What Pokemon has taught our kids

My kids are Pokemon addicts. Trading cards, Happy Meal toys, the cartoons, DS games, everything. They have long, intense discussions on whether a fire type is more effective against a ground type or whether a particular evolution of one of them is better than another. It’s the first thing of theirs I just simply cannot follow. Star Wars, super heroes, Legos, I was there and a source of information as an expert on all of it. Pokemon, I have NO IDEA!

But in watching the cartoons, I wondered what sort of message this industry is really selling. I reads sort of like an article in The Onion if you think about it. Imagine the headline….

Children Discovered to be Ringleaders in Animal Fighting Tournament!

Children from across the globe are enlisting to be “Trainers” in the subjugation of Pokemon. These creatures exist in the wild until captured by local children. They are then kept, up to six at a time, in impossibly small containers that the children keep on them and never let out of their sight. The Pokemon are only let out to fight each other for the amusement and personal advancement of their captors. Pokemon often fight until unconscious, when a new captive is forced to fight in their stead.

Pokemon are sometimes traded among other Trainers as well. The Pokemon are not capable of any communication other than simply repeating their own name with varying degrees of inflection, so determining their feelings about the matter is difficult, as illustrated by the following interview with a Pokemon called Tepig.

Ryan: So, Mr. Tepig, are you happy with your Trainer?

Tepig: Tepig!

Ryan: Yes, we’ve established that. What I mean is, are you content to fight other Pokemon for the amusement and recreation of your human captors?

Tepig: Tepigtepigtepigtepig.

Ryan: Do you ever want to go home to your own region?


Ryan: Is that a yes?

Tepig: Tepig. Tepig Tepig, Tepig.

That was the end of my interview, because Tepig’s Trainer had another battle scheduled for him in order to get a new Gym Badge.

Hopefully, one day all Pokemon will roam free, and we will no longer have to deal with the moral implications of their servitude to our children.


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