Tract Dissections by Boolean Union Studios


Today's Candidate:


The Truth for Youth - Secular Rock Music

Wasted Words

The Truth for Youth
© Revival Fires International - 2002

Uploaded January 8th, 2011



Is it any surprise Truth for Youth isn’t a fan of secular music? Here, Tim Todd and company unironically tackle shock-rockers like Marilyn Manson.


Panel Index
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | Conclusion



Panel 1
Andrew:

Madonna Dahmer and the Death Squad. Hopefully nobody needs me to explain that this is a rip-off of Marilyn Manson. Though I don’t quite get the name “Madonna Dahmer.” When they started, the members of the band chose stage names taken from the first name of a model and the last name of a serial killer. Of course, the only two that most people remember are Marilyn Manson himself and guitarist/bassist extraordinaire Twiggy Ramirez. Tim Todd’s pastiche has the last name right, but Madonna Ciccone is a pop-singer, not a model. Bzzt. Try again.

 

Jessica:

This guy's word smithery put the bard himself to shame. Also take note of the random ejaculation in the corner of "Kewl!" This seems to hearken back to Parental Controls and its gratuitous use of the word "pix."

 

 

 

   

Panel 2 Andrew:

Their rendering of Madonna Dahmer is closer to a Japanese oni or some other youkai than it is to any stage costume worn by any rock star I’ve ever heard of (well, maybe Gwar).

 

Jessica:

Secular... rock music... makes... me... incapable... of... thinking... in... complete... sentences...

If Tim Todd keeps abusing the double -- dash like this he's going to get his license revoked.

And you know, I've never really noticed it before. But do you see the expressions on the faces of the people surrounding our protagonist here. It kind of looks like he's flanked by Selphie and an aged-up version of Misty.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 3 Andrew:

And now we go back in time to see how our main character got to be at that concert.

And why would he expect his Christian friends to be excited about a concert like that? I mean, of course Marilyn Manson exists to make Christians mad and sell records, but you wouldn’t expect to see too many of them at an actual show.

 

Jessica:

You do have a point there. I've personally known some Christians who would be shocked and disgusted to impotency by a Saturday matinee of Cats. The Madonna Dahmer concert would be like taking tea with Satan himself. I don't know what's in this kid's head.

 

Andrew:

I like the blue-haired manga chick in this panel. All the Truth For Youth comics have that style, but this really pushes it.

 

Jessica:

The Blue-Haired Manga Chick™ (or B.H.M.C.) is a staple of Japanese manga, but for some reason she comes across here as one of the most realistic characters in this train wreck.

Also, she is hot. And that is fine by me.

 

   

Panel 4 Andrew:

Oh, they were going to witness to Benny? I guess Benny is the younger brother. Yeah, that sounds awkward: getting preached at by your brother and his busybody friends.

 

Jessica:

Seriously. "Thanks, Jason. I could have been at a party with my friends, but coming to school for a two hour prayer-a-thon with these gomers is, like, way totally better."

I know it would be a serious violation of their "Christian Soldier" mentality and I don't happen to be a fan of shock rock myself, but I'd take ol' Madonna over these tools too.

 

 

 

   

Panel 5

Andrew:

Benny looks mentally handicapped. “Yaaay. ‘Donna Dommer!”

 

Jessica:

Hopefully they reserved the short bus.

B.H.M.C. does NOT approve!

It seems as if that guy just off to Jason's right just might be jacking it right there in the middle of the concert. Honest money says no one will notice.

 

 

 

   

Panel 6 Jessica:

It appears as though Mr. Dahmer here has talons.

 

Andrew

The spirit behind the music… is Satan!

 

Jessica:

Galatians 5:19-23 seems to have little to nothing to do with what is going on here. Of course, if the music is neutral, WHY DID THEY DANCE?!?! Riddle me this, Batman!

 

   

Panel 7 Andrew:

Schoolyard cheese. Mmm-mmm good.

 

Jessica:

I do hear that schoolyard cheese can be good on administrative building crackers. Perhaps with a little post office wine.

 

Andrew:

I dunno if anyone told Tim Todd’s people that “Sweet Dreams”, while one of the most recognizable Marilyn Manson songs, is actually by Eurythmics, for whom it is a signature song.

 

Jessica:

Yeah, this is a parody of a cover of an 80's synth-pop song. So much for originality. I guess it's a necessary evil for Tim Todd to bludgeon you to death with his cultural references.

 


Panel 8 Andrew:

They’re trying- they don’t want to condemn ALL secular music, just, well, a lot of it.

Of course, there are evangelicals out there who feel that even Christian rock is bad. Chick condemns all music with a beat. I guess Todd knows that that probably won’t fly with kids.

 

Jessica:

No, no. I totally get what our friend here is saying. I recall hearing Particle Man for the first time I nearly ran off and joined a cult of people who worshipped Universe Man. They warned against the corrupting influence of Triangle Man and preached conversion of all Person Men.

Instead I got drunk.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 9 Jessica:

I don't think Madonna Dahmer's mother ever told him it's impolite to point. He's been doing it in nearly every panel in this comic. Really bad manners.

Though maybe this guy actually has demonic powers. That guy in the first row appears to be melting. And all the people around him seem to be really happy about it to boot.

 

Andrew:

Well, that was quick. “This music is in opposition to everything I believe. Oh, wait, it’s really deep.” I can remember spending a lot of time trying to get to the bottom of some of the more opaque Smashing Pumpkins lyrics. Doesn’t mean they were actually deep, just that I was a teenager looking for meaning in things that I already liked.

 

Jessica:

You can hear the rusty gears grinding in this kid's head. He's really trying to parse out what B.S. his religion really is but he... can't... quite... get there.

I don't really care what else a song may have in it, if it contains the phrase "schoolyard cheese" it can't be all THAT deep. It's like something a second grader would throw together for a half-assed playground taunt. "Yeah? Well you smell like SCHOOLYARD CHEESE!" Sticks and stones.

 

   
   

Panel 10 Andrew:

…And now we’ve gone another 180 degrees to back where we started. What the hell, did Jason not know anything about “Madonna Dahmer” before he decided to shell out a hundred bucks in Ticketmaster service fees? I mean, I’m sure there was some other, more Amy Grant-like alternative available.

 

Jessica:

I don't mean to keep picking on the art style in this one, but the guy in the lower left hand corner looks like he's about to so Super Saiyan. And the guy on the opposite of Jason's huge distorted head kind of looks like the hairy guy from Chick's "The Sissy."

 

Andrew:

My face… is changing shape!!

 

Jessica:

The battle is still raging here. "God is false, God is true. God is false! GOD IS TRUE!" I honestly believe this is why most religions try to be insular and keep their adherents from consuming any of the secular culture. When you get out of that little bubble that a lot of the Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians are sequestered into growing up in they realize not everyone believes that insanity and they come to question it themselves. It's tragic how few of them get the opportunity, however.

 

   

Panel 11 Andrew:

Uh oh, the little moron got away. Some brother you are, Jason.

 

Jessica:

Probably out playing in traffic. What was Jason thinking bringing him out in public without his helmet. You know people like him need close supervision at all times. He could fall and hurt himself. Or drool on somebody.

 

   
   

Panel 12 Andrew:

My first thought was “why are his Bible friends at the concert?” Like they’d decided to follow him and see if he was ok, or something. But then it’s apparent he ran to find them, while searching for Benny. So how did Benny get from the concert to wherever this Bible study group is? I guess he’s got some kind of idiot savant direction-finding.

 

Jessica:

It would be funny if this was all taking place backstage in some dressing room or something. "What are you guys doing here?!?" "Oh, we have back-stage passes. We never miss a Dahmer concert." Friggin' hypocrites.

How DID Benny get back here? Is the concert arena like, next to the church/school where these kids are meeting? If so that would be a really unfortunate real estate situation. Sunday morning services can get kind of awkward for Grandma when you've got a touring production of Puppetry of the Penis going on right next door.

 

Andrew:

They must be in a big city or something. When I was growing up, if I wanted to go see a concert by a major act, I'd have to drive to Washington D.C. a little over an hour away. At that distance, Benny would have to be part homing pigeon.

 

Jessica:

I'll bet the B.H.M.C. is a serious animal at parties too. She's got stuff pierced you wouldn't believe even if you saw it.

 

   
   
   

Panel 13 Jessica:

Haw Haw Haw. Jason's a puss.

I can't imagine being "scared" by a concert like that. Disgusted, bored, slightly aroused maybe. But scared? I sincerely doubt it.

 

Andrew:

I like how in all of these "church" shots, the cross seems to be just barely restrained from lunging off the wall at some unsuspecting kid. I'm sure "killed by falling cross" wouldn't look too good on the police report.

 

Jessica:

Though, if that isn't a sign, I don't know what the hell is. As the great philosopher Homer Simpson said in one of his earlier works "...and what if we're worshipping the wrong god? Every week we're just making God madder and madder."

B.H.M.C. mocks your masculinity. That's gotta hurt.

 

 

 

   

Panel 14 Andrew:

“Meh, the whole shock-rock thing wasn’t my cup of tea, so tonight I’ll try Jesus. Nobody rocks harder than Jesus. At his last show, he died on the cross just to prove a point. Then he shot up into the heavens!”

 

Jessica:

Seriously. Just spin the wheel of "Superficial Deities" and take your pick for the evening. Hope to Christ you don't land on Bob Saget.

If you don't renew your mind nightly, and don't return it to the library, they're going to fine you. And that can add up real quick.

 

   
   

Panel 15 Andrew:

Well, at least someone pointed out how stupid “try Jesus” sounds.
How does a kid know he wants to commit to anything? This is just peer pressure indoctrination.

 

Jessica:

All of this malarkey makes me think someone needs to be committed.

 

Andrew:

Oh, Blue Haired Manga Chick. You can pray for me any day.

 

Jessica:

...yeah. With your mouf.

Pretty egalitarian of her to pray for Mr. Dahmer, too. That always kind of pissed me off. When you have an argument with Christians (or Muslims, etc.) and they finally give up as they tend to do and they're all like "Well, I'll pray for you." No, bitch. I don't need you to pray for me. I've got it covered. Seriously. Your mealy-mouthed condescension does not amuse me in the slightest.

 

   

Panel 16 Andrew:

You messed up bad? It’s not like you killed someone, kid. The most you’re guilty of is being ignorant of your own taste in music, which is just massively stupid.

 

Jessica:

We get this same sort of overreaction in Parental Controls. Just going to a shitty concert once isn't going to infect your brain. These people are worried about catching bad taste or poor fashion sense like it's oral herpes or something. Of course, I have it on good authority you can catch demons and AIDS the same way, so what do I know.

 

Andrew:

See what I mean? If that cross wasn't held back with heavy chains, those kids would go splat.

 

   

Conclusion
Andrew:

Well, this is actually pretty lightweight compared to other tracts. Nothing really happens to Jason- I’m glad they didn’t try to show him or his brother being abused or threatened by fans of “Madonna Dahmer,” but there’s also no serious issue here.
What I find most humorous about this one is the failure to recognize that Marilyn Manson and other similar acts exist because they will upset people like Tim Todd.

Controversy sells records. It’s as simple as that. Remember 2 Live Crew? They were charged with obscenity, and it took a record most people would never have heard and made it ubiquitous. Manson is the same way. Why do you name an album “Antichrist Superstar”? Because it’s going to send elderly grandmothers of all ages and genders into fits, that’s why. If it weren’t for the provocation, if people didn’t froth at the mouth at the very mention of Manson’s name, “Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids” might still be playing local shows in Fort Lauderdale.

If evangelicals simply shut their mouths, a lot of the “rule breaking” frisson of shock-rock would dissipate. Would such bands go away entirely? Dunno. I thought “Mechanical Animals” was a pretty damn good album in its own right, but without millions in dollars worth of sweet, sweet outrage, Manson might never have had the chance to record it. So maybe we owe evangelical culture warriors a perverse debt, for ensuring that Marilyn Manson and similar acts have the chance to shock again and again.

 

Jessica:

You're right of course that a sort of "feedback loop" gets started with these things. You've got nosy religious busybodies that want to curtail other people's behaviors and influence their sensibilities and as a counter to that you've got people like Manson and Co. who try to come up with the most ridiculous, sacrilegious out-there stuff the can come up with in order to shock and discredit those types. So the Pat Robertsons push back harder and try to introduce ridiculous legislation. Then the shockers do something even more outlandish. And it just goes back and forth ad nauseam. As my colleague pointed out, if everyone just ignored them they would go away.

 

   
   

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Last Modified: December 22, 2013

 

 

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