Monday, March 1, 2010

Jonny Quest and other Infantile Musings

This weekend, I rediscovered Jonny Quest. I used to watch this Hanna-Barberra cartoon religiously, whenever I remembered to watch it. You know how it goes. You love a show because it's a show, a cartoon. I see my kids doing the same thing. They watch a show because it's cool, because it's a cartoon and such.

But I remember Jonny Quest and this episode in particular. The Robot Spy. Scared the heck out of me, with that bug-eyed little thing running around, peeking at everybody and slapping its antenna on humans' foreheads, leaving that weird little red mark. I seem to vaguely remember that someone -- probably my older brother Jeff, who enjoyed winding us up -- said the mark on the forehead meant the spidery guy sucked the soldier's brains out. So I have vivid memories of watching the spider walk around and peer at things, but only vague memories of everything else (I was easily influenced and a bit timid as a kid).

So now I'm watching the cartoons again. I swear they did more than one season, because I don't remember any of these repeating over several years of watching them. Guess I wasn't as dedicated to them as I thought. But they're still fun.

And, as I watch them again, surprisingly violent. I dismiss a lot of the cartoons they have today for the violence contained therein, but after watching Race Bannon ice some coolie with a machine gun, deflecting his bullets off the blade of a bulldozer around the corner to smack the coolie in the conk, I had to question whether the cartoons they have today are any more violent than the ones I watched as a kid. But it does make me wonder: These violent cartoons didn't make me violent. Of course, I didn't watch them over and over and over again, and never had a problem, even then, sorting reality from fantasy. That's not an argument that says violent shows don't begat violence; but just a postulation that mild exposure to violence as a kid did not turn me, personally, into a violent kid. Or adult.

Mostly, though, I notice weird things now. Like how the robot spy keeps its eye on the viewer the whole time to give off that Evil Otto vibe. But in effect that makes the spder walk sideways. Eerie.

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