8 thoughts on “Silly Rabbit! Cartoons are for Kids! #4

  1. Great post again 🙂 It’s definitely easy on both sides, as you point out, to dismiss the whole thing because there’s a part you don’t like. “There’s no moral!” leading to dismissing cartoons without one. “The morals were a marketing ploy!” leading to dismissing cartoons with one. The one fact does not inherently invalidate the whole.

    Indeed, this sounds a lot like arguments that children’s media is inherently childish and for children only and adults should not partake or enjoy it. This to include animation, as well as comics, Young Adult literature, what have you. Just because some may be childish does not mean that all is; nor that it can’t still be enjoyed.

    Which can really expand into broader genre critiques as a whole. Just because some of (insert genre here: mystery, horror, science fiction, fantasy, what have you) is maybe not good, does not mean the whole genre isn’t literature, or isn’t good, or isn’t worth reading or liking.

    Yet I know of people with all of the attitudes I’ve just mentioned above.

    Anyway, I didn’t know all of this history about cartoons, especially not thinking of how the older cartoons – still I’m sure to be found on the air and in the stores today (we have several seasons of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show sitting on a shelf at home from Costco, for instance) – wound up still being available to later generations.

    It reminds me of a segment on the John Oliver show – journalists and politicians referencing The Jetsons to talk about some new invention or product, because it’s apparently their only science fiction reference. But it’s also a powerful, uniting element in society, and I imagine most of the people hearing the reference got it.

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      • Yeah… it kind of goes back to a whole (disconnected over time) blog series of my own… which I should probably make into an e-book or some such at some point! 🙂

        And which is actually probably getting a new piece this week as I discuss Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud…

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        • You reminded me (indirectly) of something I’ve been thinking about but haven’t figured out a way to blog yet. Cartoons in the 80s were intentionally smarmy–marketing to parents– even though a lot of kids noticed and thought it was ridiculous. (I didn’t, until I got a little older, but it’s among the many reasons I was teased for liking He-Man.) Cartoons today are intentionally self-aware and brimming with pop culture references. I assume this is also marketing to parents, but I don’t know for sure. There’s one I’m trying to watch now, and I really like it, but the amount of times the protagonist drops a pop culture reference is starting to be distracting and pull me out of the story.

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          • That reminds me of Animaniacs, which I feel like might be one of the first to really do that. Along with its fellow Steven Spielberg cartoon, Freakazoid. Going back and watching the villain Guitierrez in Freakazoid, now that I know Khan from Star Trek, was a real treat!

            And of course, pop culture references are also rife with problems. For instance, they can create a sense that the things they are referencing are the “important” parts of culture, and the rest isn’t. Also, they will potentially not stand the test of time the same way, once the references are older or stale. So, it will be interesting to see!

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  2. MLP also has very tongue-in-cheek “lessons” a lot of the time. Like Pinkie Pie’s “Dear Princess Celestia… This week, I didn’t learn anything!” that cracked me up for ages. Maybe that’s just an effect of doing a moral every single time, that some of them will be jokes, but it makes a difference. I remember at the end of Birds of Prey they always had this big “Dear Princess Celestia” discussion out on that balcony, but it was played straight and got really annoying.


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