Some poncey little sheep-shagger in England wrote in to the communications regulating authority (OfCom) snivelling because -- wait for it -- Tom the Cat in the old Tom & Jerry Show was smoking in two episodes of the 1960's era classic cartoon series.
I shall now pause to give the Gentle Reader time to recover from the absolute shock regarding the very idea of a 1960's cartoon smoking a cigarette.
Turner Broadcasting was contacted by OfCom regarding the -- two -- complaints by that one individual, and was apparently advised that similar evils were being displayed in episodes of Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones.
OfCom has happily noted in its news bulletin: "... proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorized or where it might encourage imitation,"
Just out of curiosity, is there nothing else in the whole of Brittania that might be of more concern to the health and morals of the children than a CARTOON CAT SMOKING?!
Yes, the pen-and-ink drawing of a cat is smoking a massive stogie, and this is a Bad Thing, healthwise.
It is, however, maybe not so bad a thing as the various pen-and-ink stars getting blown to bits with a grenade; cut into neat cubes by a chain-link fence; set on fire; crushed; punctured by a large weight; and drowned -- all in the same episode (which is a particular favorite of mine).
Children the world over realize that while it is funny for the cartoon mouse to run the cartoon cat over with a lawn-mower, they shouldn't do the same to Little Brother. They understand that dropping the anvil upon the head of the mouse Is Good, but dropping an anvil upon the head of the neighbor next door is Not So Good.
If children can figure that one out, why the hell do we think they can't -- with a bit of guidance -- figure out that smoking isn't something you want to do?
Nope. Someone -- one bleeding heart with apparently waaa-aayyy too much time on his paws -- has to get his knickers into a knot over petty bushwa, and the Brit Gummint has to Step In And Do Something.
Couldn't just send two officials over to his house: "We are in receipt of your memorandum, and we understand that you have taken offence over the sight of a cartoon cat smoking a cartoon cigarette. We have just had a Meeting on this matter, and we have concluded that you are just going to have to get over it, old boy."
Nooo. Got to go politely murmur a bit of courteous coercion to the owner of the cartoons and encourage said owner to check every-sodding-cartoon for examples of the Evil Weed, so that said depictions may be edited away.
If Mumsy and Popsy are smokers, or Nana is a smoker, or if Uncle Ned is a smoker, one would tend to think that hiding a cartoon cat's nasty nicotine habit might not have the anti-smoking effect that might be wished for.
Not that we're any better -- Spielberg should have been drawn-and-quartered for the digital editing of guns in the Anniversary Edition of E.T. -- but for some reason this censoring of childhood cartoons is just flying all over me something fierce.
So, we edit the evils of smoking out of classic cartoons. Don't want the idols of children to be caught smoking.
Tell me, is Winston Churchill still an idol for school-children, or is he unacceptable these days? If he is still considered someone for children to look up to, shall we expect the CG elimination of that huge cigar he was always masticating by this time next week?
Surely if Tom Cat, Scooby-Doo and Fred Flintstone should not be seen by children smoking the Vile Weed, that should also hold true for some old Prime Minister.
"It's for the Chhhiiiilllldddrreennn!" Sweet Shivering Shiva.
Somebody stop the ride -- I want off.