was rumored to feature unspeakably obscene lyrics. The FBI even attempted to decipher the lyrics to see if they violated obscenity laws. As it turns out, the song was actually a completely innocent lament of a Jamaican sailor missing his girlfriend while at sea.
    • The 1950s moral panic is parodied in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, when Dewey plays a sweet, gentle pop ballad about holding hands at his school talent show. The second he starts playing it, previously well-behaved teenage girls turn into sex-crazed nymphos, previously well-behaved teenage boys turn into violent thugs, and everyone else ends up barricading Dewey's house with Torches and Pitchforks screaming about how he's going to hell.
    • This has showed up in books as recently as 2005. At least one "youth minister's handbook" describes rock and roll as irrecovably tainted because Elvis was evil.
  • With all the furor subjected at Heavy Metal for being "devil music," one might forget that in the twenties the term was applied almost exclusively to Jazz, which, unlike its staid reputation today, was thought to inspire animalistic carnal lust and violent behavior in otherwise upstanding young boys and girls, as well as the racist perception that it was "negro music".
    • Reactions were even more extreme for ragtime, about which one historian wrote "not even Elvis Presley rolling his hips had as many parents and preachers up and howling and sending for the exorcism unit as ragtime did. After all, not too many kids have hips like Elvis's, but anyone who could play "Chopsticks" or whistle "The Star-Spangled Banner" could syncopate (everybody owned pianos back then).
    • Ragtime was notably described by a 1913 New York Herald article as "symbolic of the primitive morality and perceptible moral limitations of the Negro type", which recommended "extreme measures" to prevent it from becoming popular with white audiences.
    • Two words: Judas Priest. Two more words: Backward messages. Two more words: Do it!
    • In the mid-1980s parental and religious groups were so scared of Heavy Metal that a group called the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) managed to get Senate hearings on whether or not record labels should be forced to put warning labels on potentially "dangerous" music. During the hearings musicians like Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snider spoke out against music censorship, and the hearings ended when the major record labels agreed to voluntarily put warning labels on albums with adult content (which is where the now-familiar "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" stickers came from).
  • Starting in the early '90s, rap and hip-hop music became an interesting case in that they were being attacked by Moral Guardians on both sides of the spectrum. Conservatives were concerned about the glorification of violence, gangs, drugs and black militancy, and liberals were concerned with the misogyny and homophobia.
    • Most of the criticisms of the hip-hop/rap genre is more cultural than, say. generational.
  • Blues was an early American form of "Devil's Music" (because it was "Negro-influenced").
    • Many contemporary Christian fundamentalists still cite the Blues as the origin of Satanic music.
    • Famously, the enormously influential blues singer and guitarist Robert Johnson was accused of selling his soul to the Devil in return for talent.
  • Documents have cited that even the Waltz was "subversive and drawing our children towards Satan" back in the day.
We remarked with pain that the indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced (we believe for the first time) at the English court on Friday last . . . it is quite sufficient to cast one's eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs and close compressure on the bodies in their dance, to see that it is indeed far removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is attempted to be forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil examples of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion. ... We know not how it has happened (probably by the recommendation of some worthless and ignorant French dancing-master) that so indecent a dance has now been exhibited at the English court ... we trust it will never again be tolerated in any moral English society.
The Times, July 1816 editorial
  • Punk Rock has a funny cyclic pattern to it. First, the original '77 punk (The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash et al.) were seen as promoting crime, drug use, anarchy, profanity and all other things that scare the old people. When people started noticing the social message in the music, it became more acceptable. This led to the creation of Hardcore Punk, the Darker and Edgier version, as it were, which shocked people for a good decade. In The Nineties, the new moral panic came from two sources: first, the punk scene's association with radical environmentalist and animal rights groups, and second (and quite confusingly), the Straight Edge subculture (whose followers are devoted to a lifestyle of not using alcohol, tobacco or drugs — celibacy and veganism optional), which was considered a gang activity.
    • Part of the problem with the Straight Edge movement's image has been the militancy of many of its adherents, which have led to violent confrontations at times (usually as part of an animal rights or environmentalist agenda). There's also the unfortunate association with various small, but highly vocal, sXe splinter movements which have gone far beyond the original mildly conservative values into far-right politics, violent homophobia, and in a few cases, white supremacy and anti-Semitism. This has, on occasion, led to violent confrontations with militant anti-racist sXe groups.
  • Older Than Print: In the 12th century, the Church denied all sacraments, including last rites, to all minstrels and street performers, effectively damning them all to Hell. The reason? Supposedly, what they did was unproductive and seduced people away from a "proper" Christian life.
  • The song "Ya Got Trouble" ("Trouble my friends, I say trouble right here in River city...") from The Music Man is a knowing parody of this trope, with a con man decrying everything that was new circa 1912 (pool tables, ragtime music, pinchback suits, Horserace Gamblin', modern slang "Words like 'swell', and 'So's your old man'", and a whole host of other things) in order to create an artificial crisis that he can solve "... with a wave of my hand, this very hand."
  • The Finnish metal band Lordi has occasionally been accused of encouraging Satanism or other unsavory things. While their general appearance and stage demeanor is slightly demonic, more than one of the band members are Christian and have actually put God among their personal acknowledgements on the back of the CD. Song titles like "Hard Rock Hallelujah" and "Devil Is a Loser" is not the kind of thing your average Satanist puts out.
    • Just to make it even stupider, the song "Devil Is a Loser" was used as proof that they were Satanists. It's not exactly clear how a song about how selling your soul to the Devil is an easy way out for the weak that carries strong consequences even beyond losing your soul can be pro-Satan.
  • Moral Guardians tried to prevent Prodigy from performing their hit "Firestarter" on Top of the Pops, which the techno band recognizes as their "most punk moment".
  • The moral panic surrounding raves and the drug use endemic in the scene.
    • The fact that anyone considers drug use endemic to raves is evidence of just how ridiculous the Moral Panic about raves is.
    • Because one of the most popular genres of music at early raves was called Acid House (it actually describes the "acidic" sound of the TB-303 synth bass), Moral Guardians assumed that the kids there were all on LSD. The actual amount and type of drug use varies by rave and by raver (many are even Straight Edge), but MDMA has the strongest association with raving, distantly followed by Ketamine, Nitrous Oxide, and good old-fashioned Weed.
  • As noted in an earlier example, at one time Elvis Presley's music (and movements while singing) made Moral Guardians foam at the mouth.
  • Records by the Mills Brothers were tossed on bonfires in the 1980s.
  • The Tritone, AKA Diobolus in Musica. Play Do, Re, Me, then an extra half-tone above Fa, that is, three whole tones above the root, hence the name. In the Middle Ages, it was banned (depending on who you ask) from church music/entirely because it sounds dissonant/SUMMONS THE DEVIL! Ties into other music entries as you can find it incidentally in a lot of Blues music, and extensively, and deliberately, in early Black Sabbath. It's that ominous "dun... Dun!" you hear a lot.
  • Parodied quite a bit along with Christian Rock by Devo's opening band "Dove, the Band of Love," which was Devo in different costumes. It's best summed by the intro to Dove's cover of "Gotta Serve Somebody" on Recombo DNA, with Devo's mutant mascot brainwashed into being Dove's lead singer: "We used to do devil music like that band Devo, but then Jerry over here sat down on a Bobby Dylan record, and the Lord came into him! Now we do music of love!"
  • The waltz was considered scandalous when it was first invented, because it was made for two people (usually a man and a woman) to dance together. They don't actually dance too closely or anything, but back in the 17th or 18th century, it was considered the equivalent of grinding.
  • "Rick Santorum Declares War On Heavy Metal." So apparently this trope is still an effective tool.
    • Or being used by one...
    • This article isn't real, it's actually from a parody site that's like The Onion for metalheads.
    • But what is real is his recent declaration of war on porn.

New Media

  • The Internet catches a lot of this; whether it's porn sites or pedophiles trolling chat rooms and My Space, the media are constantly trying to find new things to scare people about online. This also extends to anything that can access the Internet. Big overlap with New Media Are Evil, here. Another infamous newscast dealt with the Nintendo DS, and how child molesters were allegedly using its PictoChat function to contact kids. Never mind that hardly anyone ever uses PictoChat, and that the function's range was considerably less than what the newscast said...
    • There was a story where they said that Leet Lingo is a language designed to hide secrets from parents, and they actually have a translator for leet speak despite the fact that the numbers in leet are supposed to look like the original letters. Leet did originate, at least in part, as a way to hide email from keyword-based filtering/eavesdropping software, so it's not entirely wrong, just blown way out of proportion.
    • It, of course, does not help that there's plenty of places on the Internet that practically revel in this behavior (Something Awful, /b/, Encyclopedia Dramatica, any given Shock Site) because they think it's funny to act like how every Moral Guardian thinks the Internet behaves. The subtlety is inevitably lost on said Moral Guardians.
  • Subverted to hell and back in early 2009 with Twitter, the bandwagon that every traditional media outlet seems desperate to jump onto. Until they got bored with it and/or remembered the media's proper role in society is to make everyone paranoid. FACEBOOK AND TWITTER WILL DESTROY YOUR LIFE.
    • Before he was forced to resign, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak shut down the whole country's Internet, in order to quell street protests against his rule. It backfired on him.
    • In Britain, there are proposals to impose blackouts on social media, after it was heavily used in the 2011 London riots.
      • Several U.S. communities have attempted to pass legislation against using social media to organize flash mobs, not seeming to understand the whole "freedom of assembly" clause in the Constitution.
      • On the one hand, the right enshrined in the Constitution is specifically the right to peacefully assemble, which disqualifies anything you'd care to call a "riot". On the other hand, this suggests the smart move would be to "infiltrate" the would-be mob during the planning stages, learn the times, and greet them with riot cops when they get there. (It's illegal to arrest the participants before they start anything — unless you have evidence of conspiracy charges — but it's not illegal to be sitting there waiting.) On the gripping hand, there's evidence to suggest that in the past, the FBI infiltrated certain organizations, such as CORE (responsible for the antisegregation Freedom Rides)... and tried to incite them to mayhem so they could be arrested and tried.
      • It should be noted, however, that flash mobs, despite having the word "mob" in the name, are completely harmless; they're just fun ways to do unusual things on a large scale and weird out bystanders. I mean, come on, The Other Wiki has a separate page for pillow fight flash mobs. Attempting to ban them would, indeed, be an infringement of the right to peaceably assemble.
      • That depends on the flash mob. In Philadelphia, for example, flash mobs have a history of either starting out or becoming violent and destructive.
  • In terms of new media technology, there's some overlap with this and They Changed It, Now It Sucks. If the new media has some drawbacks that the old didn't have for instance (you can't tape on DVDs very easily, making them more difficult for recording without a DVR or something). For that matter, DVR is useless as a replacement for VCR anyway, if you can't afford cable.

Tabletop Games

  • The book Mazes and Monsters by Rona Jaffe, and its later Made for TV Movie starring Tom Hanks, both accuse tabletop RPGs, such as Dungeons and Dragons, of encouraging occultism and Satanism, and even allege that players get so caught up in the game that they can't tell fantasy from reality. Ironically, the purely fictional book was cited as a "case study" by several rabidly anti-D&D groups, so one must ask which side actually has this problem. this is a case of I Lied/Did Not Do the Research. "Mazes and Monsters" was based on a missing persons case, which was actually only the official version of the story anyway, since the detective involved was trying not to alert the actual people so he could continue his investigation. The media released this assertion as fact.
  • One of the most infamous and parodied Chick Tracts, Dark Dungeons, targeted D&D. Whether it actually converted any D&D players is highly doubtful, though it may have made them laugh uproariously at the constantly absurd claims it makes.
  • In an attempt to pass under the radar, Dungeons and Dragons took out all references to demons, devils, Hell, and anything else even vaguely related to That Place Down There from 2nd Edition. These were restored in 3rd Edition, which came out at least a decade later... by which point nobody except Jack Chick really cared enough to be offended any longer (and even he seems to have lost some interest, because Dark Dungeons is no longer published unless someone explicitly puts in an order).
  • Magic: The Gathering decided to nip this problem in the bud by turning all Demons into Beasts for a few years. This is referenced in Infernal Spawn of Evil which has demon crossed out in its typeline and Beast written in in marker.
  • There was also a brief spate of this in The Nineties when a guy who played Vampire: The Masquerade maybe a bit too much got together with his friends, killed his folks, then drank their blood. There's a reason every White Wolf book since then opens with a disclaimer reading, "You are not a supernatural creature, and if you think you are, then for the love of God, seek professional help."
  • In an attempt to avoid such allegations, Rifts and other Palladium Games all come with disclaimers like the White Wolf books, though not as tongue-in-cheek. It's usually something along the lines of "This book contains depictions of magic, evil, and the supernatural, which some parents may find inappropriate for younger readers. Palladium does not condone nor encourage drugs, violence, or demon worship." They even request that anyone running a Rifts website also puts up a disclaimer.


  • In Elizabethan England, there was a movement to ban tragedies on stage, for fear that all the weeping would corrupt British masculinity. That's right, Hamlet will make you gay.
  • Theater in general was often the target of preachers in early modern Europe. The preachers claimed that theaters promoted immorality. Theaters were forcefully closed more then once. For example, when Oliver Cromwell and his puritanical supporter took power in England mid 17th century, all theaters in London were closed down. The same thing happened in the Netherlands in 1672; when the country was attacked by France, England and two German states, preachers succesfully blamed the cause of the war on God's displeasure, which was in turn caused by the theaters.
  • An in-universe example in The Music Man using pool as an example.

Video Games

  • Even before Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000, video games were subjected to this. In the arcade days, they were blamed for wasting money and providing a place for unsupervised minors to hang out; with the early consoles came accusations of laziness, eyestrain, and illiteracy. Which is rather amusing, considering that some studies have shown that video games may actually improve reaction time and signal detection.
  • In late January 2008 there was an uproar over a lesbian sex scene in the game Mass Effect. Cybercast News Service blogger Kevin McCullough claimed that Mass Effect had a full frontal sex scene which took place with the player character volunteering information on how to make the act proceed. Yeah. This article would have fallen into the abyss of stupid blog articles never to be mentioned again — except that Fox News, for reasons unknown, took everything the article said at face value and actually ran a story on the whole affair in cable prime time.
  • When reports of the Virginia Tech massacre surfaced, media pundits were extremely quick to lay the blame on the game Counter-Strike, due to an offhand comment by a classmate who barely knew Seung-Hui Cho (the shooter). When later reports showed that Cho was an unmedicated schizophrenic who hadn't played anything more violent than Sonic the Hedgehog, those earlier reports were quietly swept under the rug.
    • Before that, of course, the Columbine massacre was blamed on Doom, as both of the killers were fans of that game. One of the killers, Eric Harris, said that the shooting would be "like ****ing Doom," and said that his shotgun was "straight out of Doom." When it came out that Harris had created some mods for Doom, there were allegations that some of the "Harris levels" were models of Columbine High School, with the demons replaced with teachers and students, and that Harris had used them to practice for the shooting. It turned out that they were just ordinary levels, and they are available on the Internet for anybody to find out — the most elaborate level can be viewed here, third down the list, complete with commentary on the scrutiny that video games came under after the massacre.

      This outcry was mocked by Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine... in the very title of the film. Klebold and Harris were also avid bowlers, so couldn't bowling be as much to blame as video games?
    • There is also the Super Columbine Massacre RPG, which was decried as a glorification of the massacre itself and violence in general. Since the game is actually doing the opposite of that, it's safe to assume the people accusing it of this never played it.
  • Pokémon, prompting at least one Christian fundamentalist to say that other Christian fundamentalists were decrying Pokémon for the wrong reasons. See article here.
  • Animal Crossing has also had its share of critics, who say that no adult would be playing a cute social game because they actually enjoy it. It's even more ironic, since the character pointed out in the video clip as the "potential pedophile" is Mayor Tortimer — an NPC.
  • Parodied in Kagetsu Tohya when Akiha calls manga the work of the devil and a corruption of innocent teens etc. after Hisui reads one and apparently goes berserk. But apparently it's an ordinary girl's romance story. Which did, in fact, cause her to go berserk. What were we talking about again?

Western Animation

  • This type of hysteria was predicated in the '80s by outcries against both The Smurfs and The Care Bears.
  • Rainbow Brite is occult propaganda — look at her, she has a star (pentagram!) on her cheek and a rainbow (stolen from Christians, now an occult symbol)! (Go check out the WMG page — this is a theory published in an actual book.)

Web Comics


 Dixie: Popular games can have a profound influence over a child who grows up playing them...

Phil: ...the direct correlation between "Parcheesi" and the President's current economic policies is one of the more obvious examples.



  • After a school shooting incident in Finland, the largest newspaper of the country published articles concerning the corrupting influence of Plato and Nietzsche, as the shooter was an avid reader of philosophical texts. Under the headline "Plato can mess you up."
  • Pinball corrupts the youth, doncha know:
    • There was a fairly large moral panic regarding pinball in the USA in the earlier part of the twentieth century. Back then, it was a game of chance rather than skill (before flippers were added in the 1950s), and people feared it would make children lazy and turn them into gamblers. Like many of these examples, it seems ridiculous to modern ears. This may be responsible for the "entertainment use only" warnings still seen today.
    • This isn't quite as nonsensical as it sounds. When gambling was outlawed in most of the US, makers of slot machines and other gambling devices tried every method they could think of to circumvent the ban. The most popular method was via flipper-less pinball machines, which were set so you could win multiple free games. If you didn't want to use the free games, the owner of the bar/parlor/whatever would give you back the cash equivalent. This resulted in New York, Los Angeles and a number of other cities simply outlawing and confiscating all pinball machines.
    • Of course, a modified version of the original pinball is still incredibly popular in Japan, where it's given the name pachinko.
  • Culinary example: In the 1600s, some French bakers started making a bread called mollet for the peasantry. This being France, riots ensued. Why? Because the bread required little to no work kneading (and didn't need to be cut with an ax) and thusly it encouraged idleness! It also used ingredients from Belgium. If you eat it, you hate the nation! Debates about what French bread was acceptable went on until well after the revolution, when a standardized bread recipe was proposed. Unable to find a compromise that would appease everyone about how wheat vs. rye bread, the new government eventually threw its hands up and told everyone to plant potatoes.
  • The fork. No, really. It's decadent! It's a symbol of Satan! If God wanted us to use forks, would we have these wonderful fingers? Hmm?! In fact, the reason chopsticks are commonly used in several Asian countries, is because oh-so-long-ago, Confucius promoted them as a peaceful alternative to knives and forks, which he equated with violence.
  • A large chunk of the premise behind parody series Jimmy Macdonald's Canada was watching the character label everything either decadent or dangerous. The show even featured a segment called Outrage of the Week, where "I show you three things, and then I tell you which one outrages me the most!" Winners included robots, Air Canada stewardess uniforms, Swedish drill teams, hamburger speed-eating, zambonis, and psychedelic body painting. Other things that he hated included ATMs, push-button phones, vending machines, Italian food, dancing shoes, American Bandstand-type programs, honeymoons, and children wearing protective equipment while playing hockey. Oh, and rock and roll.
  • "That capital T that rhymes with P that stands for Pool" in The Music Man, and all the other dangers that Professor Harold Hill calls out: beer, pinchback suits, galloping in horse races ("Not a wholesome trottin' race, no, but a race where they sit up right on the horse!"), smoking, ragtime music, knickerbockers rebuckled below the knee, dime novels, Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, and words like "swell" and "so's your old man". This one works especially well because a modern audience might not even know what half of this stuff is, which just emphasizes the ridiculousness of the hysteria. Harold Hill could go after the evils of pool because a pool table was being placed in a billiards parlor. Billiards was okay! (For anyone curious, billiards is somewhat like pool, but it has no pockets.) Let's not forget though... pockets make the difference between a Gentleman and a Bum! That's Bum with a capital B that rhymes with P that stands for POOL!
    • In addition, one of the evils that Hill rails against is Bevo a (now long defunct) product of Anheuser-Busch which was a non-alcoholic Near-Beer, further highlighting the ridiculous nature of the hysteria.
  • Any "people trend," in chronological order: Flappers, Swingers, Teddy Boys, Beatniks, Greasers, Hippies, Mods, Punks, Goths, Gangstas, Emos, Hipsters. In general, any subculture that focuses on disaffected youth will likely draw the scorn of the Moral Guardians. Sure, we've all seen it for hippies, punks, and goths, but as Mystery Science Theater 3000 proves, there were actually movies about the moral scourge posed by... beatniks.
  • German politicians wanted to ban paintball since a school shooter happened to like the game. It wasn't until some paintballers were brought into parliament that some of them realised that it wasn't a video game. Nothing about that last bit in the news though. Now that a few years have passed, most people don't even remember that there was another public scare.
  • Every single religion ever starts like this. For modern examples, see Mormonism and Scientology, both of which are Acceptable Targets in the USA (or, in the latter case, almost everywhere). LaVeyan Satanism, being as Genre Savvy as it is, goes out of its way to invoke this; Anton LaVey himself admitted that The Satanic Bible is essentially an Objectivist screed under a layer of Crowley-esque mysticism and anti-Christian theatrics.
  • In architecture:
    • Modern art and architecture initially received this treatment in the West, partially because of its associations with leftist political movements and, in particular, the Soviet Union. Ironically, under Stalin, the same art and architecture was frequently condemned as "decadent" and "bourgeoise".
    • Compare, say, the Bauhaus or the International Style to Stalin-era Socialist Classicism. Much like the Nazis and their snazzy uniforms, Stalin knew what he was doing when it came to aesthetics.
    • Oddly enough, the Italian Fascists were tentatively accepting of the more right-wing strains of Modernism and Futurism, giving semi-formal blessing to a style known as "Rationalist-Fascist", a form of Modernism which emphasized the Classical and Renaissance roots of the style. It's quite odd to see the "right-wing" Casa del Fascio set against the "left-wing" Moscow State University, but it's actually rather telling; fascism, despite its right-wing associations, considered itself a revolutionary movement, while Stalinist socialism was often culturally regressive.
    • This is still very much the case whenever a new, avant garde building is finished. The Lloyd's "inside out" Building in London was heavily criticised, being at complete odds with the much older structures like, say, St. Paul's Cathedral. Ironically, there was much more protesting against St. Paul's when that first opened.
  • In the 1700s, Marie Camargo, who was one of the first star ballerinas, caused quite a stir when she shortened her skirts a few inches to reveal her ankles. She did it in order to show off her fancy footwork, but the Moral Guardians of the time still pitched a fit.
  • Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll and evangelical leader Al Mohler both condemned yoga because of its eastern roots, much to the amusement of the rest of Evangelicalism (and the world).
  • According to some people in 18th Century England, rolling a hoop with a stick. Yes, hoop and stick, aka The Hoop Nuisance. One of the most staunch opponents was Charles Babbage, grandfather of the computer, who also hated organ grinders. Imagine what he would think of video games.