After reading the Aug. 29 Business article "Invasion of Pokemon," I wonder if I am the only adult willing to articulate the fundamental truth about this phenomenon: It is nothing more than animated cockfighting.
I have spent many hours with my 6-year-old friend, Parker, learning about his latest passion, and it is not, as the article reports, a nonviolent game involving "cute" creatures "nicely battling." The whole premise of Pokemon is that humans capture innocent, free-ranging animals for the purpose of pitting them against each other in brutal gladiatorial exhibitions that can result in the animals' death. And the creators of Pokemon make no pretense that the fighting serves some higher purpose. To quote Nintendo's "Official Pokemon Handbook," the battle is "for sport."
With regard to the assertion that Pokemon crosses gender barriers, it may be true that fans include both girls and boys, but here is how the "Handbook" describes the only Pokemon with explicitly, albeit grossly caricatured, womanly features: "Jynx wiggles its enchanting hips as it walks . . . [and] with its Lovely Kiss technique . . . puts its opponents to sleep."
I'm not advocating boycotting Pokemon -- kids, like adults, naturally experience violent impulses, and dealing with them through fantasy seems more reasonable than acting them out or pretending they don't exist. I am, however, amused that at a time when so many are criticizing the entertainment industry for promoting violence to children, people are so ready to gloss over the darker side of Pokemon.
-- Mary C. Morton