Monday, November 15, 2010

This is Why You're Anxious: Saturday Morning Cartoon version

Does anyone remember Captain Planet and the Planeteers?



Now that I've refreshed your memory. Really, Ted Turner, really? I know the fellow is rumoured to be a bit off, but I'm not sure whether the show is strangest because:
- it's clearly political indoctrination of a certain worldview;
- it confronts topics that the viewers are in no way intellectually or emotionally prepared for; or,
- the premise makes no damn sense. Pollution is now a problem of going and beating up pollutors! A magic man should do it! And he should be summoned by the personified spirit of the earth! Well phew, I'm so relieved. I thought it involved a lot more paperwork than that.

As Luci from Chez Luci pointed out, I had forgotten the hole in the ozone layer. The ozone layer was opening up a giant hole over the arctic and as a result, we would all be burned to a crisp. As a result we should stop using anything in a spray can.

What else . . . over population! I remember that too! Kind of a strange one to teach a bunch of small children, but we learned that the world was running out of space. This is the kind of thing that can only seem remotely plausible to the youngest Canadian because again, space we've got. Obviously whatever anti-population message they were trying to share with me didn't quite take.

We were running out of oil. This used to be a really big concern, back before we learned to be more concerned with the people on top of the oil we want to use, and their wacky political theories.

And of course, there were drugs. On Fridays after dinner, my father used to take us to rent a video. One of the videos was a completely animated one-hour movie wherein the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a bunch of other cartoons I don't remember teach us all an important lesson about drug use.

Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue



You really can find anything online.

Anyhow, the message of the story is that primary school children are regularly offered marijuana and should be ever alert to the possibility.

And smoke. Smoking would kill you, your mother, your father, and your little dog too. It was your duty as a child to weep pitifully that your father not smoke because you didn't want him to die. Not conducive to happy parent-child relationships.

We learned not to drink and drive. I started crying in a Chinese food restaurant wailing "please, daddy, don't drink and drive. He didn't think that one light beer rendered him un-roadworthy, but again, one for the family memory books.

Someday I hope that my children, too, will misapply what they have learned about health and safety in order to humiliate me in public.

Speaking of which, how do I teach my four-year-old that when she falls, she should say "I've fallen and I can't get up!" She should not substitute the near synonym, "I'm on my back and I can't get off!" Really.

5 comments:

  1. The things they told us never made sense from the standpoint of simple economics.

    One: the villains in Captain Planet often seemed to engage in polluting activities for the sheer pleasure of doing evil, even going out of their way to spend money on doing so. Those who pollute in real life are uniformly concerned with avoiding expenditure.

    Two: drug dealers do not, as a rule, make a habit of handing out free product. "First hit's free" only makes sense in the case of instantly addictive drugs, of which there are very few. Drug users can be generous, especially when high, but rarely will they press beyond the first refusal; drugs cost both money and trouble to acquire, and even the most evangelistic stoner understands the benefits of having more weed for himself.

    Had we understood the principles of profit and loss earlier in life, we would surely still be anxious, but at least our anxieties would have had some founding in reality.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Elizabeth, economics should be in more children's cartoons. (What about Pokemon + Freakonomics? That would be amazing.)

    Also, how do you fall on your back without being able to get up? I'm trying to work it out and I just get a mental image of a turtle on it's back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just lost it laughing over the image of you as a child begging your dad to not drink and drive. Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I laughed so hard I have tears in my eyes!! yes I remember that!

    I once had a meltdown in a car because my mother was drinking and driving. (we just left the McDonald's parking lot and she was still sipping her Diet Coke.) I was horrified that my own mother would so carelessly disregard the law - and more importantly, a PSA! - and endanger my life like that. "friends don't let friends drink and drive" you know.

    Remember the commercial in the 80's saying "be smart! don't start!" My 4 yr old brother proudly sang "be smart! don't fart!" and couldn't understand why my mother was laughing so hard.

    This is why the war on drugs really shouldn't be aimed at 4 yr olds.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I laughed so hard I have tears in my eyes!! yes I remember that!

    I once had a meltdown in a car because my mother was drinking and driving. (we just left the McDonald's parking lot and she was still sipping her Diet Coke.) I was horrified that my own mother would so carelessly disregard the law - and more importantly, a PSA! - and endanger my life like that. "friends don't let friends drink and drive" you know.

    Remember the commercial in the 80's saying "be smart! don't start!" My 4 yr old brother proudly sang "be smart! don't fart!" and couldn't understand why my mother was laughing so hard.

    This is why the war on drugs really shouldn't be aimed at 4 yr olds.

    ReplyDelete