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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Angry Little Aardvark

No, I am not writing Little Golden Books, now. I am sufficiently exercised that I am dropping the third-person pose, even.

If I IMDB (yes, I used that as a verb) a cartoon from my childhood, and read one more review by some harbinger of White Guilt like this:

The Brothers Matzoriley

This third segment was unrelated to the Super Six, and featured a three-headed "Siamese Triplet". Each head had its own distinct personality, with one head being that of an Irish ruffian, another being a Jewish-American coward, and the third being a wisened Chinese. All three personalities were of a stereotypical nature that would be considered extremely politically incorrect by current standards, and quite probably offensive to the ethnic cultures which they misrepresented. (Wikipedia)

...well, the results won't be pretty! "...Quite probably offensive to the ethnic cultures which they misrepresented" indeed. These are CARTOONS. They naturally draw (ha, draw!) from the features most easy to exaggerate and caricature. If they were to be authentic, actual factual representations of ethnae, they would have been National Geographic specials on CBS, narrated by Alexander Scourby. But no, they are cartoons, done on the cheap to populate the Vast Wasteland, and voiced by actors who drew from vaudeville, and its electronic heir, Old Time Radio.
Shucks, "ethnic" actors like Eddie "Rochester" Anderson played to the stereotypes. Better a shuck-and-jive actor who eats, than a proto-"civil rights" activist who starves.
I am livid over what has been done to our cultural heritage. I am a collector of, errmmmm, impolitic cartoons, from WWII buck-toothed Japanese, to lederhosen wearing Nazis, to watermelon-eating saucer-eyed ne...no, Blac.....shoot, denizens from a minstrel show. Not because I am a bigot, (I find the "N" word as offensive as G** D***...and trust me, I find THAT offensive.), and as a target of cartoon bigotry myself (short, bald, kinda goofy...you figger it out) I sympathise with my fellow stereotypees, but c'mon... THEY'RE FUNNY!

Reminds me of the Turner execs who banned Speedy Gonzales to the Barrio of Offensive Toons.
"OH!"said they. "The Hispanics might be Offended by the broad May-hee-can stereotype."
They finally got talked back into showing them- especially by the Hispanic fans who lionize the rapid rodent for always triumphing over his foes. Of course, maybe this might have tilted it a bit:

Speedy boosters shouldn't expect to see their furry hero anytime soon, at least in the United States, Goldberg said. But there is a place where Speedy can still be found zipping across TV screens and, presumably, where the crude stereotypes he embodies don't touch a cultural nerve.

That place: The Cartoon Network Latin America, where, ironically enough, Speedy Gonzales is "hugely popular," Goldberg said. --FoxNews


belledame222 said...

> I sympathise with my fellow stereotypees, but c'mon... THEY'RE FUNNY!

Mileage varies. I've never understood what exactly is supposed to be so funny about "ching chong, ching chong" and so forth myself. It's not that i secretly think it's funny and am just Disapproving because i know i'm supposed to; i honestly don't get it. it's like people telling me i don't know Jerry Lewis is funny. *blink*

But, the thing is, in general, when someone -else- who is the target of a joke (ethnically stereotyped or otherwise) doesn't find the joke funny, and the joke maker and audience members, rather than at -least- engaging the Someone Else, insists, "no, you canNOT be offended, because IT'S FUNNY. LAUGH. whassamatta, you too SENSITIVE?" (elbowrib elbowrib)

...generally speaking, in my book, that is the sign of a jerk.

just sayin'.

The Aardvark said...

I just got called a JERK!
By someone who DOESN'T EVEN KNOW ME!

Well, we agree on Jerry Lewis. Utterly.

The point of my little exercise is to point out that... the stereotype in an animated cartoon is generally NOT offensive to the stereotypee. The Speedy Gonzales cartoons are a case in point. They are LOVED in Mexico and South America. I have yet to meet a single living soul who was offended by a cartoon lampooning their ethnic persuasion. Even the most egregious large-lipped, watermelon-eating Negro in, say, "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs" STILL outsmarts the bad guys! He is a "comical" hero, but still the hero of the piece.

All...literally ALL of the noise I hear is from Liberal Arts College educated white guys and gals who think that the Japanese should be offended by the AIP studios Dick Tracy cartoon character Joe Jitsu, f'rinstance, or that the guys at the local taqueria should be offended at Speedy Gonzales. No-one thinks I should be offended by Elmer Fudd.

I am hurt.

I will say that I see a HUGE difference between "telling a joke" and an animated cartoon. I find racial jokes offensive. There is a PERSONAL aspect to telling a racial joke that separates it in my mind from, say, a cartoon from another era, with different sensibilities. Therein lies the key. Today, that sort of thing cannot fly. Warner Brothers won't be putting out wildly stereotyped propaganda cartoons for "The War on Terror", because the market will not bear it. Sensitivities have changed. What I militate against is redacting history by hiding Things We Don't Like Anymore. To trot out Santayana one more time: those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

You cannot learn from what is hidden.