This is my Animation Monday piece being put out on a Wednesday. And I am glad I waited to write this today. Buzz Bishop, otherwise known as DadCamp, wrote on the website Babble that the classic cartoon and comic strip Peanuts should be retired. He said “The show is riddled with the kids calling each other stupid, dumb, and blockheads. There is continuous teasing and bullying. Charlie Brown is supposed to be the hero, instead he is kicked and demeaned at every turn, even by the adults giving out candy.”
Buzz Bishop thinks the only reason why we all still love Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang is out of a sense of nostalgia. Good Grief! Many people gather around the television each year for a viewing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” and other Peanuts classic holiday specials every year. Many of those people have not turned out to be mean old bullies. Bishop argues that these “specials” merely underline bullying, and accept it as a regular part of growing up. Charlie Brown is always an outsider, the cool kids continue to play tricks, and nobody is ever held to account. In an era of hash tags like #RIPAmandaTodd, these types of attitudes are no longer appropriate. So does that mean the beloved Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, and friends are brainwashing us into believing that bullying and teasing other people are good for society? No way!
October is anti national bullying month. I see the point Buzz Bishop is trying to make. Yes bullying and teasing degrades other people. I was bullied by multiple kids while I was in school. And even in the workplace some folks have taken advantage of me. Being bullied and teased in your childhood affects you emotionally for the rest of your life. Some people even think schools are not about learning anymore and its about a popularity contest. In fact the “Alex Moore Anti-Bullying Act” has been introduced in the Alabama legislature in the past two years and hasn’t even come up for a vote. By the way; many folks from the Alabama legislature already doesn’t like this blog.
Bishop also says the Charlie Brown specials have nothing of value to offer for today’s kids. He finds the shows’ acceptance of schoolyard teasing to be antiquated. And, as the father of young kids, he finds the constant use of words like “stupid” “dumb” and “blockhead” to be a bad message for those little ears. If words like “stupid” and “dumb” are a bad message for kids than all TV shows and videos online should not be watched by anyone. Face it; hearing those words does not make kids into bullies. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang have been on TV for a very long time! And no I don’t think watching Peanuts will turn kids into mean bullies.
One commenter off of the Babble website said “Next, where is the line drawn at sheltering children? The moment those children go to school, or are out of your control they are going to deal with issues like bullying. What’s a better way to first encounter it, Charlie Brown or alone in the playground? Bullying exists and comparing calling a kid a ‘blockhead’ like in Charlie Brown to the abuse that Amanda Todd had to put up with is like comparing a fender-bender with vehicular manslaughter. The scope is nowhere near the same. Bullying is a serious problem when it reaches serious levels such as with Amanda Todd, but at lesser levels it is an unfortunate fact of life, one which I can’t imagine will ever disappear. Avoidance of a problem will only hurt you when the problem must be confronted.” Another commenter said “Interesting perspective — what about the Christmas Story? Home Alone? It’s amazing to watch these old favorites with parent eyes in these modern-day times.”
My mom would not agree with thinking the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story” teaches kids to be bullies. I find all of this to be crazy. And thankfully many people on social media thinks this is all hogwash! Watching family shows does not make people bully other people. The people who are bullies have something wrong in their lives. And they do need to be punished for bullying other people. Read the original article on Babble at: http://blogs.babble.com/kid-scoop/2012/10/20/its-time-to-retire-charlie-brown/.
- Are Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang too mean for today’s kids? Good grief! (moms.today.com)
- ‘Great Pumpkin’ criticized for sending wrong message (wcvb.com)
- ‘Great Pumpkin’ criticized for sending wrong message (wmur.com)
- Charlie Brown, ‘Peanuts’ Pals Head To Big-Screen (sacramento.cbslocal.com)
- Charles Schulz’s Peanuts Gang Headed to the Big Screen (entertainment.time.com)