In the land of the ‘toon

Sarah Steimer

I wish I lived in a time when Looney Tunes could roam free.

When Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd could carry guns and were never considered to be threats to society because they were, perhaps, a little mentally unstable.

A time when Pepe’ Le Pew could hit on women without appearing to be a stalker.

When mobsters could roam free with cigars hanging from their oversized heads and no one was worried about youth crimes.

A land where Wile E. Coyote could attempt numerous murders of the Road Runner with boxes of TNT and no one would check their mailboxes for bombs.

Where Bugs Bunny could smoke a cigarette while he was in character and no one would assume it was shady marketing because rabbits somehow make smokes appealing to children.

A place where Daffy Duck’s traits could be taken at face value and not assumed to be a stereotype of a minority.

Where Porky Pig was just that – porky. He wouldn’t be obese or have an eating disorder but would just be porky.

No one would give the Tasmanian Devil Adderall because he runs about a bit and can’t keep track of anything.

I wish I lived in a time when we could let children’s entertainment be children’s entertainment. When politicians and religious sects and parents’ groups wouldn’t interfere with simple, childish fun. When themes and characters wouldn’t be broken down and analyzed until a five-minute skit becomes a 10-month controversy.

I want Bert and Ernie to be able to live together as friends and not assumed lovers.

I want Ren to plot the death of Stimpy without anyone trying to convince me that it’s really advocating domestic violence.

I want Dumbo to accidentally drink alcohol behind the clowns’ tent and I won’t expect a generation of alcoholics.

Sorry if you’re offended by the stereotypes, the insinuations and the whatnot. But you are the adult now. Children will not associate Patrick and SpongeBob parenting a clam as blatant homosexuality. A child does not decide Mexicans are lazy from watching Speedy Gonzales; she learns it from a prejudiced father. A child does not decide to be gay after watching the “Teletubbies;” he is born this way.

In 2005 Dr. James Dobson, founder of the conservative Christian group “Focus on the Family,” addressed members of Congress at a black tie dinner in Washington. He said SpongeBob had been included in a pro-homosexual video that was to be mailed to thousands of elementary schools to push a tolerance pledge by students, including tolerance of what Dobson called “sexual identity.” He said most of America’s favorite cartoons were in on the plot, Barney and Jimmy Neutron included. There was, in fact, a video promoting tolerance broadcast in 2002. At no point did this video promote tolerance of anything related to sex, sexual lifestyle or sexual identity.

What is this urge certain sects have to force analysis on simple cartoons, to demand that this really means that and there’s an underlying meaning under a certain pineapple or trash can?

It seems to me, at least, that more important issues stand far taller than these measly attempts at creating invisible social problems.

Censor violence and language meant for an older audience for the younger crowd. Let children’s programming be for the children. Point me to the evidence that shows the generation that grew up watching “Looney Tunes” is any more or less violent than the generation growing up with “Rocko’s Modern Life.”

I want to live in a land where children may be children and children’s programming may be for the children – free of adult investigations.

Sarah Steimer is a junior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].