Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cartoon Brew in San Diego

Jerry and Amid over at Cartoon Brew have both been checking out the San Diego Comic-Con. Jerry seems to be having a good time. The ever-crotchety Amid, on the other hand, is stirring up a bit of controversy. In a post entitled "Overheard in San Diego...", he describes an "obese fanboy with a thick accent hailing from Mexico," who apparently said the following:

“Animation just isn’t what it used to be. I really prefer the classic animation, the way it used to be in the old days. When I was growing up, we had quality animation like GI Joe and Transformers.”

He then goes on to explain why he had to leave the convention:

Needless to say, I lasted barely a day at the Con this year before heading back on Thursday evening. The stench of the event—both figurative and literal—was overwhelming. There was simply too much crass commercialism on display, and too little appreciation or joy for any art form.

Some of the commenters at the Brew don't seem too impressed. Smitha notes:

I think this comment was completely out of line. The last paragraph alone would have been fine–but why resort to mocking a fan of 80s cartoons by pointing out his weight and ethnicity? Is that supposed to be the punchline of the joke? That’s horrible and in extremely poor taste that you would point those out as characteristics to be mocked.

I’m 25, and I grew up watching cartoons in that same time period. I run a fan site for The Pirates of Dark Water, the short-lived but high-quality Hanna-Barbera show from the early 90s. I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that I’ve loved shows like She-Ra and Thundercats since I was a little girl. That doesn’t make me any less of an animation fan. Those were the shows that have inspired the love of animation I’ve had throughout my life, and the same can be said for many other people in my age group.

Amid responds:

Since when is describing somebody’s weight or ethnicity considered mocking them? I was describing the person making the asinine comment for the benefit of our readership. There was no need to mock or make fun of this guy; his words speak for themselves.

Matt disagrees:

Wow Amid, take it on the chin man. The “who” is redundant. I feel you’re being a bit disingenuous with your reply to Smitha. If you set out to talk about con attendees bringing the stereotyping on themselves, fine. If the point was taste in animation (or lack thereof) then the irony of the quote doesn’t seem to be dependent on the type of person who said it. ... Another comic-con/animation enthusiast stereotype is the elitist. THERE’S a pertinent stereotype for you AND he. Don’t throw stones my friend.

Not everyone is offended, though. Darren:

This is the funniest post I’ve read in ages! Since when is describing a person’s characteristics considered mockery? I used to think it was a part of good storytelling. Are we wound up so tight that laughing at the faults of someone who is slightly different than us is impossible? And since when is B.O. socially acceptable? Since when is ignorance and arrogance not the target of ridicule? Have we gone so far down the P.C. slope that everything is okay, every viewpoint is valid, everyone is accepted, and “everything is beautiful in it’s own way”?

Stephen Worth also agrees with Amid:

It’s fine to feel all sentimental about cartoons of your childhood, whether they are He-Man and Pirates of Dark Water or Batfink and Groovie Ghoulies. But don’t make the mistake of thinking just because they mean something to you personally that they have some sort of intrinsic quality that makes them unassailable.

As someone who worked on cartoons that you probably watched as a kid, I can truthfully say that almost all of the animation of the late 70s and 80s was complete and utter crap. It was fine for someone like me who was just starting out to work on shows like that and learn the ropes, but I have nothing but sympathy for the old-timers who had cut their teeth on Disney features and Tom & Jerry cartoons. They were forced to stoop incredibly low just to accumulate enough time on the job to retire and get the hell out of the hell hole that the artform they loved have become. It must have felt like destroying the thing you love for the almighty dollar. No wonder so many old guys were bitter and cranky.

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