The Truth for Youth
|Original review author(s):||Norad Bush|
|Webcomic Name:||The Truth for Youth|
|Author:||Tim Todd and an unknown artist.|
|Start Date:||2002-ish, I think.|
|End Date:||Last copyright dates on most comics are 2004.|
|Genre:||Religious propaganda manga (yes, you just read that).|
|Defining Flaw:||Fierce bible-beating, fear tactics, and misinformation all in the name of the Lord.|
I came across this comic in the forums section, like a ripe apple begging to be plucked (that’s a sexual innuendo for you. Ladies?). The comic was described as your standard-issue Christian propaganda vehicle and that’s exactly what I found. As far as I can tell, these comics were commissioned by Tim Todd to promote the good word and give helpful advice in dealing with real world issues. These books were to be distributed at churches and (as he put it) "legally smuggled" into schools (in spite of the fact that regular Bibles are already allowed in schools). Normally, this could be considered a perfectly noble project except for the fact that it spreads outright fucking lies in the name of pushing an agenda.
As you may have guessed, I have a problem with that.
It was always really, really preachy with no basis in logic and reason whatsoever.
Story and Plot
The comic isn't one continuous story so much as it is a collection of short stories. Each story bears a really obvious, ham-handed moral lesson THAT YOU MUST FOLLOW OR GO TO HELL! The moral is taught by having the characters spout some incredulous bullshit just to get the author's message across or by sending the characters into ludicrous fucking situations just to vilify the opposition. Some of the characters are recurring, like the hideously self-righteous mouthpiece, Rasheed. I suppose having the black kid as the preacher is a welcome change from the usual blonde-haired, blue-eyed heroes we're used to seeing in religious tales, but it seems more like a ploy to appeal to children in disadvantaged neighborhoods (Todd's likely target for this material). Plus, it's not like the Nordic angels are completely absent from the piece.
Ah, Right Wing Bible-thumpers. Go ahead and try to hide your racism. I see right through yooooooou!
The Truth for Youth suffers from a serious case of WALLS OF TEXT syndrome. Nearly every single page in this piece is covered in word vomit. This is a bit of a shame because it covers up the art which is otherwise passable. The characters are (mostly) drawn okay enough and the backgrounds are pretty solid. The coloring has a nice water colored look to it. The anime style of the characters is quite a bit overdone, with really exaggerated expressions and wonky anatomy here and there. The problems with the character rendering here seem to be associated with the usual slavish adherence to anime style. I’ve complained about this sort of thing before. Just because anime artists constantly repeat these mistakes, that doesn't mean every wannabe-mangaka has to.
That said, I don't think the anime thing is particularly the fault of the artist. Neither are the WALLS OF TEXT. I have a feeling that the hard-driven anime style is more the fault of the commissioner of the piece: Tim Todd and his ministries. This is, again, another ploy at trying to be hip and cool to the youth. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the Todd ministries development meeting.
"I need the kids in these comics to look like something kids like. Hey, what’s that Chinese show the kids are watching these days? The Poh-kee-man? Draw me a bunch of characters like that Poh-kee-man stuff! It's for the children."
Wow, the writing. The writing is easily the turd in this water colored punch bowl. The storylines often make no sense. The dialogue is wretched at best. At worst, it is the source of the blatant misinformation and scare tactics used by Tim Todd ministries to get you hip with God! It’s… it’s just incredibly horrible.
Some of the dialogue makes it obvious that the TTM is trying way too hard to appeal to kids. Phrases such as "wack", "no diggity", and "buggin'" make their way in. These comics were published in 2004. Not only does it hurt to see shit like this shoved in kids' faces just to appeal to them, but it's downright insulting. Tim Todd Ministries, even if it was totally okay (it's not) to use urban vernacular to appeal to kids and teenagers, would it have killed you to look up more recent stuff? This shit reads like a transcript from an episode of "Martin".
Each story runs pretty much the same way: some character proposes some belief that's bound to get shot down. The shooting down happens either through Rasheed and his friend's constant brow-beating or some incredibly bizarre circumstance taking place as a result of the characters' bad (i.e. non-Christian) choices. The most hilarious ending takes place in the Harry Potter parody where the characters follow their interest in Harry Potter, sorry, Hairy Polarity (guffaw) to a Satanic worship chamber. Literally. Holy fuck I’m not making this up.
Wow. Really, Christians? Do you really believe readers of Harry Potter end up in fucking Satanic worship chambers? The worst thing HP fans end up doing is writing slash fiction of Severus Snape and Draco Malfoy (creepy fan girls, looking at you), but that's hardly what I'd call blasphemy. If writing creepy stories about under-age characters could be considered heretical, the majority of authors criticized on this wiki would be utterly Hell-bound.
Man, now I wish that WAS the case. Damn you, Christian extremists for giving me false hope!
Spreading complete untruths about things like Harry Potter is pretty much the weapon of choice of the Tim Todd ministries propaganda machine. Facts are either twisted or downright forged all in the name of spreading the word of the Lord. According to TTM, the following facts are the fucking gospel:
1. Condoms are not an effective means of preventing HIV. 2. Rock music seeks to replace the word of God with heretical teachings. 3. Homosexuality is something that can be "cured". 4. Belief in evolution makes you a RACIST (pot, meet kettle, then both of you meet agenda). 5. Neanderthals were an ancestor of modern humans. 6. Carbon dating doesn’t work. 7. The Bible alone can help you recover from that pesky cocaine addiction.
However, a little bit of applied common sense and a bit of tap dancing on my keyboard reveal that all of this is utter bullshit. Let's explore!
- Condoms are not an effective means of preventing HIV – According to the Center for Disease Control, condoms are actually very effective at preventing the spread of HIV and other STDs when used properly every time during vaginal intercourse. Furthermore, the page mentions that condoms are only a million of an inch thick. That translates to about 0.000025 mm. However, condoms are engineered to meet government specifications for thickness, permeability, and other qualities. According to the Standards and Specifications of Latex Condoms D-3492, a condom can be no thinner than 0.03 mm. That's 1200 times thicker than is claimed in the comic.
- Rock music is the Devil's music – The comic doesn't explicitly define what is "rock music", which means it could be referring to any music that incorporates an electric guitar and a driving beat. If that's the case, how the fuck do you guys explain Creed or P.O.D.?
- Homosexuality can be "cured" – While there are faith-based programs out there that advertise the ability to "cure" someone of homosexuality, these programs often are run by unlicensed therapists who often expose their patients to electroshock therapy and other physical and emotional harm. Oh yeah, and they don’t work.
- Belief in evolution makes you racist – Can anyone show me one fucking academic book published as of 1980 that even mentions the word "negro" in the context of Evolution?
- Neanderthals were ancestors of modern humans – There are still rumblings of debate about this, but most scientists agree that neanderthals are classified as Homo neanderthalensis, not Homo sapiens.
- Carbon dating doesn't work – What the fuck? Carbon dating is a science based on the half life of radioactive Carbon-14. It may not be exact, but the margin of error is nowhere near as bad as described in the comic. Besides that, carbon dating is only one out of several hundred dating methods used by scientists today, and all of these methods produce concordant results.
- The Bible alone can help you recuperate from your cocaine addiction – Unlikely. Even after 12-step programs, relapse rates among cocaine users are extremely high. The comic doesn't even make mention of the character entering a drug treatment program, so this seems like a big ol' pile of bullshit to me. Love of the Bible cannot compensate for a physical dependency on a drug. It just doesn't work that way.
So there you have it, kiddies. Research is your friend. For many of The Truth for Youth comics, no real source is provided for the obviously doctored scientific data, but instead, we get Bible quotes that loosely tie into the characters' dialogue. Without citing one's sources (like I did with all that research up there), the opportunity to debate the facts is completely nil, and much of this information that merely sounds factual can easily be accepted as factual by those who are ignorant.
I never thought I’d find myself using XKCD to illustrate a point, but…
Yeah. Randall Munroe may be a piss poor cartoonist, but he's a man of science and I respect that.
There is absolutely no mention of who the artist is in any of these mini books. It's possible they are some third-world art grunt who had no idea to ask for things like "royalties" or "credit for work performed", or they're an artist who knew full well what a raging turd pile this comic would be and asked to left off the book credits lest it mar their career. That's the best I can assume anyway.
Tim Todd appears to be a minister working to improve the lives of youth through the power of religion. It sounds like a noble cause, but he's clearly not above spreading pure misinformation to get it done. He's also not a fan of this whole separation of church and state thing:
By the way, it's a complete myth that Bibles and prayer are banned from public schools. The law states that schools can't make kids read the Bible or pray. It's just an imaginary grievance people like Todd use to stir up outrage among their followers.
If the story "Case Dismissed" is any indication, he struggled with drug abuse before finally seeing the light of God. Although, given all the other lies seen in this comic, I’m skeptical of this. What I don’t understand about the likes of Tim Todd is why they have no problem lying when it says in the Ninth Commandment of Christianity's basic fundamental moral code, "thou shalt not bear false witness." Unless Christians want to play dumb and say "Oh, we didn’t know that condoms had to meet government specifications".
In which case, Moses should have included an eleventh commandment, "thou shalt do thine fucking homework before thoust claimest shit."
The Truth for Youth is anything but. Compared to Law for Kids, which really only sought to educate children on the laws of the state of Arizona, this thing is an absolute propaganda machine that insults readers' intelligence with its outright lies and uses fear tactics to instill compliance. These comics are more about control than they are about saving anyone's soul. Otherwise, they'd give readers all the facts (real ones!) and let them make up their own minds. It's not the gospel according to the Lord. It's the gospel according to Big Brother, and his name is Tim Todd.
- The comic itself - Get saved by Jesus. It's not a request. It's a fucking demand.
- TheAmazingAtheist's review of The Truth for Youth, focusing on comics about the supposed dangers of pornography, rock music, homosexuality, not praying in school, and how Darwin's theory of evolution via common descent is responsible for racism today.