Do we really want cartoons telling our kids they can do anything?
A new article on The Atlantic website suggests the two recent animated movies “Turbo” and “Planes” — about a snail that becomes a race car driver and blue-collar cropduster who yearns to enter an around-the-world race, respectively — could very well be sending children some dangerous messages.
“In addition to disparaging routine labor, these films discount the hard work that enables individuals to reach the top of their professions,” freelance journalist Luke Epplin wrote. “Turbo (the snail) and Dusty (the cropduster) don't need to hone their craft for years in minor-league circuits like their racing peers presumably did. It's enough for them simply to show up with no experience at the world's most competitive races, dig deep within themselves, and out-believe their opponents. They are, in many ways, the perfect role models for a generation weaned on instant gratification.”
As a sort of juxtaposition against the pure fantasy of “Turbo” and “Planes,” Epplin reminded readers of the sobering-but-practical messages sown into 1969’s “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” — in which the title character “learns that failure, no matter how painful, is not permanent, and that the best means of withstanding it is simply to show up the next day to school with the fortitude to try again. Losing also forces Charlie Brown to come to terms with his own limitations. He can't rely on a miraculous victory to rescue him from his tormented childhood. He followed his dream, it didn't pan out, and he ends up more or less where he started, only a little more experienced and presumably with a little more respect from his peers.”
In 2011, the Deseret News reported about the timeless wisdom of Charles Schulz — the creative mind behind the “Peanuts” comic strip and its protagonist Charlie Brown — whose “singular blend of foresight and creativity is the driving force for a Peanuts franchise of animated holiday specials and comic strips that still resonates across generations of Americans (because) Schulz was able to tap into the cultural zeitgeist of families craving a certain kind of wholesome entertainment — one which appealed not only to children but adults too.”