Opiate of the (third grade) Masses
Assuming that "love" and "hate" are absolutes, there is no point in saying that I hate Pokemon "a lot" or "tons." It is an absolute: I hate Pokemon.
I hate it because it has kidnapped my child's soul, and left no ransom note. He is not alone. Many of his friends suffer from the same affliction. Somewhere in Japan, in a behavioral modification laboratory hidden deep inside a cave, Pokemon's creators developed cutting-edge methods designed to hypnotize children so they will become addicted to Pokemon.
Like the steroids Barry Bonds continues to avoid discussing, Pokemon comes in several forms. It can watched in TV or movie form, or carried with you as trading cards. Most heinously, it comes as a video game, for either large (PS2, XBox, Game Cube) or small (Gameboy, Nintendo DS) format players. The cards, TV shows and movies are bad enough; it is the video games that are truly the work of Satan.
The scientists in the secret Pokemon lair have designed these games (there are several, though the specific differences between them are indistinguishable to civilians) so that the players cannot turn on their Gameboy, play a game, and then shut down. No, these are continuing games. To turn off a game without saving would mean losing all that you've accomplished and accumulated up to this point. And if you've achieved, say, Level 5, that could mean the loss of many hours of focused Pokemon playing.
In practical terms, this means that parents cannot demand that children immediately shut down their Gameboys. First, the child must save. And he cannot save if he is, say, "in the middle of a battle," or "about to get a new Pokemon." Worse yet, from a distance the movements required to save are identical to the movements used to continue the game. All we see is a glassy-eyed child punching a few buttons. He could be doing anything.
Even the usually saintly Josh K. has fallen victim to Pokemon hypnosis. He is in fact worse than the Jawa, sometimes moving from one battle to the next under the guise of saving.
It is easy to spot a child caught in the throes of Pokemon addiction. He will forget the many times you've told him that you "hate Pokemon," and continue to excitedly share his Pokemon adventures. "Dad, I got (silly name of Pokemon)!"
Is it bad parenting to continually answer, "You know I hate Pokemon."?
Yes, Pokemon is the scourge of society. It will make your adorable child into a strange zombie, capable of emotion only under the threat of Pokemon removal. And that emotion is anger.
How many hours can you stand? Does the idea of an otherwise smart, engaging and funny child droning on and on (sometimes in a cloying, babyish voice) about various Pokemons and their actions make you want to run screaming down the street?
Parents, grandparents, and importantly, future parents, please do your best to remove Pokemon from your lives. Prevent it from entering your lives. If your child, as mine, is interested in Japanese culture, know that there is a large, rich world of Japanese toys, games and animated movies that do not include Pokemon. And be aware that the evil scientists of the Pokemon labs will never run out of Pokemon-themed items for your child to buy.
It's a slippery, steep slope. For me it's too late. Save yourselves.