Tom and Jerry is an old school cartoon about the never ending rivalry between the cat and the mouse. Tom and Jerry was created in 1940, yet the show seems to still be extremely popular with children and adults to this day. I understand that many people have a favorable opinion of this cartoon, but as a child I never really liked this show. I didn’t find the cartoon boring, or even generally entertaining, I wasn’t upset with the style of drawing, or even the sometimes offensive portrayals of minorities, what upset me about this cartoon was the fact that the mouse always won. I know it is a cartoon, and that the use of slapstick comedy trumps the truth of the cat eating the mouse, but the mouse is a pest, and even as a child I felt it was unfair for the cat to always lose. There are hundreds of cartoons around, but Tom and Jerry is the only one where the burglar is celebrated and even rewarded for his actions. There are still Tom and Jerry episodes being made to this day, and while I have seen them all, I honestly hope there is at least one in which Tom, the cat, actually wins. I am not trying to ruin a classic cartoon, and I understand that looking at it realistically is quite foolish, but a pest, or a burglar should not be celebrated in a cartoon. I know my views on this cartoon are somewhat odd, but it was just one of the many pet peeves I had with the cartoons of my childhood.
This past weekend, I got a chance to hang out with an old friend who just happened to have his first child. I had a series of interesting questions to ask him about parenthood. Most of my questions were serious, but the one that stood out was a random joke question I asked that somehow managed to be relatively sensible. I asked, “If you and your wife had to go away for a year, and leave your child with a clown, a dragon, or a bear, who would you choose?” I fully understand that this is a foolish question, but it seems like most people I ask this question have the same answer. While I’m sure that everyone understands the most logical answer to this query is the clown, it is astounding just how many people don’t trust a clown with their baby. The most common answer I received was a bear, and funny enough, that was the answer I had in mind. Now, this was just meant to be a random comical question, but the answer of bear does make sense when it comes from someone in my generation. When you consider the three choices, a dragon should be immediately omitted, not just because it is a reptile, but also due to the fire breathing aspect. As for the clown, I said it before, but there is just seems to be a negative stigma on clowns, I know they are humans, but parents don’t want their children raised in a wacky and unstructured environment. The bear is my choice because of The Jungle Book. Baloo raised Mowgli and he did a perfectly fine job at it, I would love fore my children to grow up understanding the “bear necessities of life.” Try asking this question to friends and family, I know it sounds foolish, but I guarantee most people will answer bear.
I was recently searching through my old things in storage and I made quite a few interesting finds. Aside from the pop culture relics that are my old clothes, I found some toys and video games I used to enjoy. The things I found reminded me of a simpler time, a time when there wasn’t so much regulation on what was actually sold in stores. When I was a child everything was marketed to us, we had toy guns, candy cigarettes, and countless questionable role models. Looking back on life as a child in the 90s, as unsafe as it seemed, it was generally safer than it is today. I know the Internet is a huge part of the problem today, but I just don’t see how playing with certain toys could have adversely affected my growth. One of the toys I found was an action figure of the Marvel character, Punisher, and while I have fond memories of innocently playing with that action figure, I now know that Punisher was basically just a killer, who only targeted bad guys. Knowing what I know now, I would never willingly purchase some of the toys I once played with for my children, but the problem is that new toys and gadgets are being built everyday and they are probably twice as harmful as anything ever sold in the past. There are always studies decrying newly released toys and entertainment devices, but in my opinion, there is never enough time to accurately determine the toxicity of the items in question before they are replaced with the next batch. I would say that my generation turned out relatively well in spite of all the dangerous toys and games, and I believe that no mater what marketing schemes we were exposed to as children, it is our upbringing that ultimately defines our future life choices. As long as parents take an active role in every aspect of their child’s life, I’m sure the kids will turn out just fine.
Laughter is extremely important to the wellbeing of humanity. Did you know laughter is the only language that every human being speaks, it is also the first language a baby learns. Babies laugh early and often, they even understand using laughter as a method of bringing levity to a situation. Laughter is a response that humans and some primates have to a humorous situation, or to external stimuli such as tickling. The act of laughing has actually been shown to relieve stress and in some instances even strengthen the immune system. There is a common phrase that states “laughter is the best medicine,” and while it may not actually be a medicine, it has beneficial effects that can reduce the need for medicine and help maintain good health. Laughter goes deeper than just a showing of amusement, laughter and humor may actually be genetic, while I personally have met people who are totally different in humor than their parents there are always cases of variance when talking about genetics. Often times my parents don’t fully understand my humor, but when it comes to sarcasm I am fully confident that we share the same “humor gene.” Laughter is necessary, if everyone took time out in the day to laugh with one another, rather than at one another, I am sure the world would be a much more peaceful and enjoyable place.