Masturbatory Nostalgia


I randomly saw this on the Internet and I wanted to talk about this phenomenon of nostalgia.  Nostalgia for something in the past is unsurprisingly often accompanied by derision towards its present-day manifestation  Unfortunately, this derision not only accompanied by smug and elitist attitudes; it’s also leads to a rose-colored view of an idyllic past that didn’t actually exist.  Case-in-point, the text in this picture.  I’m going to break down everything that is wrong with its assertion.

1. For starters, the offensive use of the term “retards” is a major problem in itself.

2. Wile E. Coyote is not a ‘90s cartoon character.  His first cartoon was in 1949 and his hey-day was in the ’50s and the ’60s.

3. The standards of what cartoons could get away with were different from Wile E. Coyote’s hey-day to the ’90s.  More importantly, the targeted demographics weren’t as segregated back when as they were in the ’90s (or now), so there were overlapping age groups that Looney Tunes appealed to, especially because it never aspired to be a cartoon that’s “just for kids”.

4. In the ’90s, you actually DID have to tell kids not to try this shit at home.  There was an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures where Elmyra ran out of a car into a busy highway and held a hot mug fresh out of a microwave with her bare hands.  Both times, Buster literally stopped the cartoon to tell the audience that only idiot cartoon characters like Elmyra can do stuff like this and escape relatively unscathed.  Do I even need to discuss Beavis and Butt-head’s controversy, which wasn’t even a cartoon targeted to kids?

5. With all of this said, there are cartoons aimed at children that are out these days that sneak in some content that some parents may find objectionable.  There was an episode of Adventure Time I saw where a character brandished a knife at Finn and Jake.  This same cartoon and Steven Universe have episodes with scenarios that are not-so-subtle allegories for having sex.  Some of the language in Regular Show can be mildly profane.  The legacy of adult innuendos fondly remembered from cartoons like Animaniacs, Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren & Stimpy, or Hey Arnold! is alive and well.

Yeah yeah yeah, I came up in the 1990s too, so I share the fondness whoever made this has for cartoons in the ’90s and Looney Tunes, which I also discovered in the ’90s.  And I also admit that I do find myself mostly bored with the cartoons on TV these days too.  But I have zero interest in or patience for old men who shake their fists at those darn, young whippersnappers.

Masturbatory Nostalgia

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