But Seriously, Brent, When Do Race Bannon and Dr. Quest Get Their Pink Triangles?

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Thanks to reader Mr. Nice Guy, we now know that Parents Television Council poobah Brent Bozell wants to drop the anvil on today's cartoons for kids, in which there are "dark, powerful, oftentimes scary scenarios where there is hard violence." The PTC has just released a study detaling that cartoons are packed with 6.3 "dark acts" an hour.

Don't mistake Bozell, whose group singlehandedly keeps the FCC complaint division in business, for one of those uptight squares who isn't in touch with his inner Bugs Bunny, though:

"I grew up with 'Tom and Jerry' and I think I'm OK," he said.

"Popeye beat up Bluto and you cheered," he said.

Me? As a fan equally of easy credit and hamburgers, when I watched Popeye, I was always rooting for Wimpy. But I think I'm OK, too. And really, I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday for a burger today.

Does the relentlessly anti-commie Bozell realize that he's channeling Frankfurt School dogma as laid down by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in Dialectic of Enlightenment? "Donald Duck in the cartoons…[gets his] thrashing so that the audience can learn to take their own punishment."

And does Bozell realize that Tom and Jerry are part of the great international Zionist conspiracy?

And does he realize that this is probably not the best time to be obsessing like a fundamentalist nutjob over cartoons (there's a war on, for Zog's sake)?

And why does the PTC web site carry the voyeuristic slogan "because our children are watching"?

"This should be the age of utter innocence for a child," Bozell told the AP. "Hollywood should do anything within its power to protect that innocence." More here.

The PTC study, "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing," here. Among the other findings: There's a whopping 0.62 instances per hour of "sexual content" on kids' TV.

For a last word on the dread peril of cartoon sex on basic cable, go here.

A short note to Bozellians: I Still Want My @#$%&! MTV! (and cartoon violence) for my kids.

And a nice comment about the PTC study from the anti-nanny-state group TV Watch (full disclosure: I'm a member of their coalition):

"This group has a history of making sensational claims in order to push government control of content. Parents relying on ubiquitous and user friendly technology, ratings information and their own good judgement to manage TV is the best approach, not increased government control, regardless of whether the program is Yosemite Sam, the Road Runner or a scene from a show clearly intended for adults."

Race Bannon groupies go here but before you buy the rumors, remember Jezebel Jade.

NEXT: Pretty Pictures

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  1. Nutbars, as a child of the 80s, the cartoons I watch were just as bad if not worse. Voltron, He-Man, Transformers, Robotech, and (OMG! Ultraviolent) G.I.Joe. Sure, us little boys PLAYED “bang! You’re dead!”, that didn’t mean any of us really wanted to shoot and kill the other, it was pretend. You lay there until all the cowboys or indians were “dead”, but we didn’t really want to kill Indians. It’s true, men are wired for violence, with or without cartoons, but (mentally) mature men don’t HAVE to act on it.

  2. And why does the PTC web site carry the voyeuristic slogan “because our children are watching”?

    Sure, they’re always thinking of the children, but what about the kitties?

  3. An excerpt of the report:

    The WB had the highest levels of offensive/
    excretory content with 1.17 instances per
    episode, followed by ABC Family with 0.41
    instances per episode.The WB had the highest levels of offensive/
    excretory content with 1.17 instances per
    episode, followed by ABC Family with 0.41
    instances per episode.

    Excretory content? We all knew that the WB sucked, but now there’s proof!

    Really. Where’s Dr. Zin when you need him.

    Die nannies, die.

    Out here.

  4. The Parent’s Group were able to zero on this with their laser:

    “It detailed a scene on Fox’s “Shaman King” where two characters have a lengthy sword fight. One character is knocked out by a blow to the head, and his opponent reaches into the chest of his screaming rival and pulls out his “soul,” leaving him dead.”

    Okay, I have a solution: don’t make the sword fights so “lengthy”, and have a disclaimer at the end:

    “PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! Do not reach into your little brother’s chest and pull out his “soul”. This will most probably leave him dead!”

    There. Everyone’s happy.

  5. This should be the age of utter innocence for a child,” Bozell told the AP. “Hollywood should do anything within its power to protect that innocence.”

    In other words, we want to dump our kids in front of a TV to be entertained. It’s your job to make sure that our sensibilities aren’t offended.

    How long does that age of utter innocence last? 0-21? Is there an intermediary stage where more mature content is appropriate?

    I already know the answer. There is never a need for programming more mature than Davey and Goliath or Joy Junction

  6. I assume that the PTC have seen this . Hysterical.

    I drive by the PTC every day on the way to work. I always wonder what they are doing up there. Are they all just watching tv and scribbling down notes like :

    “9:15 am Tinky-Winky acts gay. Undermines marriage and I think that Dipsy may be a negro”

  7. You folks hire the wrong nannies. One of our nannies taught our son to say “Salud” and clink his sip-cup full of milk. Always attentive, she noticed that his fascination with motor vehicles, so she put him on her lap with the car parked and let him grab the wheel and pretend to steer.

    Yes, our nanny taught Elvis to drink and drive.

  8. america needs hard gay more than ever.

  9. Better Tom & Jerry than Ted Turner’s propagantoon “Captain Planet.”

  10. In other words, we want to dump our kids in front of a TV to be entertained. It’s your job to make sure that our sensibilities aren’t offended.

    That’s it, precisely. I heard him on Fresh Air describing how he put his five year old daughter in front of the TV while he made dinner, only to find out she had flipped to a dating show with sexual content. Strange that he decided the solution was to pressure television not to show such shows when his daughter might be watching, instead of actually controlling what his five year old daughter watches. It’s pathetic, really.

  11. MK: The “Bannon Custody Case” episode is one of the funniest things that I have ever seen in my life.

  12. When I was a kid I hated militaristic and violent cartoons like “He-Man” and “G.I. Joe” and “Thundarr” because nobody ever actually died. I loved “Star Wars” and thought those cartoons were always a terrible cop out because, with all that gunfire, all those sword swings, no-one was ever hit. I was thrilled when, on “Robotech”, one of the aliens stood in front of the exhausts of a jet and was burned to cinders. Now THAT was entertainment. You never saw anyone hit by small arms fire in “Starblazers,” either, but there were so many ships exploding, I knew people were dying in them, so I was willing to cut “Star Blazers,” with its beautiful weapons and space craft designs, some slack.

    More violence please!

  13. I agree with mitch. The problem isnt violence, its the banality of the violence and the lack of consequences. Its violence where no one gets hurt that is dumbing down our kids.

    [libertarian]
    Anyway, as long as the government keeps its filthy paws off my adult swim I’ll be ok[/libertarian]

  14. “dark, powerful, oftentimes scary scenarios where there is hard violence.”

    I find myself wondering how to tell “hard violence”” from the other kind.

    Should it be preceeded by a triple axel?

    Do you think that Jerry’s mallet counts, or just the frying pan? Surely Bug’s glove-with-an-anvil-in routine makes the grade.

  15. It all depends on the vote of the Russian judge, anon.

  16. I’ve had kids since 1998, and the older one has been watching cartoons since roughly the end of the impeachment hearings in 1999. I’ve managed to both accomodate cartoons and enforcing bans on certain shows by a combination of “I’m the Mom and I say so” and use of that amazing invention, the DVD player. I put on a Scooby – Doo disc and get out some Hot Wheels, et voila, an hour to prepare dinner without worrying about them watching something gross. Somehow I think Mr. B and his minions should be able to negotiate this as well as I do.

    Final point: I find the news shows, both local and national, especially cable, are a lot worse than even dreck like “Ed, Edd, and Eddie.” I mean, the coverage on Fox News, which my conservative Catholic Mother-in-Law watched obsessively, of the disappearance of that girl in Aruba had as much sexual content as anything on “Comedy Central.” I couldn’t see that Fox had any nobler motive for the nightly Missing Girl report other than a chance to be Puritanical and prurient at the same time. I mean, there were no great national issues at stake. I notice Mr. B isn’t advocating punishing Fox or CNN. My sons certainly asked me a lot more questions eliciting responses beginning with “Um, ur, uhhh . . . ” after they saw those reports at Grandmother’s than after any cartoon.

  17. “dark, powerful, oftentimes scary scenarios where there is hard violence.”

    Of which included characters walking into closed doors and depictions of fire.

  18. I like the Jonny Quest reference in the title.

    I’ve got the original series on DVD. My favorite “politcally incorrect” scene (that would never make it into a current cartoon) is when they are on a boat in the jungle and are being attacked by crocodiles. They open up a crate full of rifles and start firing on the crocs. And not just the adult characters either…Jonny and Hajji get to shoot crocs with rifles too!

  19. Even though it may represent everything Brent Bozell hates about cartoons, the Cartoon Network’s Venture Brothers is probably more intellectually challenging AND laughably entertaining then anything the PTC would recommend. Best of all, it’s a brilliant send-up of, and genuine homage to, the Johnny Quest series.

  20. My favorite “politcally incorrect” scene (that would never make it into a current cartoon) is when they are on a boat in the jungle and are being attacked by crocodiles.

    I can beat that – I was rather stunned to see an episode where Race Bannon yells, laughing, “Run, you heathen monkeys!” at some fleeing headhunters.

  21. I like the Jonny Quest reference in the title.

    I’ve got the original series on DVD. My favorite “politcally incorrect” scene (that would never make it into a current cartoon) is when they are on a boat in the jungle and are being attacked by crocodiles. They open up a crate full of rifles and start firing on the crocs. And not just the adult characters either…Jonny and Hajji get to shoot crocs with rifles too!

    I think I can top that also. I remember an episode where there are two bad guys — one is a skinny guy with an Australian accent — and their canoe tips over, dumping them into a river full of crocodiles. One bad guy yells, “I can’t swim!” and the little Australian bad guy says, “Well, y’ better learn fast!” and starts swimming away. But they both get eaten by the crocodiles! It happens off-screen, but it’s pretty obvious, because you hear their screams of “Aauuuuugh! Aieeee!” and the good guys cringe.

    What a great show. what a beautiful, violent show. I don’t care how gay it was.

    PS: And no, the Australian guy didn’t yell, “Crikey! She’s a beauty!” right before being attacked.

  22. Aha! The JQ episode I’m thinking of was “Treasure of the Temple.”

    http://www.classicjq.com/info/lists/JQBadGuys.shtml

  23. I thought it was great when Fox came out with their new Batman cartoon in the ’90s. The first time I watched, somebody actually got shot with a GUN, followed by a pool of blood spreading from under his face-down body.

  24. It was great, Kevin. It was.

  25. I can beat that – I was rather stunned to see an episode where Race Bannon yells, laughing, “Run, you heathen monkeys!” at some fleeing headhunters.” -Eric the .5b

    Yep. That’s a good one too. But someone on Amazon said that dialogue was edited out of the DVD. I haven’t watched that episode on my DVD’s close enough since I heard that in order to determine whether this is true or not.

    Hmmmm…Sounds like a good excuse to watch a couple Jonny Quest episodes this weekend.

  26. Aha! The JQ episode I’m thinking of was “Treasure of the Temple.” -Stevo Darkly

    Ohhh…I forgot about that one. I was thinking of the two guys in “Attack of the Tree People.” The episode that I was thinking of earlier (with everyone shooting crocodiles with rifles) was “Turu the Terrible.”

    Have a good weekend everyone!

    Aieeee!

  27. Christ, what a balloon knot. Every time I watch Jimmy Kimmel’s mildly amusing Moments In Unnecessary Censorship segment, I imagine Bozell sitting at home, screaming at his TV, “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS UNNECESSARY CENSORSHIP!”

  28. Cartoons, as always, are the only thing on TV worth watching. There is more independent sociopolitical thought in a single episode of South Park than an entire season of Hannity and Colmes. And who can argue the main three characters in Aqua Teen Hunger Force don’t represent the Freudian trio of Id, Ego, and Superego?

  29. 6.3 “dark acts” an hour?

    I have to wonder if this includes The Grimm Adventures of Billy & Mandy?

  30. mediageek, I’m sure it does. Up until now, that was one of three television shows I prohibited my sons from watching. If Bozell doesn’t like it, I’ll have to reconsider. I’m still drawing the line at “Ed, Edd, and Eddie,” though. There are some things bigger than politics, and having to watch that piece of inanity is more than I can face, even to irritate the wingnuts.

  31. I want Speedy Gonzales, I want Hashimoto-San (Japanese house mouse), I want the old cartoons with the minstrel-show gags in them, and I really want to see Disney’s wartime cartoons. I don’t know who put a pack of sissies in charge of children’s programming, but I’m bloody sick of it.

    Parker and Stone are about the only people left in the entertainment business who have any guts at all.

    -jcr

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