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    Don't you just love a good cartoon? Popeye, The Road Runner, Bugs Bunny... Not that I still watch cartoons or any such thing. But the ones we grew up on were the real thing.

    What do I mean by saying they were the real thing? Well for instance, Popeye smoked a corn cob pipe. When is the last time you saw anyone smoking anything in a modern cartoon? That is real stuff. Hell, they rarely smoke on any TV shows anymore, let alone cartoons. And look at Alice the Goon. She was one butt ugly woman, and they kept all the goons secluded on an island, away from the rest of society. They don't have ugly characters in cartoons today.

    They do have fat cartoon characters though. In that respect they follow the real life of today's crowd to perfection. Fifty percent of Americans are overweight they say. And I would say, well over half of the fluffy, furry, cute, mild mannered creatures in cartoons today are fat as well. Actually, I believe it is closer to one hundred percent. They want overweight little kiddies to see overweight little creatures on TV so they won't feel bad about themselves? I guess...

    Now, if you stop and think about it, in all actuality, movies today more closely follow the cartoons of yesteryear than the modern cartoons do. Popeye would get the living crap beat out of him in every cartoon. In every action hero movie made today, the hero will get the living crap beat out of him. (Die Hard I, II, III, Rocky one through five, etc...) And then they come back and win the day!

    Why do you suppose Popeye would let Bluto beat the hell out of him before he finally ate his spinach? Oh, never mind, my parents had to do that to me too before I would eat that green, slimy foul tasting weed they passed off as being good for you even though you gaged when you try to eat it...

    And just who did Swee'Pea belong to??? I've heard rumors, oh yes I have. Everything to him being Popeye's son to him being Olive Oyl's cousin. I have my own theory, but I suppose I should keep that to my self...

    I wonder, did they worry about the ultra violence in cartoons in the fifties and sixties like they worry about ultra violence in movies today? How many times did the Wile E. Coyote character in the Road Runner cartoons get killed by his contraptions? How many times did he get mutilated, burned to a crisp, or mashed flat by a falling boulder? At least in today's movies, a character rarely gets killed more than once, or beat up more than two or three times...

    Bugs Bunny, now there was one classy 'wabbit'. He smoked cigars occasionally. He wore cool hats and disguises... Elmer Fudd was all the time trying to kill him! (Him and Porkey Pig both had speech impediments, how many times will you see that in cartoons now days?)

    Let me just go over this real quick. In old cartoons, they killed and mutilated each other, they had illicit children and smoked pipes and cigars. They fought all the time. Wimpy chased a bird around with a meat grinder! Those things are all pretty much true to life today. They had wars and shot rabbits. Daffy Duck stole riches and gold and money every chance he could! He was the biggest thief on the planet at the time...

    On the other hand, in today's cartoons, they are all friends. They are all happy, and they are all overweight. Granted, they have mixed in different races better. I mean you have blue creatures, red, black, orange... You have Gay and straight cartoon characters... That is all fine and dandy I suppose, but let's get real, nobody, but nobody gets along as well as the cartoon characters they present to the kids today. (Except for on the Cosby Show, and they are not a real family, contrary to popular belief...)I'm not so sure how well that prepares kids for real life.

    They learn how to spell and be friends and be polite and wear colorful clothing. So what happens when they walk out the door into the real world? They have never learned how to deal with a Bluto, or that Bluto like people actually exist! They don't stand a chance!!!

    I liked Olive Oyl by the way, she had legs that just wouldn't quit... And Betty Boop? Woof! Oh, sorry, I'm in control now. I think I'll go watch something a little more real life like, something with violence, something like... the news...


The following comments are for "I Yam What I Yam"
by The Hal

I ain't ever seen an illicit child in an old forties cartoon, but when I do, I'm just gonna drop everything and write an entire book about it.

I thought, though, that it was understood that violence in cartoons did not exist for the sake of having violence. When Elmer Fudd got blown away by his own gun because of some of Bugs' antics, it was a metaphor for the little guy having his day against the big guy...or whatever. When Wile E. was foiled by the Road Runner, it was about greed clouding judgement, regardless of smarts.

Somewhere along the line the meaning got lost and became mistaken for a parents' worst nightmare, but we make the same mistake by thinking that cartoon slapstick was just pure comical fun with no substance. Don't forget that these early cartoons were shown to grown adults in theaters as well as children.

Except that it's now for children exclusively, it really is no different today, it just becomes harder for domestic animators to get their point across. No anvils, no pickaxes, no paperclips-that-could-make-for-dangerous-here's-fun-in-your-eye-antics. Nonetheless, there's that moral to the story that every child has to learn before they grow up.

Chuck Jones, what a guy. The man had ideas...


( Posted by: TachyonOne [Member] On: February 25, 2002 )

rants and ramblings
Cartoons are as much a reflection of culture as any other aspect of a nation, people, etc. Sure, there are integrated colors in cartoons. Does it mean that races actually mix? I wish it were so. Let's face it; the notion of an integrated society is a pipe dream in the annuls of democracy, idealized in cartoons, and fed to young children. Hopefully, they'll learn where others didn't. (Maybe the others never watched the New Smurfs(tm)?)

However, I can't say that I mind turning on Dexter's Lab after a long day* at work. (*By which I mean that I work more than I would usually work, which is linked directly to the amount of coffee, in cups, that I drink, and a number, in coffees, of under seven, for any more than seven and I may as well leave early anyways)

I do very much agree that cartoons are a tool to inundate children into a "proper" form of thinking, for the Hero must Always Win. If not, Evil goes out and Evildoes, perpetually. But that asshole the roadrunning evildoer, man, does he ever have it coming. I've learned my lesson from primetime - my two kids are armed to the teeth with acme .50 baretts, and I gotta tell you, if any Evil Villians show up here, they're fucked. Thank god for American Media, I wouldn't have known if it weren't for them. -ak!

( Posted by: ak7raplt [Member] On: February 26, 2002 )

Cartoons and laughter
I'll not put a number rating to this, since it's an opinion. I did think it was thought provoking. I've always enjoyed cartoons, although, I rarely see them anymore. I guess too many other things going on. I will say though, when my nieces and nephews have on a Bugs or a Daffy, I'll be right their with them.

I don't know if I really thought much about the violence on the hundreds of Saturdays I spent with my little brother watching hours of cartoons. We just thought they were funny or at least fun and Saturday Cartoons became quite a ritual in our childhood. It wasn't until becoming an adult that I was even made aware of the violence in these cartoons. As a child, I only knew that Elmer was gonna blast Daffy, because, after all, it was Duck Season...or was it wabbit season? Either way, cartoons were just fun. If they taught me anything I think it was incidental to the joy of eating cereal and wrestling with my brother for the warmest blanket. It makes me laugh, thinking of my brother, now a grown man, red faced, dressed in his feety pajamas, fighting like hell to get the soft blanket. Both of us wrestling hard, but desperate to be quiet enough not to awaken our sleeping parents.

For those brief few hours Saturday morning, the world was gone, replaced by a world where, in the end, everything turned out all right. It was always over too fast, once Soul Train and American Bandstand came on we knew it was over. Then came the chores, the weekend homework and the ever present horror of Monday's "back to school".

I can't say for sure how the cartoons of today will impact on childrens psyche's. I only hope that it can create the kind of environment that we had as kids. That it will give kids a few hours each week to...well...just be kids.

( Posted by: Jeff [Member] On: February 26, 2002 )

I love this
Great job Hal if for nothing else, the trip down memory lane. It's well written and well argued.

In support of your view, I'll offer up the "Simpsons." In a lot of ways, it's very much like the cartoons of yesteryear. Homer is a big-fat-gluttonous-alcoholic-homophobe who is constantly being hurt. Bart knows he'll probably grow up being a worthless drunk and he actually looks forward to it. The only character whose future holds promise is Lisa and she is a total outcast-loser-nerd. Now that is art reflecting real-life, and it's probably why the show continues to be so damn popular.

Nicely done Hal,


( Posted by: Richard Dani [Member] On: February 26, 2002 )

That was great, made me think and kind of reminisce (sp?), even though I didn't grow up in the forties and fifties, I did spend my childhood in a time when they still showed cartoons like that (which was not that long ago, really...) Damn Tipper Gore and the PRMC to hell! By the way, good job on the write-off.

( Posted by: Virtex [Member] On: February 26, 2002 )

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