Jim Wilson sent this blog entry from down under. I’m not familiar with this character. My upbringing didn’t include “Psalty.”
My name is Psalty… and you’re here with me now!
I recently came across something from my childhood. It is a track from what maybe the first album I ever owned, definitely one of the first I remember. Here, have a listen:
Yes, despite the subsequent evolution of my taste, and my way of thinking, my first ever album was concept album about a talking song book name Psalty. It was also an attempt at heavy-handed, feel good, religious indoctrination. Psalty is a singing song book who loves Jesus and has an unending need for children to sing the songs found in his pages. For those who are wondering, Psalty looked like this:
There are also were some awkward attempts to turn this image into a live action character, which looked like this:
Good grief, that is creepy! I think the attempt to put cartoon style eyes on a real human makes this actor really freaky looking. Then of course there is the fact he is in that oversized book costume and talks in this unsettling squeaky voice. As the creators became aware of these issues or got a better budget, Psalty started to look more like this:
As I noted before, Psalty presents a very feel good and shallow flavor of Christianity. His songs tend to be bouncy ditties kids can easily sing along with. He never talks about the notion of hell, or any of the more controversial or objectionable aspects of the religion, as his target audience are way too young to grasp these things. He tells kids Jesus is their savior, but very much waters down the idea of what Jesus is supposed to be saving them from (his father’s wrath).
The heaviest he gets is saying things like “you can sing Christian songs till your blue in the face, but if it’s not from the heart it’s not praise”. Psalty’s target audience is children too young to think for themselves or think critically at all. His purpose is to give kids generally positive feelings about Christianity and imbed a few doctrinal points in them. Psalty implants the message that Jesus loves us, and that we should constantly praise him, and does this best in people who are too young to ask, how anyone knows these. It’s a formula that takes advantage of the inability of kids to question authority figures (which apparently include big talking books).
Being the type of person who would just assume parents let their children freely make up their own minds about such things, or at the very least hold off on the indoctrination until they are old enough to think for themselves, I find indoctrination tools like Psalty to be nefarious. On the other hand, I imagine many young people can overcome such indoctrination. I certainly did and I now find Psalty to be so creepy, awkward and just weird that my recent rediscovery of him has been caused me much amusement. I’ll let this video speak for itself (I would not advise watching the entirety of it):
Also of note, Psalty is the creation of Debbie Kerner and Ernie Rettino, and will be the subject of an upcoming animated film in 2015, that most of you will probably never hear about otherwise. Also of note Kerner and Rettino are also the creators of Solomon the supersonic salamander: