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Classic toons are NOT P.C.Posted Monday, August 6, 2007, at 9:46 AM
"It's 'pop' then it's 'wham,' understand?"
They sure don't make 'em like this anymore, that's for sure. That's my impression after my helping of spinach-induced violence arrived Friday.
There is no way this would ever get broadcast on TV in this day and age. It is far, far too politically incorrect.
"It was wrong then and it's wrong now" reads the disclaimer that begins each DVD, which deals with the racist, sexist and ethnic stereotypes of depression-era America that existed when these classic toons were made.
And boy, were these stereotypes evident. In his first appearance, Popeye delivers stinging abuse to an African-American and in the next two cartoon shorts, dispatched large numbers of both Native-Americans and Mexicans via his fists.
And the violence would never get past today's rigid standards for children's programming. In one short, Popeye tries to join the "Bruiser's Club," made up totally of thugs who just beat each other to a pulp.
Even poor Olive Oil wasn't immune from assault. If Bluto didn't get a little sugar from the lady, he began to savagely choke and shake her. And Popeye knocked her around a couple of times as well, if only by accident.
And just who's kid is "Swee'pea" anyway?
Also, this set doesn't even touch the W.W.II propaganda that cranked out some of the most horrific racial depictions ever set to film.
I used to watch this classic stuff back in the late 60's when some fellow in a Hawaiian shirt out of Channel 48 in Huntsville [on UHF, the days before cable TV] would come on every afternoon and present about an hour of these theatrical shorts.
However, today's attitudes means that many of these toons have been quietly phased out and forgotten over the years. In fact, I'll bet 50 percent of the programming that my generation watched as a child wouldn't get past today's politically correct censorship. [Anyone remember the one with Yosemite Sam in a Confederate uniform?]
Think about it: Imagine an animator trying to get this concept past the review boards of the major producers of today's children's programming.
"It's about a tough, one-eyed sailor with a speech impediment who smokes a pipe, gets into fist fights at the drop of a hat and delivers abuse to ethnic minorities on a regular basis. He and his rival are constantly trying to get the attention of a fickle, anorexic bean pole who seems to be two-timing both the hero and the villain. There's a baby of questionable parentage thrown into the mix and ...oh .. did we mention that the hero uses a strength enhancing substance at the end of each cartoon to beat the stuffing out of his opponent?"
There's no way this stuff would get on the air.
Thank goodness we have fine, upstanding role models like the BRATZ and rap and hip-hop artists for our kids today. What would we ever do without them?
UPDATE: Apparently, I'm not the only one who is commenting on this.
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Brian Mosely is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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