What the Heck!

Monday, August 21, 2006
Sorry for the swearing, but it is the end of the world!
LONDON - Turner Broadcasting is scouring more than 1,500 classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including old favorites Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, to edit out scenes that glamorize smoking.
The regulator’s latest news bulletin stated that a viewer, who was not identified, had complained about two smoking scenes on Tom and Jerry, saying they “were not appropriate in a cartoon aimed at children.”

I swear, these guys would burn the Library of Alexandria all over again if they had the chance. And probably Hypatia along with it. Can't they do something useful, like put trousers on naked piano legs? Despise the whole thing.


Mollie said...

Type in "failure"
Type in "liar"

the bastards

(hat tip: Gateway Pundit)

Rick Ballard said...

I am in general totally indifferent to the idiocies promulgated by those professing a lack of faith but I remain curious as to the necessity of the misuse of my saviours name to make a point.

Perhaps it is the license of the unguarded hog pen writ large?

If we are to engage in the license of the hog pen as we have for the past coulple of days then I am uninterested in continuing this association.

truepeers said...

The post begs the question of who "these guys" are, especially as we don't know who torched it, or how many times the library of Alexandria was burned. The allusion to Hypatia suggests Chuck thinks a Christian mob is to blame, though as his link argues there is some doubt on the motivation of this crime too. Those who today wish to remove all signs of smoking from the world are generally of the type I would call puritans. But puritans are a type which pervade the human scene. It is common to think of the Puritans as a Christian sect, and perhaps they were to some extent. But to the degree that they were Gnostics, i.e. people with an uncompromising, totalitarian vision to transform this fallen world into a New Jerusalem by monopolizing or controlling society's forms of representing itself, they were breaking with the Christian imperative to render under Caesar what is his and to realize that the Kingdom is not of this world. It is the Gnostics who think a whiff of second-hand smoke through the balcony window is reason to call up the condo president and lay a formal complaint, fully documented by the scientific evidence of course. Let us get our critters straight and then we can appreciate a religion whose achievement has been to rid this world of its many divinities. When was the last time you heard someone cursing Zeus?

chuck said...


I didn't bring religion into it except in the original title, which was Jesus H Christ. Swearing is not generally regarded as religion. In any case, the library at Alexandria was burned three times that I know of, once each by the Romans, Christians, and Muslims.

I suspect that censuring smoking in old cartoons is a case of PC zeal. Or did you think that Turner Broadcasting had strong religious motivations? That certainly hasn't been my impression of Turner Broadcasting. Smoking is the major new sin among the unreligious. In England you can be fired from work for smoking at home. Another modern sin is obesity and again, in England, there have been suggestions that fat folk not recieve some types of medical care:

Three Suffolk primary care trusts have ruled patients with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 will not get operations like hip and knee replacements.

The excuse is cost, but I suspect there is also simple prejudice at work.

Add to this seatbelt laws, baby carrier laws, helmet laws, watered down chemistry sets with no bang to them, outlawed fireworks, and all sorts of other things. No doubt some of these mandated behaviours are sensible, but do we need people removing parts of old cartoons because they show smoking? Can you defend this? Perhaps you could also defend removing parts of Huckleberry Finn, something some folks still want to do as Huck's language is sometimes offensive. Can't have that n-word, even in historical context.

Someday the curtain will open on a classic Popeye cartoon from Fleischer Studios and Popeye won't have a pipe. Or maybe a old Bugs Bunny cartoon will show with Elmer Fudd's shotgun painted out. I find the whole thing a terrific waste of people's energies. It's not like there aren't real threats out there.

truepeers said...

Chuck, I wouldn't dream of defending this. I think you're right about smoking being the major sin of the "unreligious", if you could get me to agree that there is such a thing as unreligious. I'm not so sure, since all forms of represention entail a relationship to the sacred and much of politics today is religious - so by all means I say bring religion into the analysis. But then I don't think Christianity is a "religion" exactly (at least it is rather different from others), in the sense that it is all too aware of the sacrificial nature of humanity and strives to some some extent to transcend it. It is when Christian symbols of transcendence in the Kingdom to come get secularized, or puritanically put into action in the here and now by the "unreligious" that we get attempts to trancend all putative "evils" in this world, as with the sin of smoking.

I hope Charles Henry will drop by and illuminate us on what degree old cartoons have already undergone processes of pc prettification. I know he has some interesting things to say about the depictions of Arabs therein.

terrye said...

A friend of mine says we need to keep these things around to clean out the gene pool. I was a smoker for years and I grew up with those cartoons.

chuck, my favorite is the warning stickers, you know like the ones on the hair dryer that tell you not to use this in the shower.

Barry Dauphin said...

Wow, this is the age of cartoon censorship. At least Fred Flintstone drove an environmentally friendly car, though I'm sure that working in the quarry contributed to air pollution.

Morgan said...

Heather (and others):

This should cheer you up. Go back to the Google main page, type in "French military victories", and hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button (or click the first link).

Charles Henry said...

According to the article, all this stems from a single complaint concerning two cartoon shorts, both late 40s/early 50s MGM Tom and Jerry cartoons.
[from the article] In the first, “Texas Tom”, the hapless cat Tom tries to impress a feline female by rolling a cigarette, lighting it and smoking it with one hand. In the second, “Tennis Chumps”, Tom’s opponent in a match smokes a large cigar.
What's not stated here, is that in the first, Tom is clearly portrayed as a complete fool and jerk, and the ham-fisted manner in which he "tries to impress a feline.." involves creating a cigarette in such a ludicrous way, including using an enslaved Jerry mouse to lick the cigarette closed... surely only a lunatic would be induced to smoke after that scene.

In the other example cited, Tom's black cat tennis opponent does indeed chain-smoke a cigar.. yet this cat is portrayed as a decidly obnoxious individual throughout the film, and the cigar was a prop selected for its contribution in keeping the audience from sympathizing with him.

These cartoons "glamorize" smoking in the same way that Jurassic Park "glamorized" theft.

Yet Turner is jumping at the chance to spend a fortune "cleansing" their backlog of films, all over one unfounded complaint..! If you ask me, they see this as the excuse to justify doing something they wanted to do anyway; their hands are not exactly being 'forced' to take this action.

The tragic irony: the films cited, were not made for children at all, they were made for adults.