Pokemon Panic Makes List of Most Absurd TIME Covers

Reason Online has posted a fascinating look at what it calls The Top 10 Most Absurd Time Covers of The Past 40 Years.

While TIME’s investigations into the occult, dirty words and obesity are among the topics making RO’s list, we took note of the November 22, 1999 cover which addressed what some parents and teachers saw as a scourge at the time: Pokemon. Reason Online explains:

This Time cover story breathlessly warns that children are printing counterfeit cards, cheating friends and classmates, and even stabbing one another over Pokemon trading disputes. Time doesn’t dwell too long on any substantive data (there isn’t any) that might show what sort of sustained violence and mayhem would make Pokemon an “addiction" (Time’s word). Instead, it quickly cuts to what the authors see as the real dark heart of the Pokemon phenomenon: crass capitalism! …

GP: Ten years on, the frenzy over Pokemon seems so silly…

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  1. Father Time says:

    Can someone sum up the article for me, I’d rather not give myself head trauma from the headesks that will likely occur from reading all 7 pages.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  2. Father Time says:

    I remember Pokemon as being the sh*t when I was a kid. Everyone at my elementary school was into it, and everytime I thought the fad was starting to diminish something would happen that would make me think otherwise.

    I had the games (which I still enjoy, and I’d probably buy the newer ones if I had a DS), the cards (which I’ve never played), and I watched the TV shows, although at one moment it just dawned on me that the pokemon series was the worst TV show I’ve ever seen in my life.

    There was never much moral panic over it where I was, I mean I heard stories of parents and killjoy groups going ape over pokemon but I just dismissed them as rumors or the acts of some isolated nuts.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  3. Father Time says:

    No I think it died out the way all moral panics die out. They age and people stop caring.

    Although just like complaining that the next generation will screw up everything people never seem to realize that those dire warnings about satanism, cults, more violence, blah blah blah never come true and still believe them the next round. Well Ok some people must realize what’s going on but of course people not complaining about a game don’t make the news.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  4. Speeder says:

    I am a christian from Brazil…


    Here other peopel convinced my mother that Pokemon was the devil thing, and my mother made me burn my pokemon stickers (happily I had no TGC, burning those would hurt my soul, they are really expensive…).


    I liked them 🙁 (Altough I did not bought them, someone gave to me a pile of 300 stickers that everyone else had and noone wanted)


    I am still christian, and I made a post about moral panic on my blog on my sig, too bad that it is in portuguese, so noone can read 🙁 And it has no mention about pokemon (only about people here that say that D&D is satanist material)



  5. Cakeordeath22 says:

    If they wanted to put a good TIME magazine cover on the list of most absurd, they should have added the one naming Obama Man of the Year in 2008.  He had not even entered office yet, and it is absurd to name him Man of the Year when he has not even proven himself yet.  Now if he did anything truly distinguished during his Presidency, the could have given him the title during a year in office.  But, in all honesty, I highly doubt Obama will ever do anyting to earn this title because his handling of the country so far is far from phenominal; it is not even satisfactory.

  6. JustChris says:

    Wow, I remember that cover. And reading the story behind the craze (back when it reached its peak). Some parents interviewed say that it’s not like they don’t like getting into their kids’ interests. For example, saying they have read the Harry Potter books. But the Pokemon stuff went over their heads.

    I think Time’s best statement is that "Parents understanding Pokemon is like trying to understand HMOs".


  7. Chamale says:

    It’s not a poliwag, it’s a poliwhirl. Poliwag don’t have hands.

    This is a signature virus. Please copy and paste into your signature to help it propagate.

  8. TBoneTony says:

    Yep, Pokemon and the fear it caused was perhaps the first time a videogame I liked was being tarnished all over the news from sensationalistic news journalists.

    Kinda like the fear with Hanna Montanna and the Bratz girls that was this decade’s fear of the new.

    I loved Pokemon back then and I still love Pokemon now.


    I loved Videogames because of Super Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda.

    but it was Pokemon that also introduced me to Anime, Manga and Videogames all in one box of cookies.

    Playing the Pokemon card game was now I first understood those Magic type of card games that some western Geeks play. And it was a whole lot of fun.

    Pokemon, in a way, was when I was first introduced to Ecchi and then Hentai when I looked on the internet for pictures of Misty.


    I was a teenager when Pokemon first started, so go figure… 😀

    It was still the most important part of my life even though the only Pokemon games I have are the original RED version and the Crystal version from the Gold/Silver series.


    Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Stadium 2 were allot more better than the recent Pokemon Battle Revolution and that awful single player adventures in Pokemon Colloseum.

    So yeah, I am more of an Old Pokemon fan who never died away, and also I never let the Phenominon seriously hurt me, I loved pokemon for a more personal reason.


    At the time when Pokemon started, I was finished with one school because I was bullied horribly and I decided to have no friends so I would not get hurt,


    But with Pokemon I felt that what they showed in the Anime and Manga was some of the best reasons why I should still try to make friends even though I could not trust many people.

    (Team Rocket for example were the type of people to never trust)

    And with the movie with MewTwo, I saw my own self within MewTwo and his own hatred for humans. So it was something that I could relate to allot.







  9. MaskedPixelante says:

    Thankfully, refocused attention on gays and liberals caused people to forget about the Pokemon panic

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  10. OmegaWarrior says:

    That wasn’t just a rumor; the Porygon episode gave several kids seizures in Japan, which is why all anime (EDIT: And Nintendo games) now has a warning about sitting too close to the TV and in the dark. 

    Quite Absurb, indeed 🙂

  11. supersonicsaga says:

    There were moral/religous panics over DBZ and Pokemon when I went to Church as a child. Right after church I would play Pokemon and watch DBZ. They made stuff up, I’m still a Christian though.


    http://www.vgshuffle.com .

    Games aren’t evil, but evil people play games.

  12. magic_taco says:

    It’s polywag, Which then evolves into a whirl, Then through trading or a water stone becomes a polywrath.


    I used to play the old poke’mon games for the gameboy, I sold my fire red & emerald versions to a game store last year.


    I still even have the cards that i bought back in middle school when it was a fad(which DBZ then became the next big thing), Ahh..Yes, I still have that legendary bird Zapdos card still in good condition too.

    I recall a moral panic over pokemon too(I.E,I witnessed a "culture" burn at my chruch a long time ago involving pokemon cards,toys,games,game systems and other stuff getting burned into a fire), not to mention the rumors about kids getting seizures from watching a certain episode.


    God,those were the good old days.

  13. Austin_Lewis says:

    Ah yes, Pokemon Panic.  To be fair, only a small part of that was the game.  There was also the TV show, the trading card game, the toys, the comic books, and, eventually, the movies.

    I haven’t played a pokemon since silver.  I really don’t care to play a pokemon game with the new, more retarded, pokemon.

    As for the article, I think its hilarious.  Although, to be fair, they missed the real ‘occult’ story with that issue; scientology.  Far creepier than any occult tale of satanic rituals and orgies. 

    On a related issue, Moral Orel did a good show on satanic rituals.  Hilarious, really.

  14. CyberSkull says:

    How could they not have Pikachu as the main subject. Who is that, polywog or something? 

  15. Ashkihyena says:

    I can top you on that, I’m 28 and I buy them all, and I will be buying Gold and Silver once they’re rereleased.

  16. MaskedPixelante says:

    I’m 21 and I still buy every main series Pokemon game that comes out. In fact, short of the original Green version and the upcoming Heart Gold and Soul Silver, I have almost all of them.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  17. jedidethfreak says:

    I think it’s all because of Pokemon Yellow.  That version was only released to cash in on the popularity of the show.  Now, if you had a Pikachu and didn’t want to trade it, you were a douchebag, because it was so easy to get one again (just start a new game).


    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  18. MaskedPixelante says:

    The best part about the Pokemon rage was the religious types who actively spoke out over it. That’s how I learned about the Religious Right.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  19. Vake Xeacons says:

    The Pokemon rage seemed silly at the time! I love Pokemon as a game, but when it started to get out of hand, I quit until things died down. Until Diamond, I hadn’t touched Pokemon since the special Pikachu edition

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