Looney Tunes Gets Bloody, Is it Too Much for Kids?

October 8, 2008

I just read about a new art exhibit called “Splatter” where Looney Tunes characters are taken to the next violent level – complete with blood and guts.

jCauty&SON copyright out of control 2008, courtesy of THE AQUARIUM

Artist James Cauty created the controversial exhibition with his 15-year-old son Harry Photo: jCauty&SON copyright out of control 2008, courtesy of THE AQUARIUM

According to the Telegraph, the exhibit claims to show your favorite Looney Tune characters in “unrelenting acts of blood and discomfort never previously witnessed on the Cartoon Network.”

The exhibit itself doesn’t bother me.  I’m all for free expression.  I don’t think my kids are mature enough to see that kind of thing yet, so I simply won’t take them.  Others are free to see the exhibit if it interests them.  The gallery even attached a parental advisory to the exhibit.  I’m fine with that.

What did upset me was a statement by artist James Cauty.

“I’m a parent myself, and if I saw pictures like that I would think of something kids would really love, because it’s no holds-barred violence.”

I find the statement terribly disturbing.  I’m a parent and I don’t want my young kids to be getting that excited about “no holds-barred violence.”

We should be teaching our children about limits, not “no holds-barred.”  We should be stressing the importance of right and wrong, not the bloodier the better.

What does it say about our society that we are encouraging our kids to get excited about violence, that blood and guts are “fun.”

I currently limit the amount of Looney Tunes cartoons my kids can watch.  They are extremely violent as is.  We have discussion after watching them about what is right and what is wrong.

I watched Looney Tunes growing up and I turned out ok.  But I was raised with a strong moral foundation.  Even so there’s a big difference between watching an anvil drop on coyote’s head and watching Jerry mutilate Tom.

There’s no way I’d let my kids into that exhibit until they were much, much older.  They need to be mature enough to understand what is “entertainment” only.  They should know why it’s really not fun when people get hurt.

But the idea that our kids are getting excited about extreme violence, that they find blood and mutilation fun, scares me.  Because too many kids are mature enough to distinguish between reality and entertainment and too many aren’t getting the moral discussions to distinguish between right and wrong.

What do you think are we as society doing too much to encourage this trend among our children that the more, bloodier violence is a good thing?  Are we setting up our children for trouble in the future?

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New College Course: Learn to Be a Jedi

September 16, 2008

I’ve always been amazed at the courses available in college.  But even this class surprised me.

The great thing about college is that it gives you a chance to explore.  And I’m thankful that colleges are offering more and more course options for students.  But sometimes it amazing me at what is available.

My husband once took a course in hiking – complete with a lesson in scat.

But I’ve found a new class that tops that and will send sci fi fans running for the college book store with light sabers in hand.

It seems Queens College in Belfast is offering a new course this fall as part of its Open Learning Program – “Feel the Force:  How to Train in the Jedi Way.”  This one-day course is being offered on November 15 and is open to anyone.

Here’s what the course description (page 101) says:

Jedi might not be your religion, but you’re still a fan. Learn the real-life psychological techniques behind Jedi mind-tricks – mindfulness, instinct, serenity, empathy, influence, flow. Examine the larger philosophical issues behind the Star Wars universe – balance, destiny, dualism, fatherhood, fascism and bureaucracy. Discover the academic mythologist who inspired George Lucas’ story.  Battle your dark side fear and aggression. Begin your own heroquest.  Light sabers not provided!

If Star Wars is half as popular in Belfast as it is here in the U.S. then this class will be standing room only. 

But I have to wonder what the final is like.  Do you have to go to a swamp to face your own fear in an obstacle course with a Yoda lookalike proctoring?

What’s the strangest college course you’ve every taken?


Do You Want to Be a Superhero?

August 24, 2007

Sci Fi Channel’s Who Wants to Be a Superhero? offers more than a good chuckle.  Now the show offers you the ability to create your own secret persona to fight crime and become a Superhero yourself.

Who Wants to Be a SuperheroPersonally, I’m not into reality shows, but last summer my husband (a big comic fan) and I found Who Wants to Be a Superhero.  It was campy and overexaggerated, but we were hooked because that was its charm.  Plus it featured comic legend Stan Lee. 

The first season provided us with endless entertainment watching Major Victory strut his stuff, Fat Mama take a bite out of crime and the Iron Enforcer turn evil.  My only disappointment was that Major Victory didn’t win.

Therefore, we were truly looking for to the start of the second season.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying the show this summer.  However, it is plagued with an absolutely endless amount of product placement and recaps.  In fact, there was a whole challenge last week that revolved around esurance.  Give me a break — that’s what commercials are for.

I’m glad to see they added more villains and new challenges, but how many different ways can we recap.  I want more screen time for the contestants.  That’s what makes the show fun is watching them.

Never fear, I’ll still be tuning in.  My favorite is The Diffuser, but I’m not sure he’s Stan’s favorite so I don’t know how much longer he’ll last.  Personally, I think Stan’s partial to Hygena.

Guess we’ll see who wins immortality in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, if you need more superhero fun, check out the following:

OverdriveBecome a Superhero — Create your own superhero.  My persona is pictured here.

Take a Quiz — Take one of several quizzes and test your superhero and comic book knowledge.  I only rated Loyal Sidekick.

Create a Comic Book — Showcase your creativeness and possibly win some prizes by creating your own comic.

Aftershow — Catch the aftershow with Feedback for more on your heroes.

Buy Some Stamps — Add some extra power to your mail with these Marvel stamps.

Who Wants to Be A Superhero? airs on the Sci Fi Channel on Thursdays at 9 p.m.


Relive Your Childhood with Free Comic Book Day May 5th

May 4, 2007

This Saturday, May 5, 2007, is Free Comic Book Day.  The event, held annually on the first Saturday in May, is more than a gathering of geeks.  Free Comic Book day is a chance to relive a piece of your childhood and share that experience with your children, nieces/nephews, grandchildren or any other youth in your life. 

Free Comic Book DayEven if you weren’t a big comic book fan, we’ve all picked up a copy of Archie as a child or read the funnies in the paper on Sunday.  Well comics have come a long way since I was kid.  Stop by a comic book store this Saturday to find out how much.

Shortly after we were married, my husband revived his love for comics and started collecting again.  While I was never a big comic book fan beyond the occasional Archie growing up, I found the trips to our local comic book store with my husband fascinating.  There were so many titles — a little of something for everyone.

Mickey Mouse ComicEvery time we stopped by, the owner of the Dave’s Comics would try to persuade me to start collecting and would show me something new.  For a while I declined, content to support my husband’s interest.  Alas, Dave finally found the key to my heart — Mickey Mouse comic books.  A huge Mickey fan, I could not turn away.  I’ve been collecting ever since.

Recently I’ve started venturing beyond my Mickey Mouse comics.  Why?  Several of my favorite TV shows are now migrating to the comic world.  While the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel series have both ended, I am still able to get my vampire and demon fix with the Buffy, Angel, and Spike comics — all three of which picked up where the series ended.  The short-lived cult favorite Firefly also released a set of comics between the series end and the movie Serenity.  And recently, my favorite TV show, Supernatural, announced that it would be releasing a comic called Supernatural:  Origins

Comics are a great way of extending the life and scope of a sci fi franchises.  Heroes uses graphic novels to fill in the gaps between episodes.  Battlestar Galactica has also issued a comic.

Spiderman ComicNow that I’m a parent, I think comics are a great way to encourage children and teens to read more.  Granted my twins are only two, but they will be in line Saturday for their second Free Comic Book Day.  My husband and I both plan to encourage an interest in comics for a children for the simple reason that its a fun way for them to learn to read and practice the reading skills.

Many comic book stores make Free Comic Book Day a truly fun event.  Last year, Dave’s Comics had Star Wars storm troopers visit with everyone as we lined up waiting for the store to open.  And the first 500 visitors got a free Heroclix figure.  And did I mention that my kids love to visit Dave’s because of his great collection of toys from educational to family fun to nostalgic. 

Here’s the list of the comic books the all the stores will be giving away:

Archie Comics Little Archie 2007

Bongo’s Free For all 2007

Umbrella Academy Zero Killer Pantheon City 2007

Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century 2007

The Lone Ranger/New Battlestar Galactica Flip Book 2007

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse 2007 

Transformers the Movie Prequel #1 2007

Astounding Wolf-Man #1 2007

Amazing Spider Man Swing Shift 2007

Tokyopop Choose Your Weapon 2007

Some stores might have a few more titles.  To find a comic book near you, visit this store locator.

Those hitting the theaters this summer might want to pick up the Transformers or the Spiderman issues.  Personally, I’ll be in line for that Mickey Mouse issue.