Monday, July 25, 2011

They May Have Silenced Tom & Jerry...

With the lack of Looney Tunes cartons on syndicated television and the more politically incorrect portions of Tom & Jerry being edited out of the episodes they do allow to air, I have found that my sons have an underdeveloped sense of ethnic satire. The stereotypes of various ethnicities have not been made clear to them the way they were to me as a child.

They are mostly Irish and Polish yet can’t appreciate a good joke about an Irishman drinking or a Pole doing something backwards. Likewise, they have never been exposed to their favorite cartoon character being struck on the head with a garbage can lid then breaking into an offensive Japanese mockery, complete with Fu Manchu mustache.

However, where I have been lacking in their education relative to these matters, Nintendo has been gracious enough to help.

When I bought Punch-Out for the Wii, the redesigned homage to the classic 8-bit NES game, I didn’t expect it to teach my sons about the differences they are supposed to notice in others. I had assumed that aspect of the game would also be redesigned or at least toned down a bit.

Had it been redesigned along with the rest of the game play, my sons might not know now that German people are robotic and militant. They would not have thought that every person they meet who happens to be from India should be wearing a turban and practicing some sort of mystical art. They never would have equated the Irish with bar fights or the Japanese with compulsion. They never would have thought that all Spanish men dance around with roses between their teeth when they aren’t fighting bulls.

Now, since they have discovered the game that I purchased and defeated a year ago and left sitting on my shelf, they are skilled in the ways of ethnic diversity. Bugs Bunny didn’t have to make any WWII era jokes about the Germans or Japanese. Punch-Out was there for them in their time of need. Sadly, like the original, there is no Polish fighter to instill any valuable lessons regarding that portion of their heritage (Soda Popinski is Russian).

But the most important lesson of the game is still included. It is right at the very beginning as it ought to be, just like it did back in my day, when you fight Glass Joe. It is one of the most important life lessons of all:

The French are pansies.

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