Hartley: The politically correct police are ruining classic cartoons
October 3, 2014
I'd like to ask a favor of all you do-gooders out there — all you sincere, bleeding hearts who are concerned about everything and want to make sure nobody is offended by anything, ever, for any reason. I'm sure your hearts are in the right place, but could you please stop making up untrue crap about the TV shows and movies of my childhood just to show how politically correct you are? I'd really appreciate it.
The latest idiocy comes courtesy of Amazon Prime Instant Video, which has chosen to run the following disclaimer for one of its shows: "Tom and Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today."
Oh, bravo, Amazon Prime or Warner Bros. or whoever wrote that disclaimer. Aren't you precious? Gosh, we're all so impressed by how thoughtful and repentant you are. Thank you so much for alerting us to all that horrible prejudice in Tom and freaking Jerry. God forbid we should fleetingly see a racist caricature in the background while a sociopathic mouse disembowels and chops up a cat in the middle of the screen.
Since when is "Tom and Jerry" racist? I used to watch it all the time, and though as a white man I'm not allowed to speak about racism, I don't recall ever thinking about a person's race or ethnicity while viewing it. I think you'd have to watch "Tom and Jerry" through pretty racist-colored glasses to feel it warrants a disclaimer like that.
If you must offer a disclaimer, why not let parents know that the cartoon is shockingly violent instead? You know how the hyper-violent Itchy and Scratchy from "The Simpsons" are modeled on Tom and Jerry? The only real difference is that "Tom and Jerry" cartoons are longer. In all honesty, children probably should never view them.
Of course, if you really want to gripe about "Tom and Jerry," why not let people know ahead of time that it sucks? The cat gets killed or otherwise defeated by the punk-ass mouse every single time. How lame is that? For that reason alone, I never cared for "Tom and Jerry." I watched it, naturally, since back in the day we only had about five channels, but I never liked it the way I loved "Looney Tunes."
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Amazon's "Tom and Jerry" nonsense is just the latest example of what is becoming an all-too-common narrative. Every month seems to bring a new tale of someone distorting history because they find everything offensive and evidently have way too much time on their hands. Let me give you a couple of examples.
In April, in response to Disney's announcement that a live-action version of the 1967 movie "The Jungle Book" was in the works, a few professors demanded that Disney make a less racist version of the film. Their contention was that King Louie and the other apes were meant to demean black people.
I saw "The Jungle Book" a few times as a kid. I didn't think it was racist then, and the first time I ever heard anyone claim it was racist was in April. You'd think that if it was so offensive, someone would have said something between 1967 and now, wouldn't you? I'll bet the professors demanding a less racist version are the kind who consider any depiction of an ape to be a symbolic black person. So who's really the racist?
The worst revision, though — and I know I'm going to take a lot of flak for this one — is Bert and Ernie from "Sesame Street." How dare you make them gay? They weren't gay when I was a child, and they're not gay now. They're asexual. They're puppets, for crying out loud — why are you assigning sexual orientations to them in the first place?
I don't care who's gay, who's straight or who's otherwise. I honestly don't. As long as you're happy, that's what counts. And I empathize with the LGBT community's fight for equal rights and acceptance. Good luck with that, honestly. But don't try to steal Bert and Ernie the way you stole rainbows. That ain't right.
What really gets me is that people didn't used to see "Tom and Jerry" and "The Jungle Book" as racist or see Bert and Ernie as gay. But now, thanks to some PC do-gooders, everyone's going to start looking at them that way.
Thanks for ruining them.
Todd Hartley finds Oscar the Grouch offensive to grouchy people and demands an apology. To read more or leave a comment, please visit http://zerobudget.net.