So tonight I was comforting my little cousin who had gotten hurt pretty badly "play fighting" on a trampoline, and as he became more calm, we turned on the t.v. to cartoon network. Now, seriously, there are a thousand and twelve things about children's television that bother the hell out of me, and I've decided to start speaking out about them when they catch my attention.
Tonight, well, we were watching some Scooby Doo movie butchering the awesomely retro 70s animation with computerized modern technology called "Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword." Typically, Scooby Doo is not really my preferred cartoon. I'll be honest. It was okay when I was little but I was never a fanatic. However it proves better than go-to fart jokes and repetitive nonsense repeating itself so rather than voicing a vociferous protest, I decided that I was lucky and kept my mouth shut. For some reason I assumed that whatever made the little guy feel better would be fine by me.
As you can probably guess...I was wrong.
First, I was disturbed almost immediately by the dehumanization of a man, tied up to a post and acting like a dog. Not like, "Oh, look at me, I'm carefree and innocent! Let us frolic and be merry!" It was more like, "I've been brainwashed by the government and will bite out your jugular if you get any closer to whatever it is I've been trained to protect." It's not that I lack humor. I don't. It just seriously made me stop and go "What the fuck!?" I don't know what society could possibly have against large brutish bald men but apparently they've been demoted to attack dog. Maybe that's what bothers me so much, everywhere I look it's like these kids are being prompted to be violent and sexist, and here a cartoon is throwing it in my face how the greedy corporate assholes in power view many of the young boys watching that very show: ready and willing to take orders blindly and attack on command. I guess the subtlety of the imagery is what kind of turned my stomach. It also made me deeply sorry that my already accident-prone 6 year old cousin is being fed that kind of brutal propaganda on an every day basis.
Unfortunately that's not all. I kept my thoughts to myself and continued watching with him. What I saw next made me wish we had turned the channel.
After being commemorated and highly praised for "displaying the heart of a champion," and defeating "the mighty Sojo" Daphne Blake (who--after spending her entire cartoon career as the gang's main "Damsel in Distress"--is finally rocking the image of a woman capable of taking care of herself) is called on to fight an obviously well-trained woman who had accompanied the gang earlier in the movie. As they each test their skill against the other in a grueling Kung Fu match, the movie cuts to Shaggy and Scooby, who are watching from the sidelines.
"Like, meeeoooow! Talk about a 'Kung Fu catfight,'[I assume this to be some sort of clever allusion to an established pop-culture point of view considering any display of aggression between women to be taken lightly...after all, how much damage could a woman do?]huh?!" Shaggy asks Scooby with exaggerated arm movements, to which his dog obligingly replies;
Are they serious?
I was disgusted. I don't know how they manage to justify dragging a Kung Fu match between two experienced and skilled women (whether cartoons or not!) down to the level of "cat fight." It's so degrading! Do you think that if Fred were battling the behemoth that Daphne defeated that there would be time for snide comments, or would the audience be left enraptured by his cunning skill and fueling his bravado by taking his match completely seriously? Would Shaggy be saying to Scooby, "Hey, Fred's such a sucker for a chance to flaunt his testosterone!" No! They would be rooting him on, no fail, and promoting his display of masculinity...not belittling his achievements and meowing suggestively. But since it was not a behemoth that she was fighting, but a woman, there wasn't any hesitation about questioning the authenticity of the whole fiasco. When she was fighting a big fucker, her life was in danger. But when she was fighting a woman trained better than the big fucker, it was no big deal. She lacked a penis and was hence no real threat.
AND TO TOP IT ALL OFF... it ends with Daphne's hair band being pulled out by the other woman. Not a kick in the face or even a headlock. Daphne's long feminine hair falls into her face, inhibiting her performance, and victory slides through her manicured fucking fingers. They're not even being subtle now. It's blatantly telling these kids that if you pit a woman against a woman, whether they're champions of a particular style of fighting and could kick Fred's ascoted ass any day or not, they're still going to resort to hair-pulling.
The world is a clusterfuck, and somehow, Scooby Doo made my shitlist.