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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

Confession of a 26 year old...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Image by Gary Lister, www.listerart.com

I have posted 20-something posts now and I noticed something. I inadvertently attached images of cartoons to most of them. I can't figure out why yet.

I remember as a child how watching cartoons became my first form of rebellion. We were always made (no... forced!) to sleep in the afternoon when me and my siblings were still too young to protest. We'd pretend to sleep (snoring a little to add to the effect). When my mom or nanny was satisfied in confirming we were asleep, we'd turn on the T.V. (volume to minimum) and watch afternoon cartoon shows. Of course, we'd occasionally get caught.

Cartoons then ranged from the cutesy Care Bears and My Little Pony to the violent but save-the-day Thundercats and Daimos. I learned some of my first life lessons from these doodles. Garfield taught me to hate Mondays. Linus (Peanuts) taught me to love Christmas (and to hold on to security blankets) He-man taught me one man can save the world and The Smurfs taught me that a whole civilization can survive with just one woman.

Kids nowadays have it all. My niece and nephew watch cartoons 24-7 (adults always lose "The Battle of the Remote") Then... watching cartoons was a reward for doing chores. You could only watch them on weekends and afternoons for holiday-weekdays. The longest back-to-back cartoon shows happened on Sunday mornings. After church, we were allowed to watch cartoons until lunch time (this was during the whole Mr. Bogus - Ninja Turtles era)

Growing up is like a sieve. The holes of the sieve get wider as we grow and more of the things we like pass thru the mesh into oblivion. I can't see the appeal of some of the 80's cartoons anymore. I saw reruns of the Care Bears with the kids and I wanted to shoot myself 5 minutes into the show. Those bears are insanely naive!

I like my cartoons with a dash of sarcasm, 5 tablespoons of irony and 6 cups of black humor. The Simpsons is one of my indulgences. Yellow-bellied humor and Homer's slapstick eccentricities aside, it always has a multi-layered plot and the characters (major and minor) are well-developed stereotypes. Other cartoons that I find stimulating are Hey Arnold!, The Family Guy, Dexter's Lab and Southpark. Cartoons that I absolutely love but have already ended are Ren and Stimpy, Beavis and Butt Head, Aeon Flux and Daria... all of which aren't for kids.

I like cartoon characters for their permanence. Bart will always be 10 years old. Butt Head will always wear the same AC/DC shirt. Kenny will always be resurrected after every episode. The permanence of their appearance and demeanor is comforting in a sense.

I also like the consistency of cartoon characters. Homer will always be stupid and in-your-face... Homer will always be Homer. You can't say that about real people. The lovable (oh so fabulous) Karen Walker (Will and Grace) transforms into Megan Mullally at the end of every taping and regains a normal voice, losing the high-pitched one Karen has that everyone loves. Sadder transformations... William Wallace aka Braveheart doesn't remain as a face-painted Scottish hero... He gets arrested for DUI. The adorable kid from Jackson 5 doesn't sing "I'll be there" forever... He grows up, discovers plastic surgery and creates Neverland.

Cartoons have helped my generation (I think) cope with the more real events happening around us... an escape from reality. That, I think is their appeal.

"Hi, I'm Alternati, I'm 26 and yes... I still watch cartoons."

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posted by Alternati, 8:19 PM

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