Sylvester the Cat & Loss of Innocence

Recently one morning during the holiday break, my nephew’s 8-year-old son was watching cartoons in our family room. I was in the adjacent kitchen getting a cup of coffee and checking out what he was watching. We try to keep an eye on what our grandchildren, and any other visiting young kids watch while they’re at our house, so they’re not unnecessarily exposed to television content that isn’t appropriate. I noted, with comfort that he was watching a cartoon with Sylvester the Cat, Bugs Bunny and Porky the Pig…so no concerns for the content right? As I looked on though, it became apparent that this wasn’t the typical Sylvester/Bugs/Porky cartoon. Sylvester was in a hospital bed with an IV hooked up with Bugs and Porky at his bedside. That’s a bit unusual I thought, so I continued to watch. Next, a cartoon Doctor enters the hospital room and tells Sylvester that he has good news and bad news. He started with the good news, but I don’t even recall what it was, because I was anticipating the funny, bad news punch line. Then the Doctor said, “the bad news is that you need a kidney transplant.” What??? When did subject matter and dialogue like that start showing up in kids cartoon shows? Especially the always funny…don’t have to think too hard, Bugs Bunny cartoons? Now I’m not opposed to educating our children in the realities of the world, and I’m certainly empathetic to those who are challenged by kidney disease, since we have a loved one who’s on a kidney transplant waiting list. But isn’t the world already hurtling our kids toward adulthood fast enough? Do we really need our morning cartoon characters facing life threatening diseases and organ transplants? As the cartoon continues to the next scene, fortunately without any dialysis or operating room sequences, we learn that Porky is the one who’s donated a kidney to Sylvester. Now in the final scene, some unspecified amount of time later, Sylvester and Porky have returned to their normal cartoon antics, with Sylvester lamenting, in his characteristic lisping voice, that Porky, having donated a kidney and saving his life, is now lording that over him to get special treatment. Really???….Can’t we let our children hang on to at least some of the innocent pleasures of their childhood…at least until they’re 10 or 11 or so?
Don

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About donmcalister

I retired at the end of 2011, after a 39 year career in the Aerospace industry as an Propulsion Engineer, Engineering Manager and Program Manager. My professional interests and expertise is in the areas of Program, Risk and Knowledge Management. I'm passionate about life-long learning involving a wide variety of topics and I'm committed to sharing my knowledge and ideas with those who are interested. My primary hobby is performing jazz music. I'm a jazz keyboard player, and vocalist, and I'm on the Board of Directors of the non-profit Simi Valley Jazz Club, which is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of jazz music from the '20's through the 60's.
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