Should You Trust The Mainstream Media When It Comes To Animation?

 Via: Times Union Online

The quick and dirty answer is no, you shouldn’t. Over the years, I’ve found that animation is, in fact, located in quite a niche of the media and entertainment landscape. Plenty of people know what it is, they can name their favourite examples and they can also rattle off a few of the larger studios. However, when it come down to details, most people are helplessly lost and/or ignorant.

Unfortunately, what I’ve found is that the [mass] news media is no different. While it is easy to understand that they must cater for the lowest common denominator, that is not a particularly compelling excuse for laziness or just plain poor journalism.

An example popped out at me yesterday, but now is as good a time as any to bring up an appearance on FOX News back in 2009 by Amid Amidi (of Cartoon Brew) and Michael Sporn (of, y’know, Michael Sporn Animation). ostensibly. they were discussing the rivalry between Pixar and DreamWorks however calling it a discussion is perhaps taking things a bit too liberally.

I think the best way to describe it is that Michael was waaaay over-qualified to be there and poor Amid was simply trying to get the presenter to understand the real differences behind both companies. Either way, neither of them could compete with her as she clearly had no interest in discussing the facts of the situation for the benefit of the viewers.

Anyway, the second example was yesterday. Now this is by no means an isolated example nor does it represent the standard of the animation presence in the media. However, when one sees the title “How cartoons ruined our lives” they are apt to sit up and take notice.

Well, you would think so, except this is a fluff piece from the Times Union of Albany, NY. It’s not so much how cartoons ruined our lives as it is about philosophically trying to find the hidden messages that cartoons appear to send out.

Example 1: Wilma Flintstone

I remain frustrated that I can’t find a substantial beaded necklace for outfits that call for bold statement jewelry. Damn you, Wilma.

Example 2: He-Man

Spent childhood thinking She-Ra was He-Man’s girlfriend. Learned in adulthood that they’re twins. Trying to decide if I just wasn’t paying close attention or if growing up in the sticks gave me a warped perspective on relationships.

Example 3: Josie & The Pussycats

I still wish I were in a girl band. Also, taught me to dress inappropriately. What, you never wear a tail?

So, as you can see, it’s not a particularly interesting or funny piece, yet it was still published on the Times Union website. I’m not ragging on the author, God knows the papers have it tough these days, but why would you even allow something like this to be published?

It’s just somewhat disappointing to see animated TV shows and films treated with such disdain compared to live-action films, which are almost revered by the media as the bastion of American culture.

It partly goes back to the whole “cartoons is for kids” attitude but even the success of The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc. have done little to improve the impression of animation among middle America.

Thankfully, the proliferation of the internet means that you can read about animation all you want from the people who are actually involved in the industry as well as fans, voice-actors and one civil engineer.