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70 yrs of Pepe Lepew, 60 of Speedy Gonzales, Great Creative Cartoons or decadent racist propaganda?

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posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 10:24 AM
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Dear Readers,

Warner Brothers made some of the most famous American Cartoons ever, although also had a controversial taste of humor to create occasionally characters that definitively label not in the most respectful way nationalities, until the point to have been accused to be xenophobic ,stereotypical at least or even racists.

Some years ago for instance Speedy Gonzales , a extremely successful cartoon of Warner that is reaching this year its 60 anniversary, was banned of some cartoon channels precisely for the antiHispanic spirit that was denounced supposedly it depicted, that offended some political groups. the fact is that many American children became familiar with the Mexican culture first time precisely through this comic.

Speedy's first appearance was in 1953's "Cat Tails for Two" though he appeared largely in name (and super speed) only. It would be two years before Friz Freleng and animator Hawley Pratt redesigned the character into his modern incarnation for the 1955 Freleng short, Speedy Gonzales. The cartoon features Sylvester the Cat guarding a cheese factory at the United States-Mexican border from a group of starving Mexican mice.

www.youtube.com...

Feeling that the character presented an offensive Mexican stereotype, Cartoon Network shelved Speedy's films when it gained exclusive rights to broadcast them in 1999 (As a subsidiary of Time Warner, Cartoon Network is a corporate sibling to Warner Bros.). In an interview with Fox News on March 28, 2002, Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg commented, "It hasn't been on the air for years because of its ethnic stereotypes.

Despite such controversy over potentially offensive characterizations, Speedy Gonzales remained a popular character in Latin America. The Hispanic-American rights organization League of United Latin American Citizens called Speedy a "cultural icon", and thousands of users registered their support of the character on the hispaniconline.com message boards. Fan campaigns to put Speedy back on the air resulted in the return of the animated shorts to Cartoon Network in 2002.


70 years ago, it was released first time Pepe Lepew, that fall in this category. It was part of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons, first introduced in January of 1945, Created by Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese, Voiced by Mel Blanc (1945–88)


A French skunk that always strolls around in Paris in the springtime, when everyone's thoughts are of "love", Pepé is constantly seeking "l'amour" of his own. However, he has two huge turnoffs to any prospective mates: his malodorous scent, and his refusal to take "no" for an answer, blissfully convinced that the girl is flirting with him, even when she rejects his advances to the point of physically assaulting him.

www.youtube.com...

In a role-reversal, became the Academy Award-winning 1949 short For Scent-imental Reasons ended with an accidentally painted (and now terrified) Pepé being aggressively pursued by a madly smitten Penelope (who has been dunked in dirty water, leaving her with a ratty appearance and a developing head cold, completely clogging up her nose). It turns out that Pepé's new color is just right for her. Penelope locks him up inside a perfume shop, hiding the key down her chest, and proceeds to chase the now imprisoned and effectively odorless Pepé.

www.youtube.com...

Pepé is stereotypically French in the way Speedy Gonzales is stereotypically Mexican, speaking with an exaggerated accent, now some have seen in this cartoon an apology of sexual harassment, strongly criticizing it for the kind of supposed anti-values that is able to implant in the young people's minds.

One thing is sure, if the cartoon was created to make mockery of the French culture ironically made it even more popular and well known in the public that enjoyed to watch it.

What do you think? were Pepe Lepew as well as Speedy Gonzales two great success as nice examples of the most creative and artistic talents in cartoons ever made, with intelligent taste for introduce cultural humor?, or mere decadent propaganda instruments of an ideology that has no place anymore in the culture of civil rights of our time?

The thread is open of course to the discussion of the topic in the framework of the respect of the rules of decorum in the communication.

Thanks for your attention,

The Angel of lightness

edit on 9/2/2015 by The angel of light because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 10:31 AM
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Warner Bros, Not Wagner Bros.

And I guess my response is this: Who cares? Are we really so desperate to find something to bitch about that we're going to dig up 50 year old cartoons? I watched Pepe LePew and Speedy Gonzalez and Bugs Bunny as a kid, and I didn't turn out racist..

You know what creates racism, in my opinion? Being so bloody uptight about everything that it's not ok to acknowledge and share a laugh over our cultural differences.

I remember what ATS was full of good things to read. I miss those days. =(



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 10:33 AM
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a reply to: The angel of light

Cartoons are just cartoons. I didn't grow up to think the French are like Pepe or Hispanics are like Speedy.

Times do change, though. If it is time to stop making new ones of a certain cartoon or only show them at night, then it's time. Some of the early cartoons are down right creepy, besides being racist.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 10:41 AM
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a reply to: The angel of light

Speedy Gonzalez is not racist. He's a gosh darn mouse from Mexico, for crying out loud! Should he speak with a German accent?

All I hear all the time is people saying they want to promote "multi-culturalism." That's a load of malarcy. They really want NO cultures of any kind. They don't want, say, elementary schools to be all inclusive of all religions. During the holiday season rather than let kids sing Christmas songs, Channukkah songs they just ban them outright.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 10:43 AM
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originally posted by: reldra
a reply to: The angel of light

If it is time to stop making new ones of a certain cartoon or only show them at night, then it's time.

It's time when people let themselves get fooled into thinking they are racist. Too many people are getting fooled these days, I'm sorry to say.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:03 AM
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I turn 40 in a few months...
I never knew an addage I learned from Bugs Bunny was racist until my girlfriend pointed it out a couple of years ago.

"Get your cotton pickin' hands off of me!"

But yeah, they were different times. Ethnocentric and racist? Surely. But essential to be kept in their pure state for educational purposes.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:05 AM
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originally posted by: eluryh22

originally posted by: reldra
a reply to: The angel of light

If it is time to stop making new ones of a certain cartoon or only show them at night, then it's time.

It's time when people let themselves get fooled into thinking they are racist. Too many people are getting fooled these days, I'm sorry to say.


Like this?



Maybe we should take this on a case by case basis.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:06 AM
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originally posted by: TinkerHaus
Warner Bros, Not Wagner Bros.

And I guess my response is this: Who cares? Are we really so desperate to find something to bitch about that we're going to dig up 50 year old cartoons? I watched Pepe LePew and Speedy Gonzalez and Bugs Bunny as a kid, and I didn't turn out racist..

You know what creates racism, in my opinion? Being so bloody uptight about everything that it's not ok to acknowledge and share a laugh over our cultural differences.

I remember what ATS was full of good things to read. I miss those days. =(


Quoted for agreement.

Well said mate.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:15 AM
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I am absolutely against bad jokes that make fun of other people, calling special ethnic groups stupid or even make laughter of death and need.

But the political correctness in this case is getting extremist itself meanwhile in my eyes. Speedy Gonzales was one of my favorite toons during my childhood. I never saw him as a negative character. I don't know Pepe Lepew, so I can't say anything about that figure.

Right now there is a lot of lamenting, because a conservative politician wanted to say something positive about a famous Cuban singer, who lives here in Germany for centuries, and he called him a "nice negro". The singer himself does not feel offended, but the press has some headlines and many people are upset.

Sarotti had a famous logo with a black boy in oriental dressing. They had to change this lately, because this is colonial racism. Michael Ende, author of the "Neverending story" got famous with a children's book about little Lukas, a black boy. One person in the book calls him "Negerlein" ("little negro") and people now wanted to have this changed after centuries.

Another funny story is that there exists a company called "Negerlein". They also were asked to change that racist name. But in this case it simply is the family's name. If their name was Smith the company's name would be Smith, but their name was Negerlein...

I think we should relax a little and don't make a fuss out of every fizz. As a German I always enjoyed the Katzenjammer Kids - especially for their funny language. But then again they were created by a German immigrant.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:27 AM
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I suppose you could also add Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and Foghorn Leghorn to the list of racial stereotypes. At least Warner Bros. was equally offensive to everyone.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:34 AM
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There is way to political correctness in the world today. Those cartoons where done at a time when they simply where characters someone brought to life in a cartoon. There was never meant to be anything assigned to them as one type of character or other. People just read way to much into subject matter today. IMO I am sick of PC interference.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:38 AM
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a reply to: reldra

That cartoon popped into my head when I read the OP.
There are plenty more of them, just google search racist cartoons. The 1960's were very reserved compared to the one's in the 40's and 50's.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:51 AM
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I miss Popeye beating the crap out of people and eating spinach.

Cartoons today lack gravitas.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 11:57 AM
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The original Speedy was very cool. He had a big gold tooth and wore a bright red polo shirt. When he snatched the cheese from the trap, he would leave a calling card or "business card". What a riot.






I never found the Pepe LePew cartoons that funny. They were a tad boring.

Everything was stereotyped in those days. Every race and ethnicity. Every culture, every social strata, every demographic. People didn't get all bent out of shape over it.
Everything offends someone somewhere now.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 12:59 PM
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a reply to: The angel of light

I grew up with WB toons, and never viewed them as being derogatory to myself or others. Perhaps if the PC police were to view them through a child's eye, they wouldn't come away so incensed. These characters were produced in a time when things weren't dissected with a magnifying glass, and provided entertainment targeted to youngsters. I'm sure at the time of production the idea of them being fodder for future sensitive generations to dismiss as offensive never entered the thought process.

Then and now, these toons provide mindless chuckles, and should be viewed as they were intended. Wasted energy and effort to think otherwise.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:03 PM
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a reply to: TinkerHaus




I remember what ATS was full of good things to read. I miss those days


Then why did you read this?

If you want Racism then read Tintin or early Superman comics.

Care to slap a Jap anyone?


edit on 2-9-2015 by Thecakeisalie because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:05 PM
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a reply to: Boscowashisnamo

Sometimes I wonder if overall, a lot of people just aren't happy these days. I wonder if that is part of the reason whey virtually EVERYTHING is dissected and scrutinized over until people find SOMETHING to complain about.

I know that since the beginning of people, there have and will always be some that just can't be happy. With the world in the state it is today, I wonder if that number/percentage has increased.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:07 PM
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Racism was prevalent in all media back then. It reflected the culture of the day, which was rife with ethnocentrism and exaggerated stereotypes for entertainment. Sometimes it was subtle (see my previous post), other times it was blatant (see Reldra's post). But it was there. So were seperate but equal toilets and drinking fountains, colored only bus seats, and a myriad of other divides.

Animators try to make money, hell, Warner Brothers studios were called Termite Terrace for the poor conditions, they had to make profitable cartoons that reflected the values of the day.

Those values continued into the 1960's before things started to change. ERA and all. Notice how cartoons changed in the late '60's and early '70's.
Reflection of the times.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:24 PM
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originally posted by: eluryh22
a reply to: Boscowashisnamo

Sometimes I wonder if overall, a lot of people just aren't happy these days. I wonder if that is part of the reason whey virtually EVERYTHING is dissected and scrutinized over until people find SOMETHING to complain about.

I know that since the beginning of people, there have and will always be some that just can't be happy. With the world in the state it is today, I wonder if that number/percentage has increased.


I believe you are correct in many ways, and this unhappiness in general is one of a myriad of reasons people look to external sources to mitigate these feelings. By finding fault and assigning blame in an innate manner to the most trivial subjects, unhappiness is placated or justified. That's just my .02.



posted on Sep, 2 2015 @ 01:25 PM
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a reply to: Boscowashisnamo




I grew up with WB toons, and never viewed them as being derogatory to myself or others. Perhaps if the PC police were to view them through a child's eye, they wouldn't come away so incensed. These characters were produced in a time when things weren't dissected with a magnifying glass, and provided entertainment targeted to youngsters


Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We can look back in fondness but we can also see why people can get upset, kids laugh at what's funny. If the loony toons had a character called Jeffrey Gacy that was an obese couch potato that loves guns and reality TV, how would Americans react?

"That's not fair, not all of us act like that!"

Everyone loves laughing at others until people are laughing at them.




edit on 2-9-2015 by Thecakeisalie because: (no reason given)







 
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