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Thursday, January 22, 2004
Cartoons go to war
Since we're already on the topic of war and cute widdle animals, here's a synopsis of the first night of The Wild and Abandoned Animation Festival at a certain local theater that will remain unamed. The festival concludes tonight with a "dada" Chinese New Years celebration.
In the first evening, the only one I'll manage to catch, the theme was Strange and Vicious War Cartoons. Most of the shorts were dated, misguided and incredibly racist. It's weird to see high-quality Disney and Loony Tunes cartoons rife with propaganda themes. Among those shown:
TOKYO JOKIO: This short was put out by Warner Brothers and features an array of incredibly offensive Japanese caricatures. In a series of short segments set up as a news reel, an announcer describes various facets of the Japanese military.
EDUCATION FOR DEATH: Hans is a young student living in Germany. Every day, he goes to school where his teacher, a general with no neck, tells him classic fairy tales chock full of Nazi rhetoric. In Sleeping Beauty, a prince, depicted as Hitler plants a huge kiss on Germany, in the guise of an enormous women inexplicably wearing a Viking helmet. But Germany is too much for him to handle. As he carries her to his horse, his knees buckle and she crushes him. Hans grows up and becomes a storm-trooper. A final shot of marching troops fades into a graveyard of white crosses. Yep, this cartoon was made by the Walt Disney Company.
PRIVATE SNAFU: Two SNAFU cartoons were shown. If you're not familiar with "SNAFU," it an old military acronym for "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up." Private SNAFU isn't the brightest GI. He likes to get drunk and tell secrets to Nazi spies. SNAFU also spreads rumors. In one short, a ship he's on, departing for France is bombed by a German submarine. He winds up in a boiling pot in hell. After asking Satan how he wound up there, he shoves a mirror in SNAFU's face. The message to be learned here? "Loose lips sink..."
BUGS BUNNY NIPS THE NIPS: Bugs has found himself in the middle of the Pacific in a floating box. He washes up on the shore of an island occupied by, you guessed it, incredibly offensive Japanese caricatures. Not content to share the island, Bugs breaks out an array of dirty tricks to kill them. After reinforcements are sent in, the bunny dresses as an ice cream man and cons his opponents into buying popsicles filled with grenades. As he happily marks a forest of palm trees with a Japanese flag for each kill, a US battleship appears on the horizon. As she he tries to flag it down, a girl bunny appears. Bugs opts to stay. This one drew the most gasps from the audience in attendance.
SUPERMAN AND THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BOMBER: Oh no! Three Japanese spies have captured the World's Biggest Bomber and they're about to attack Metropolis! To make matters worse, Lois Lane has stowed away in a locker!!! Superman rushes to the rescue but the plane goes into a tailspin. He leaps out and manages to stop it from exploding in the middle of downtown Metropolis. Afterwards, he runs off to an amusement park with Lois. What a mofo.
DER FUEHRER'S FACE: This one, made by Disney, actually won the company an Academy Award. In the years since, they've tried to wipe it off the planet. Donald Duck stars as an Average Citizen living in Nazi-occupied Germany. We follow Donald through a typical day. He wakes up and sieg heils a poster of Hitler before a nutritious breakfast consisting of water and stale bread. At work, Donald struggles to keep up with a rampant assembly line. Seconds before he's about to drop from exhuastion, his boss allows to go on vacation. Relieved, Donald accepts as a background of the Swiss Alps falls behind him. The vacation lasts ten seconds and he's put back to work. The line eventually drives him insane and the duck begins to hallucinate. What ensues is a segment of animation more freaky than the elephants in that old Winnie the Pooh short. Donald finally wakes up in American flag pajamas. He's back home, safe and sound in the US. It was all a dream. Overjoyed, he kisses a miniature Statue of Liberty.
OK, if you got through of all of this, you deserve a prize. Don't you wish you could see at least part of this Donald Duck cartoon? Well, you can! Click here but be wary. The site contains pictures of boobs.