Killer Cartoons edited for viewers’ “dis-pleasure”
Russian national TV channel decides to censor “The Simpsons;” “SouthPark.”
It’s true that many cartoons (especially today) carry with them a certain weight of violence. After all, how many “Looney Tunes” episodes involved an anvil or piano coming down on a character’s head? In “The Simpsons,” one of the show’s features is a cartoon-within-the-cartoon called “Itchy and Scratchy,” which spoofs this by having the cat and mouse characters perform ultra-violent feats upon one another. It is there to make an obvious point about cartoon violence: it is over-the-top and available for everyone to see.
Well… not everyone.
One national TV channel in Russia is no longer allowing those moments to be shown on their network.
According to an article by Maane Khatchatourian on “Inside TV” website, “[i]n light of a new law banning displays of violence, drinking, and smoking on TV before 11 p.m., the young adult-targeted channel 2×2 will remove all scenes with the show’s ultra-violent spoof.”
“The Simpsons” aren’t the only cartoon that is falling under attack from this new law. In a supplementary releaseby The Association of Fundraising Professionals, it was noted that “South Park” (a cartoon known for being over-the-top edgy and leaving no topic un-harassed) would only air after 11 p.m. “because of a recurring joke about one of the characters being murdered each episode.”
Now, granted, some of these shows are not intended for young children. I wouldn’t sit an eight-year-old down to watch “American Dad” with me and I wouldn’t recommend “Archer” (a spy-spoofing cartoon) to anyone under 18. But, like with most of our personal media monitoring, those are choices made to protect children who are considering “under recommended viewing age” from viewing material that could be “offensive” (or from being bored by cartoons they don’t understand).
This is the stance that the Russian legislators are taking. However, the law “[o]n the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development” might not be limited to forcing only channels to edit popular cartoons (like “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” and “Crocodile Gena”), but it has the potential to threaten classic films (such as “Pretty Woman” and even “Romeo and Juliet”) as well, not to mention the Soviet classics.
It’s just a little ironic how often the cry of “Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children” has been uttered by a character in “The Simpsons,” one of the shows being censored.
Of course, not everyone is a supporter of the idea.
“Stupidity knows no boundaries,” voice actor Vasily Livanov told Moskovsky Komsomolets in an article published on The Moscow News website. “It is not new. It happened with the Soviet authorities too. It is such bigotry that it cannot fail to outrage. It is also dangerous to drive cars, yet why don’t they stick posters with torn limbs on them? It is stupid bigotry. So what, now both Sherlock Holmes and Crocodile Gena will have to be banned? He also smokes. So all moral values should be cancelled out because of one pipe? I refuse to try to understand it.”
In America, the general rule of thumb is that, when it comes to children, the responsibility of censorship falls to the parent. Who is to say that little nine-year-old Bobby down the block isn’t mentally mature enough to handle “Family Guy” or that 12-year-old Gracie shouldn’t be able to watch “South Park?” Really, if there is any guidance going on, it should be parental guidance.
However, that is an ideology of America, written by an American, from the viewpoint of an American. So the Soviets should no doubt take it with a grain of salt.