Ah, I remember it well. Cartoons were cartoons. Jerry was always running from Tom, Bugs Bunny was always trying to avoid ending up in rabbit stew, and animated violence and questionable motives were the order of the day. Life was simple when I was a kid. Apparently, I was also playing witness to a social revolution ripe with ethnic and racial inequalities.
What’s that you ask? Well, the animated series Tom & Jerry, which featured a cat chasing a mouse, has recently been made available to stream via iTunes and Amazon Prime. However, the two companies involved have decided to put warnings about “ethnic and racial prejudices once commonplace in American society” and “these depictions were wrong then and are wrong today,’ according to USA Today.
According to CBS News, Tom & Jerry was produced from1940 to 1957, which would be a major animated win these days, but does carry such social indignities like smoking, cannibalism, portrayal of women, and more. Okay, so maybe not the best thing to kick back with on a Saturday morning when you say it like that, but labeling what was a popular children’s series with a warning seems insane on the surface.
Then of course, you look at America today. How many people do you think would be lined up to file a lawsuit against the flush with cash Amazon and Apple for allowing the content to be viewed without some sort of rating system or warning? If you answered none, you could fall into the naïve category of Americans.
That being said, while I can’t blame Amazon and Apple for being careful here, I think the fact that a warning is there speaks volumes about the state of America and the quest for political correctness. Is it right? You know it might be, because Tom & Jerry does not exactly have the least edgy content around; however, I don’t see how a children’s show from six decades ago needs to explain itself today.