Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Speedy Gonzales in La La Land

From Wikipedia

As most folk probably know, Speedy Gonzales is a cartoon Mexican mouse dating back to the nineteen fifties. Speedy is the fastest mouse in Mexico and our grandson loves his cartoon capers which are available on Warner DVD for him to enjoy. But there's an issue with Speedy which Wikipedia puts like this:-

In 1999, the Cartoon Network ceased to air Speedy Gonzales. In an interview with Fox News on March 28, 2002, Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg commented, "It hasn't been on the air for years because of its ethnic stereotypes." This is widely believed to refer to Speedy's fellow mice, who are all shown as being very slow and lazy, and sometimes even appear intoxicated.

Intoxicated? Well the Waybuloo characters are off their heads as far as I can see. Actually the mice in Speedy Gonzales are also depicted as easy-going, poor and downtrodden by petty tyrants in the form of fat cats. The world of Waybuloo by contrast, is a tyrant-free zone of politically correct imbecility. No surprises there then.

The Speedy cartoons are simple but typical hero stories, which as a type of fiction dates back at least as far as Homer. But as part of the DVD intro, Warner has this notice:-

The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the WB view of society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as to claim these prejudices never existed.

Yet the DVD is classified U, which according to the British Board of Film Censors includes this requirement:-

No discriminatory language or behaviour unless clearly disapproved of.

So Warner's notice is a way of complying with UK film censorship provisions. Such are the ways of human silliness I suppose.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Wow, I never realised it was racist.

Sam Vega said...

"They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today."

They do actually have a point here. If Americans believe or believed that real mice (mus musculus) have or had the accents, clothing, and attitudes depicted in such cartoons, then they are or were at odds with commonly held views of reality.

A K Haart said...

MW - Speedy is certainly racist - he races everybody.

SV - you mean mice aren't really like Speedy? What about Wind in the Willows? Tell me that's not real.

Sam Vega said...

Not sure about its reality, but "Wind in the Willows" is a disgustingly reactionary piece of propaganda, embodying classist stereotypes in its juxtaposition of the idle landowner "Toad" with the honest proletarian "Otter", and the rising privileged petty-bourgeois "Ratty". Black and minority ethnic characters are conspicuous by their absence, as are openly LGBT animals. The "god" Pan makes an appearance, thereby giving credence to the sterile ideological hopes of another transcendent world.

You may as well give your children Mein Kampf.

A K Haart said...

SV - surely Moley is black, but who is Otter? You must be thinking of the brewery.

Sam Vega said...

Here is Otter, in all his proletarian glory.

You might be right about Mole, but he shows no signs of a vibrant black culture. An "Uncle Tom" and traitor to his ethnicity if ever there was one.