Saturday, June 13, 2009

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

June 30, 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of this movie. Of course, fans of South Park (of which I am one) find it hilarious. Some enjoy the movie simply because they enjoy the show, therefore this movie was an easy sell to them. Others enjoyed the story and many of the jokes on their own merits which is great. Sadly though, many of these people were too engrossed in the jokes to really pay attention to what the movie was trying to say. Even sadder still, many non-fans didn't see it even though most of them really should have seen it for their own good. The movie's message was clearly aimed at them. This movie deserves much more attention than it's gotten over the past decade.

The film's story starts when the 4 main characters, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflofski (with his little brother Ike tagging along), Eric Cartman, and Kenny McKorrmick manage to get in to see an R-rated film called Asses of Fire starring their favourite cartoon characters Terrance and Phillip. The relentless foul language in that movie inspires the young kids to swear just like them. Although little Ike mispronounces "donkey-raping shit eater" as "dopey baby shee deeder". The kids then do all this swearing at school which gets the teachers and the parents
involved immediately. Kyle's mother Sheila is so upset by this that she is ready to form a committee to get rid of foul language forever. She doesn't just merely want to ban Terrance and Phillip, she decides to get to the "source" and ban everything from their home and native land: Canada. This eventually leads to WWIII and in-turn causes a pussy-whipped Satan and his abuser Sadam Hussein to rise up from Hell and conquer the Earth. Of course, the ironic twist at the end is that Cartman's excessive swearing combined with the electrically charged V-chip inside his brain end up saving the day which then leads to Satan reversing the damage that was caused by Sheila Broflofski's committee.

I personally enjoy this movie mostly because it hits the nail on the head as far as modern-day censorship goes. Kudos aplenty are due to Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and especially to the subversively creative mind of Pam Brady. (I'm certain South Park would be nowhere without her). All types of Soccer Moms, Thought Police, and any other Paranoid Prudes have come up with all sorts of bullshit excuses for censorship. They make all sorts of ridiculous claims that all this racy content inspires real world destruction. While poking around the internet one day, I found this little crackpot blurb as to why Apu from The Simpsons is such a "dangerous character":

If a gunman holds up a 7-
Eleven store and sees a South Asian man behind the counter,
and thinks of him as “just an Apu” instead of an actual human being
with friends and family and hopes and dreams and feelings, it makes it that much easier to pull the trigger, doesn’t it?

Um............... yeah. Well, you see, GUN MEN WILL SHOOT ANYBODY BEHIND THE COUNTER OF A CONVENIENCE STORE BECAUSE THEY'RE HOMICIDAL MANIACS!!! Has there ever been a report of a robbery where the gun man said "hey, there's Apu behind the counter, let's kill him". The Sheila Broflofski's of the world only offer paranoid hypotheses backed up with 0 proof knowing damn well that other paranoid soccer moms will fall for it. That's why this movie and the real-life Sheila's inspired me to create something I hope further puts these people in their places: Censor Monkeys!! (That's a link to the Facebook group).

The movie even demonstrates that even though the racy movie did introduce swear words to the boys, it was indeed NOT the movie alone. One of the lyrics in the opening song says " to the movies we shall go where we learn everything that we know, because the movies tell us what our parents don't have time to say." Neglectful parents lead more directly to bad behaviour than even 1000 Porky's sequels combined. That point is hammered home much more succinctly when Kyle's mom Sheila starts her committee and sends her and all the parents to Washington in order to persuade them to take action against Canada, leaving all the kids at home unsupervised. Later, in the middle of WWIII, Kyle makes a heart-felt plea to "deal with me" when it comes to profanity. In other words, don't force the media to do your parenting job.

Sadly (or should I say "depressingly"), not enough people got that message. Roger Ebert and some of the other movie critics of the time who did like seemed to have gotten the message. One even brilliantly stated, "this movie will offend people that need to be offended once in a while". I love how he indicates that offensiveness is a societal need rather than just a guilty-pleasure type of want. And really, he's right. A good offensive show (be it a movie, tv show, song, etc.) keeps one on their toes and helps them to not be too comfortable in their one little sanitized world. That's what good artwork is for. It stirs emotions and makes you think. However, it seems that less people understand that these days. Around the time this South Park movie came out, the FCC received about 111 calls from people complaining about content. That's the "extreme" number the movie was trying to make look ridiculous. After good ol' Mr. "Dubya" is elected president, by 2004, the FCC was bombarded by over 1,000,000 calls. I'm sure most of those had to do with Janet Jackson's Superbowl performance. But even since then
there's been crazy people in the Middle East going crazy over Muhammad cartoons, crazy militant black people and equally crazed and militant white-guilt whitey going crazy over two print cartoons within a span of a few months, the New Yorker cover last August and the New York Post last February. The most recent as of this posting is from the ultimate Soccer Mom Sarah Palin coming down on David Letterman. Yeesh!! I think this movie needs to be revisited again. How did so many people miss such an obvious point?

Actually, I think I might know that answer. The racy content of South Park itself is both its strength and its weakness. The content pretty much guarantees the show an R-rating or sometimes even an NC-17 rating, therefore the writing staff have really achieved carte-blanche it terms of what they can do. There's no such thing as "too far" for South Park. They can do anything they want without too much of a struggle. That's the kind of environment most artists and/or writers hope to achieve. (Of course, Woody Allen managed to accomplish this WITHOUT much profanity but that's another post). However, it's that very same as-racy-as-possible content that causes people to not pay as close attention to it. Like I said, no matter how far they go, fans just shrug it off and say "that's South Park for you". Non-fans (most of them real-life Sheila Broflofskis) just can't get passed the swearing and any other blood violent
or explicitly sexual content. Therefore, any message contained within any text or subtext of any episode falls mostly on deaf ears. I personally can indeed withstand any and all swearing that South Park can dish out. Hell, as a good Canadian boy, I watched as much Kids in the Hall as I could long before South Park raised its poorly animated head. I suggest that more people should do the same.

So, to commemorate this movie's "Aluminum Anniversary", I suggest gathering as many of your friends as you can to watch it (rent it if you have to). But don't just invite the people who enjoyed it. Make sure people who missed the point about censorship see it and give them the education they never had. Hey, maybe even schedule one of those outdoor theatre screenings of the movie. That way, every passerby will be exposed to it. Just make sure that the movie's message reaches the public at large. And, if any Broflofskis or any other Censor Monkey types do come around screaming bloody murder about the movie's content (or the content of pretty much anything), just sing the following lyrics in their collective faces as loud as you can:

Shut your fucking face, uncle fucka.
You're a cock-sucking, ass-licking, uncle fucka.
You're an uncle fucka. Yess it's true.
Nobody fucks uncles quite like you.

Shut YOUR fucking face, uncle fucka.
You're the one that fucked your uncle, uncle fucka.
You don't eat or sleep or mow the lawn
you just fuck your uncle all day long.

(Fart solo)

Shut your fucking face, uncle fucka.
You're a boner biting bastard, uncle fucka.
You're an uncle fucka I must say.
You fucked your uncle yesterday.
Uncle Fucka, that's U-N-C-L-E FUCK YOU!!

suck my balls

If you need help with the music, here's the full song:

Happy 10th birthday, South Park movie. I hope you do eventually change the world for the better, because goddammit we need it now more than ever.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Public Service

For over 3 years now, noted animation director John Kricfalusi has lamented on his own blog in more than one post about how noone knows how to make good cartoons anymore.  Some of his concerns include: "Animation schools don't teach young artists the right things", "Animation Producers interfere with the creative process way more often than they should", "TV executives like to spoon feed dumbed-down drivel to their audiences", just to name the ones most repeated.  Of course, other like-minded animation professionals as well as any other cartoon pundits with blogs (such as myself) have made similar statements as well.  However, all of those people have barely touched on one important thing.  The biggest problem concerning animation today is that people really don't know how to WATCH cartoons anymore.  It's almost become as lost an art form as conversation or parenting.  This is the problem that must be solved first before anyone does anything to fix the system inwhich animation is produced.  I shall attempt to do just that with this post.  Or, at the very least, lay the foundation for which repairs can be made.  Here is what I like to call:

How to Watch Cartoons: A Sad But Necessary Guide For Our Present Society.

As they say, a picture is worth 1000 words.  Therefore, so this post is not just a collection of words, I have procured the assistance of Harpo Marx. 

He will help give a visual demonstration of all the points I will be making throughout this dissertation.  So now, on with the blog.  May there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor.

First off, I'd just like to say that the art of watching cartoons is not that hard to master.  There's really only one step involved.  When viewing a cartoon such as this:

The best response is this:

Nice and simple.  We as a society used to be able to do this.  It was as easy as tune in, turn on, walk away happy.  Or, if the product was of a lesser quality, we would tune in, hold nose, turn off.  Everyone from the eldest senior to the youngest infant knew how to do this.  But, in recent decades, we have managed to make this a much more difficult process.  We have put quite a few
 roadblocks in the way.  On the milder side, it has caused people to make sardonic grunts while others try to watch.  On the extreme side, entire committees have been formed in an effort to boycott or ban cartoons (and many other forms of entertainment as well).  Unfortunately, too many of those committees have members that are overwhelmingly verbose, reactionary, and possess an unhealthy 'holier-than-thou' attitude.  They seem to be an army of hyper-sensitive robots programmed to be a relentless force against anything that violates their narrow, quasi-utopian  idea of "decency".  All of this not only stifles enjoyment, it chokes the creative process too.

Here are some of the more modern reactions to cartoons:

1. No grasp of the surreal.

By definition, a cartoon is a heightened or exaggerated representation of reality.  Therefore, there are many examples in cartoons inwhich Earth's idea of physics, time, space, and matter are either bent at will or completely changed.  This has somehow become forgotten and in some animation studios it's even forbidden.  These days, whenever most people see a cartoon like this:

The typical reaction is this:

People are easily confused by the images they're seeing.  They make the mistake of applying the laws of reality to the cartoon.  Even the idea of animals walking on two legs and speaking is enough to create confusion these days.  The images presented in the above cartoon would make those individuals' heads explode.  Those whose heads don't explode would merely refer to it as "random" as though it were a "mistake".  
It was hardly a mistake.  Those surreal elements were in there for a reason, to fully utilize the fantastic capabilities of that animated universe.  Of course, the best written cartoons don't just do this for mere artistic sake.  Everything is timed out so that it becomes a pleasent surprise, even upon its 100th viewing.  Ergo, the best way to respond to these surreal elements is this: 

2. An over-developed sense of empathy

This is somewhat of an extension of the previous point.  I mentioned that cartoon characters live in a surreal universe where anything is possible.  Among the things that are possible is an
ability to survive the most brutal acts of violence that in the real world could be fatal.
  All throughout the Golden Era, both animators and pedestrians alike understood this perfectly.  When cartoons first came to TV, Peggy Sharin started a committee to regulate the advertising 
content of these shows.  Her aim was to make sure the shows were not just one long cereal commercial.  However, her organization contained plenty of soccer moms who started objecting to the entertainment portion of the shows.  They made claims that the violent slapstick was "imitatable behavior" that would lead to "aggressive actions" in the future.  Since then, many cartoons have been sanitized by appointed censors and have thus people's brains have softned.  

So now, a reaction to a cartoon like this: these modern times, is this:
Some actually feel the pain of these characters as they get knocked around.  Of course, they disguise these feelings by suggesting that "children will learn to think that inflicting pain is funny".  Here's an example of cartoon watching from an Alfred Hitchcock movie called Sabotage.  The main heroine of the film runs a small movie theatre.  In this scene the kids are all enjoying Disney's Oscar winning short Who Killed Cock Robin.

Yes, she did become disturbed by the bird's comical death.  However, she was already depressed because her young son died in an explosion.  Pretty much anything would send her into a depression spiral at that point.  In fact, just a few minutes later she wells up with tears again after almost setting a plate at her son's chair for supper.  Does that make plates, chairs, and supper harmful to someone's mental health?  Absolutely not.  She just needs some time to get over her tragic loss, that's all.  
Truly, the chances of cartoons alone(or many other Tv shows, movies, or songs in general) warping minds and damaging psychies enough to influence behavior are that of a butterfly flapping it's wings in Norway and causing a tidal wave in Fiji.  This can't be emphasized too much, the best response to cartoon violence is:

3. The automatic association of images with the worst Nazi atrocities.

This one is very much an extension of the last one.  In this case, the empathy is quite often misplaced or misused.
Everyone who has poked around Youtube every now and then has seen an old cartoon with racial images that would not be "acceptable" by today's standards.  The ones that receive the most negative press are the ones that depict African Americans (or in some cases, just plain ol' Africans) but the cartoons depicting Asians, Jews, Indians, or homosexuals rub some people the wrong way as well.  Just show a cartoon like this:

...and many people's first reaction will be to do this:

Yep, those angry letters just start flooding in.  And in the most extreme cases, what crops up are more protests than you can shake a water hose at.  No matter what it is, whether the entire cartoon has disturbing images or just one small scene, there are people out there today that react as if the Nazis have re-invaded Poland.  These people need to calm the hell down for two reasons.
a) A caricature is not automatically an insult.  In fact, in many cases, it's just the 
opposite.  Caricature can often times be a form of flattery.  There's a reason why many Hispanics aren't at all offended by Speedy Gonzales.  Mexico even regards him as a hero instead of an insult.  For some reason, Hispanics seem to understand this c
oncept much better than the rest of the world.  
That artist guy at the carnival who drew you with a gigantic head on a tiny body was not making a scathing statement of contempt.  All he did was turn you into a cartoon.  That's all that happened there.  Really, if a caricaturist (professional or amateur) wanted to make a slanderous, mean-spirited caricature, you'd know it.  He wouldn't mince around and leave it for you to "guess".  It would be right there for all to see "Person A is a jerk and we all must shun him/her".  You wouldn't need to cross-examine the subtext to find the hate, it would be in the text.
Yes, yes, I'm quite aware that Africans have had a tumultuous past both in their home country and anywhere else they were forced to immigrate to.  Though, significant progress has been made, it certainly needs to be better than what we have in the present day.  It's no big secret that hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan were 1,000,000 strong in the early part of the 20th Century with many members occupying rather lofty political positions.  However, that doesn't mean that every single citizen of those days felt that way.  Many of the controversial images from the cartoons made in the Golden Age of Hollywood were moreso produced through ignorance rather than malice.  The people who made these cartoons were mostly ignorant of
 racial strife as well as many theatre patrons of the day.  Case-in-point, my Grandma. She grew up practically her entire life within the Ukrainian farming communities of Saskatchewan.  When she finished helping her parents run their farm, she got married and ran a farm with her husband.  This is basically how the first 60 years of her life went.  She didn't even know that "nigger" was a bad word until very recently.  My uncle and his kids found it out the hard way when they showed her an episode of Jerry Springer.  Of course, now that she knows how angry people get with that word she hasn't used it since (although she still refers to Brazil nuts as "nigger toes".  Old habits die hard).  
If the cartoon you are watching was made during your parent's generation, or that of your grandparents, or even further back, the best response is this:
Just say "it was a different time" and shrug it off.  Enjoy the cartoon for its own artistic merits if it has any.

b) Don't sweat the ambiguous.  Of course, it's more common these days to get upset over content that is believed to have subtle racist undertones whether they can be proven to exist or not.  Of course, the most recent example is the furor over this cartoon:

OOH!  AAH!  SHOCK!  HORROR!  SPLATTERED BRAINS!  OOP!  ACK!  It's that New York Post cartoon again.  Okay, for those of you out there that need to release a cargo load of anger right now, just sing a few choruses of this song before continuing:

Okay, back to the blog.

The reason I found the backlash to this political cartoon so bogus is because people were getting upset over images that "can be interpreted" as racist.  That's the operative term right there: "can be interpreted".  I've got news, everything can "be interpreted" as something sinister if the dots are connected a certain way.  How many times on Three's Company did the trouble start because someone put their ear to a door just in time to hear something that "could be 
interpreted" as something awful?  Is it Jack's fault that Janet thought he was going to get a vasectomy and thus caused chaos at the hospital?  Does Janet have any grounds for suing Jack for
 mental anguish?  And, of course, according to Sigmund Freud, every object in the entire world "can be interpreted" as either a penis or a vagina.  Should we reprimand the universe for being so dirty?  Can we sue or demand the termination of employment of every psychiatrist in the world for showing us all those sexually explicit ink blots?
The ones you should concern yourself with are the ones that CAN'T be interpreted as anything else but racist.  I found a motherload of them at this site.  There's no doubt about their agenda.  (No, it's not the Muhammed cartoons).

Lenny Bruce had this to say, "Words themselves are not offensive, it's the power we put behind those words that gives them their impact."  The same goes for images.  The best way to deal with words or images that you find offensive is to take that power away.  Really, though, images are just inanimate objects.  The only way inanimate objects can harm you at all is if it's being thrown at you.  Of course, in that situation, your beef would be with the 'thrower'.  THAT'S where your energy should be concentrated.  Forget the image.
Another good quote to keep in mind comes from Oscar Wilde.  He said, "There is no such thing as 'offensive'.  Things are either well done or poorly done.  That is all."  Case-in-point: Robert Downey Jr.'s performance in Tropic Thunder.  A role that could quite possibly have outraged the entire planet and send him to the same hidey-hole that Michael Richards is in, instead it got him an Oscar nomination.  The reason being: his acting performance was well done. 

(Oh, by the way, this next film was "interpreted" as advocating "violence against women".  Enjoy:

Well, that's about it.  I hope all who read this learned a little something today.  Of course, what good is learning something if you can't put it into practice?  So, for your viewing pleasure I'd like to present a cartoon that encompasses everything I've talked about.  Just apply all I've said to this cartoon and see how it affects your enjoyment of it.

Happy cartoon watching!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Racism Most Fowl

Everyone on the planet has seen at least one Looney Tunes cartoon at one time or another. While certainly entertaining and considered a cornerstone of animation and comedy in some circles (for some reason lost in time), they are also some of the most racist series of cartoons ever made. I'm not just talking about the 11 censored ones, but all of them. Some were more obvious malicious attacks on down-trodden races, others were subtle but still harmful. Those were meant to subliminally brainwash white kids into thinking they were the superior race. The worst of these is the Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck relationship. This was deliberately set up to help the white man laugh at the black man as he tries to overcome 400 years of oppression. It's all there. Bugs with his all-American pleasing whiteboy features contrasting with Daffy looking like a big-lipped minstrel Sambo. This blog entry will attempt to elucidate the harmful, racial elements that the cartoons of Bugs and Daffy have and continue to erode society. This will be done on a cartoon by cartoon basis.

Porky Pig's Feat (by Frank Tashlin c. 1943)
The main focus of this cartoon is that Porky andDaffy are trying to get out of paying their hotel bill because Daffy lost all their money shooting craps (see? there's one already). The pig and the duck try all sorts of tricks to punk this manager but he pops up in their faces every time. They end up getting shackled to a ball &
chain (look familiar). But then they figure their last hope would be for Bugs Bunny to come in and rescue them.
That right there does it for me? They need a white man to "rescue" a black man? Was this
cartoon written by the same people who were running South Africa at the time? Were theytrying make everyone think that whitey was down there "rescuing"
everybody? That must have been the lie they were trying to put across because at one point, Daffy refers to Bugs as his "hero". Daffy
would be a little smarter than that later on fortunately, but it was nowhere near progressive enough. Although, it turns out in the end that Bugs has been chained to his hotel room by the same manager as well. Even the white devil himself can't oppress his way out of this one.

Rabbit Fire (by Chuck Jones c. 1951)
This cartoon is the start of the whole Wabbit Season / Duck Season thing. Right here is where Daffy first tried to strike against the man. In this case he has two whiteys to deal with, Bugs Bunny AND Elmer Fudd. And yet nobody's going to give him a break, certainly not the racist writers and cartoonists who put this together. Every time the argument starts up about which hunting season it is, Elmer always believes Bugs because they're both white and thus stick together. And what does Daffy get for losing? A gunshot to the face. That ain't funny on the streets and it definitely ain't funny here. White people shooting other races should never be a basis for comedy. Especially when that very routine could inspire little kids to grow up and join Klan chapters thinking all those attempts at genocide are funny.
But, the MOST disturbing part of this whole cartoon comes in the middle. Daffy puts on a rabbit suit and pretends to be Bugs while Bugs puts on a Duck suit and pretends to be Daffy. Okay now, I can understand why they'd have Bugs do blackface. That's a part of a bigot's everyday life. But, Daffy doing whiteface??!!
Not only is this scene extremely racist to us here on earth, but it's also racist and offensive to those in a parallel universe. Daffy's
whiteface minstrel act would deeply offend the whiteys being put down by their black oppressors there. Is there anybody that these cartoons DON'T offend?
Of course, at the end, it turns out to be Elmer season which has Bugs & Daffy team up to smash Fudd. I know Daffy has the white devil helping him, but I do enjoy seeing "the man" get his. Oh yeah!

Rabbit Seasoning (by Chuck Jones c. 1952)
The 'which season is it' argument is revisited here. It's two oppressors against one unemancipated minority just like before. However, in this one they add another offensive put down. In this one, Daffy gets what they called "pronoun trouble". This clearly makes light of the idea of black people being poorly educated. Oh sure, make it illegal for black folks to have an education and then put them down for a "lack of book smarts". That is typical fascist behavior. Warner Bros. would NEVER have gotten away with that after the civil rights movement, that's for sure. And they sure as Hell wouldn't get away with that in a Barack Obama world either.
The ending is equally as (for lack of a better word) despicable. The last shot fired on Daffy's face wasn't done outright. Elmer Fudd escorted Daffy to his home and THEN popped a cap in his beak. How many times has that happened where whitey acts allfriendly inviting you into his home and then gets you when you let your guard down? Too many, that's how often. Take a lesson from Daffy. Don't do what he did. Don't let paleface mess you up like that.

Duck Amuck (by Chuck Jones c. 1953)
This cartoon is MOST DEFINITELY Warner Bros.'
attempt to make Daffy into a full blown Uncle Tom. Aided by Bugs, they do all manner of injustices to Daffy in order to bend him to their will. Not only do they constantly redraw and repaint the background he's in, they redraw and repaint him too. At one point Daffy is even erased completely. How many white folks would like to do THAT for real, huh? No calculator in the world can count that high.
But the worst one of all those indignities, yes worse than the full erasure, is the one where they manipulate the film so that Daffy meets his doppelganger twin. They made the twin a disagreeable ass just so that Daffy would pick a fight with himself. The makers of this cartoon were hoping that this would inspire black-on-black violence
within black neighborhoods all over the country and possibly the world. This way they could eliminate more black folks from the comfort of their own gated communities without getting their hands dirty.
Bottom line, this cartoon is every white supremacist's wet dream come true. The black man is completely within whitey's control and there's nothing that anybody can do about it. Dr. King and Malcolm X would fight this sort of thing years later.

Duck, Rabbit! Duck! (by Chuck Jones c. 1953)
This is the last time Bugs and Daffy would argue about hunting seasons but it's not the last time they'd be together. Besides Ducks and Rabbits, the hunting seasons of
Dirty Skunks, Mongooses, Pigeons and Baseballs comes into play as well. Most of those get Daffy a shot in the face of course.
What makes this particular cartoon
extremely offensive is the time of year it's set. Winter. The black duck is surrounded by whitesnow.
This makes the violence against
Daffy much more potent. It's as if everyone who made this cartoon are saying "you're in a white neighborhood now, boy". Not cool. In fact, that's cold.

Beanstalk Bunny (by Chuck Jones c. 1955)
In this cartoon, Daffy portrays the Jack character from Jack and the Beanstalk. He climbs up the beanstalk followed closely by Bugs. When they get to the top they meet a giant Elmer Fudd. For the bulk of the cartoon, both Daffy & Bugs have to put aside their differences and work together in order to evade the ultimate symbol of white oppression. It's actually quite a fairly progressive
and positive cartoon............ UNTIL THE VERY END!! Bugs Bunny gets away from the giant and is rewarded with his favorite food. Daffy however is converted into Elmer Fudd's pocket watch. Here's a brief history lesson asto why this is such a negative image. The idea of black people as clocks goes way way back to the ancient Greeks. One ofthe first Greek emperors to send explorers to Africa was Nicholas Spartopolous who ruled at approximately 3000 B.C. His explorers came back with many tales of people with dark skin which they found ridiculous. A translation found on one of the goat skins used as a log states "they were just as savage as the wildest animals of the jungle". Now, Emperor Nicholas had one obsession, time keepers. He prided himself in
possessing the most elegant time pieces in the known world, (none of which can be found today because all were destroyed in a brutal peasent uprising). Upon learning of these Africans, he of course did not view them as people. Therefore, he wanted a huge hourglass
to be constructed. But, instead of sand, he'd fill it with the African savages. Hundreds of Africans mostly from Ethiopia and Somalia were kidnapped in the dead of night by Greek soldiers and placed inside the hourglass once it was constructed. Since then, all throughout the centuries and even to this day, whenever a white person sees a black person, their immediate thought before any others is "he would make a nice clock". That's what white folks are thinking. Flava Flav tried to confront this stereotype with that big clock of his around his neck, but it did little good sadly. So, I say to you black folks all over the world, if a white person tries to ask you what time it is, RUN. Even if you are with a heavily armed group and one feeble old man asks for the time, don't stay and fight, just RUN. You do NOT want to take chances with your life over this.

Sahara Hare (by Friz Freleng c. 1955)
This cartoon is mostly about Bugs dealing with Yosemite Sam in a desert fort. Daffy only makes a cameo at the end in this one. But, what an offensive cameo it is. He pops out of the ground mistaking this desert for Miami Beach. Oh no no no no no! They should NOT have ended with the stereotype that (supposedly) black people can't tell the difference between beaches
and deserts. The entire race has been labelled unfairly with this
stereotype. Ironically, it's only happened twice. The first was a man named Elmore Plinkett. In 1832, he died naked running around the Arizona desert trying to go skinny dipping. The second one to do this was Jim "Rocking Horse" Lardfarmer. He ate nothing but
shoelaces and gave birth to a litter of kittens (don't ask how he did this). Those are the only occurrences. The unfair part is that plenty of white folks have made this mistake all throughout history. Hell, John McCain was born and raised in Arizona. He still has trouble making the distinction. Don't tell me that's just a "black thing".

This is a Life? (by Friz Freleng c. 1955)
This cartoon is of course based on the popular show This Is Your Life. Here, instead of Ralph Edwards, Elmer Fudd is the host. Just like in the show, Elmer announces that a famous celebrity is in the audience and that he will pick that individual, bring him to the stage, and do a show about him. And of course Elmer completely brushes off the black celebrity Daffy and calls on one of his fellow whiteys, Bugs Bunny.
What makes this development even more irritating is that in real life Ralph Edwards was a total flaming racist. If had more creative control, he would have ONLY honored white celebrities. People talk about classical composer Richard Wagner's racism but he was an Obama supporter compared to Ralph Edwards. All sorts of racial slurs would eminate from his mouth when the camera was off. Even Clint Eastwoods' Gran Torino character would be covering his ears if he spent more than 5 minutes with this man. The only reason he never joined the KKK was because he felt they "weren't doing enough". But, he committed his most heinous offence during Rosa Parks' rebellion and the Alabama bus boycott. When Ralph heard about this, the first thing he did was purchase a city bus. He put signs all over the inside of it that said 'Whites Only'. The 'Colored Section' of his bus was a little red wagon hitched to the back. He'd drive that bus around all over Los Angeles just to rub it in further. But, as disgusting as his bus was, a brother has places to go and important things to do. Many people in the black community rode that bus to work, school, church, or wherever they had to go. People like a young Marvin Gaye, Jeremiah Wright, David Dinkins, Slappy White, Richard Pryor, Alan Thicke, Emmanuel Lewis, George Forman, Angela Davis, Grand Master Flash, and everyone who would eventually become the 1972 Harlem Globetrotters just to name a few. They weren't going to let Ralph's assinine behavior stop them from living their lives.

A Star is Bored (by Friz Freleng c. 1956)
Again, we deal with the blatant racism within the TV and movie industry. In this one Bugs is a superstar while Daffy is not. So, when Daffy marches into the big office and demands his piece of the pie, the man makes him Bugs' stunt double. So, of course, Bugs does the easy work while Daffy risks his safety doing all the violent stunts.
Truth be known, this has been going on in Hollywood for years. Black people haven't just been maids and butlers, you know. They've been put in full white suits and were made to perform dangerous stunts. That's why Daffy is in a bunny suit the whole time. Besides pissing off that previously mentioned parellel universe again, this cartoon is trying to make this kind of injustice seem 'funny'. Well, I don't think it's so funny. Many many times a black person has died doing these stunts. The studios just get rid of the bodies and hope noone investigates. These stunt men have died
deaths you wouldn't believe. That scene in Bridge on the River Kwai when the bridge blows up, that was just a bunch of black
stunt men ontop of each other. That scene at the end of Old Yeller when the dog gets shot, that was a black man in a dog suit. The sad irony of that is the dog Yeller is STILL ALIVE. He works mostly behind the scenes but he's still quite active in the movie industry (and has much sway over who's cast in what part as well). Best Doggone Dog in the West, my ass.

Ali Baba Bunny (by Chuck Jones c. 1957)
Bugs and Daffy find themselves in the Middle East this time. They slip passed Arab stereotypes and manage to sneak into a cave full of the Sultan's treasure. When guard Hassan tries to stop them from stealing the treasure, Bugs Bunny dresses up like a genie and 'grants' Hassan a wish.
Bugs' display of "Ickety Ackety Oop" and such is clearly meant to be an assault on the Arab world. This cartoon has caused more damage in the Middle East than the Religious Crusades and the Iraq War combined. Clearly THIS is the reason both President Bushes have waged war in this region, they don't see Iraqis as people. America now thinks Iraq is just a 'bunch of Hassans' whose crushing
demise would be comical to them.
In terms of black/white relations, Bugs irreverent display is also a swipe at any black individuals who have converted to Islam in their lives such as Malcolm X, Stepin Fetchit, and Muhammed Ali. No wonder the Nation of Islam is upset.
In just 44 years after this cartoon was made, Al Qaida sends terrorists over to destroy the Twin Towers. COINCIDENCE??!! I think not.

Show Biz Bugs (by Friz Freleng c. 1957)
In this one, Bugs and Daffy are simply putting on a show. They're
first act is a tap-dancing duet which they both perform very well.

But, as it turns out, when they're
done Bugs gets all the applause while Daffy gets none. That is quite a disingenuous thing to put into this cartoon.

It is a known fact that no black performer has EVER gotten any applause while on stage. Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever!!


Although, at the end of this cartoon, Daffy does manage to get some applause. But, he has to drink flammable liquids, strike a match and kill himself to do it. Is the message of this cartoon that all black people have to kill themselves in order to finally be shown respect by the white community? Is this yet another attempt to thin out the numbers of those of African descent? I think so, but I hope not.

Apes of Wrath (by Friz Freleng c. 1959)
Like Sahara Hare, Daffy only makes a cameo appearance at the end of this cartoon. Apparently, the stork brought Daffy to Bugs as a son. Clearly this is meant to ridicule all those celebrities who adopt Third World babies. Or, this could have been a cheap way to have a black man enslaved by a white man while also suffering the indignity of wearing a diaper. Nothing is too demeaning for Hollywood.
Actually, the rest of the cartoon isn't too kind either. It seems that prior to this moment, Bugs had been adopted by a family of monkeys. I'll let you in on a little secret. In Hollywood, especially in cartoons, monkeys have ALWAYS been used to represent black people. In the movie Bedtime for Bonzo, Ronald Reagan actually thought he was working with Sidney Poitier the whole time. It would be another 40 years before
the Gipper would realize his mistake. Another example is Magilla Gorilla. In this show, Mr. Peebles is a slave owner and Magilla is a smiling Uncle Tom. It's no secret that Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera hated the black race. It's no coincidence that Magilla Gorilla came out around the same time as Dr. King's "I Had a Dream" speech. Magilla was their response to the whole civil rights movement. They continued this attitude of theirs well into the 1970's with a show called Grape Ape. There's a tribe in Africa in the South Eastern part of Mozambique called the Flubus. One of their rituals is to inject the juice of a !!yonberry (similar to a cranberry) into their bloodstream which gives their skin a distinctive shade o
f purple. The Grape Ape is clearly a swipe at this tribe.
The most recent animated abomination along these lines is Space Chimps. I guess they want us all to laugh at the idea of black astronauts. Sorry little Jimmy and little Susie, you can't achieve your dream of flying in space because white America and an even whiter NASA just won't accept you yet.

People Are Bunny (by Robert McKimson c. 1959)
This cartoon begins with one of the most offensive and destructive images of black people possible. Daffy actually invades Bugs' home and points a gun at him. This image of the crazed black man criminal has been a thorn in the side of racial progress for years. THAT'S the main reason the white man has thought the need to keep on oppressing that race even to this day. They are all deathly afraid.
Afraid of what? That the black race will dominate the culture? That they'll finally get revenge for 400 years (going on 500) of oppression? Just look at the fear in Bugs' eyes. Clearly that's what's got him paranoid.
Although, later on in this cartoon, we see that the reason Daffy
shoved a gun in Bugs' gut is to force him to a nearby TV station where he can collect prize money for bringing in a rabbit. However, the white devils work their magic and Daffy ends up in a white-face bunny-suit so that white hunters can shoot at a black man AND they can outrage those poor white folks in that parallel universe again. When will the hurting end?

Person to Bunny (by Friz Freleng c. 1960)
Another peek into the racist world of television. This time it's a send up of the show called Person to Person inwhich host Edward R. Murrow talks to white celebrity guests about why only white people get the lead roles. They never said it outright but that message was loud and clear. (Mr. Murrow did once share an apartment with Ralph Edwards you know). This is DEFINITELY the case with the Bugs
Bunny interview in this cartoon.
When it's only Bugs on the show, everything is fine. But, when a prominant black celebrity pops in, whitey can't do enough to suppress him. Daffy's shoved out the door many many times throughout this cartoon. But then he comes back............. in a
bunny suit. Again, Daffy has to look like the caucasian bunny in order to get any TV exposure. What kind of a message does that send? Do all black actors have to completely sell out like this in order to get any recognition at all? That doesn't sound too positive to me. And you can bet that the oppressed caucasians in the parallel universe (known there as 'caucs') don't appreciate that whiteface neither.

The Abominable Snow Rabbit (by Chuck Jones c. 1961)
Bugs and Daffy accidently travel to the Himalayans. Once again, poor Daffy is surrounded by whiteness in this landscape. Understandibly, Daffy doesn't want to stay in that 'whitey wonderland' for a second so he starts to head back. But, irony of ironies, what does Daffy run into? The biggest white dude anyone's ever seen, that's who. Did the makers of this cartoon want us to laugh at Daffy's predicament of being at the mercy of a vast white conspiracy? Is this every white man's fantasy to have this much influence and control over the black man? I mean, kicking a race when they're down is one thing. But, to thoroughly overwhelm and humiliate an entire race to this degree and disguise it as "entertainment for the
children" is just beyond apprehensible. I hope whoever's responsible for this cartoon are paying for they're hate crimes right now. And, oh look. The black guy's doing white face again. I hope those responsible are paying for they're hate crimes committed against the European-Americans in that parallel universe as well.

The Million Hare (by Robert McKimson c. 1963)
The cartoon opens with Daffy in Bugs home (no gun this time) watching hours and hours of TV. This was definitely meant to perpetuate the stereotype of the lazy black slacker. Daffy's eyes look a little funny too. He might have smoked a few J's beforehand.
Nonetheless, the cartoon really gets underway when the show Beat Your Buddy comes on. Of course, the show pulls the names of
Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck out of the barrel. I guess from that point on they're "buddies" and they have to "beat" each other. Was this set up to cause a clashing of the races? Was it this cartoon that lead to the riots in Watts? Even though the 'beating' Bugs and Daffy give each other in this cartoon is really them racing to the TV studio for the grand prize, the implied beatings are still loud and clear. If any injuries from any hate crimes are given anywhere in the world, we all know who to blame.

The Iceman Ducketh (by Phil Munroe c. 1964)
This cartoon definitely tops them all in offensiveness, racism, and the perpetuating of stereotypes. Daffy is once again surrounded by whiteness, outnumbered by Bugs Bunny and all those thousands of snowflakes. Also, Daffy is once again in possession of a firearm so that we don't forget about that black criminal stereotype. On top of all that, this cartoon further emphasizes the well known stereotype that all black people want to rip the skin off of white people and either sell it for money or just dance around in their flesh thus doing the ultimate whiteface routine. I don't know when that stereotype got started. Oh wait, I remember now. It started just a few minutes ago when I typed that sentence.


Okay, I'm sure many of you reading this have figured it out by now. But for those of you who still need that "brick of obviousness" to hit you in the face, everything I said before the dashed line came out of my ass. It was all just satirical sarcasm. The fact is, Daffy is as much a negro stereotype as Barack Obama is a "secret Muslim". Both are unfounded rumors conjured up by paranoid goons, spread by reactionary Henny Penny types, and believed by the most gullible of idiots. In truth, Bugs and Daffy were never intended to represent race relations in any way. Bugs isn't necessarily white and Daffy isn't necessarily black. It's their personalities that matter. And part of their charm is that those personalities can be found within people of an
y race or any gender for that matter. That's why people have been able to relate to Bugs and Daffy for all these years. They were meant for entertainment purposes. That is all.
And really, exactly how "harmful" are cartoons anyway? The only image that has actually caused any damage is the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters, and all he did was wreck a few buildings and cover a few city blocks with sticky white goo. The supposed damage done by any other image is in people's minds. It's only as offensive as you want it to be. Of course you might be one of those people that is on some sort of crusade against racism. If that's the case, cartoons are definitely the LAST place you'll want to concentrate your energies. There are much more pressing economic and social issues that need to be addressed first. Then, since films of any length are a reflection of society, once those issues are fixed (or at least improved) the entertainment industry will just take care of itself. It will start to reflect this improved society. The best way to insure that this happens is for everyone to let the creative artists alone to create their work no matter what medium or genre that may be. In a free and democratic society, it only makes sense that freedom of expression be allowed to flourish.

"Hey, David, this little piece at the end is just a diversion. I still think Daffy is a grotesque negro stereotype. You haven't said anything to sway me otherwise."

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here you go:

See. Pink caucasian skin under his black feathers. Not a black person, stereotype or otherwise. That should be more than enough evidence to put this rumor of Daffy's offensiveness to bed once and for all.