In today’s depressing news, Turner Broadcasting is tinkering with its old toons again, after a complaint about an appearance of smoking in a Tom and Jerry cartoon. As far as we can tell — and we really hope we’re right — the ban applies only in the UK:
“We are going through the entire catalog,” Yinka Akindele, spokeswoman for Turner in Europe said on Monday.
“This is a voluntary step we’ve taken in light of the changing times,” she said, adding that the painstaking review had been prompted by the Ofcom complaint.
[snip]“The licensee has … proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorized or where it might encourage imitation,” Ofcom said, adding that “Texas Tom” was one such example.
Akindele said cartoons would only be modified “where smoking could be deemed to be cool or glamorized,” and that scenes where a villain was featured with a cigarette or cigar would not necessarily be cut.
As usual, Mark Evanier has some words of wisdom:
Let me type that again and boldface two words: This, they say, is in response to one complaint about scenes in two cartoons.
But of course, that can’t be true. You don’t start chopping up your old cartoons in response to one complaint about two scenes. You do it because someone high in the company says to someone else high in the company, “You know, one of these days, we may have a problem with this.” For some reason, when they make these decisions, they like to make it sound like they had no choice in the matter; that they gave in to public pressure, even when that pressure was close to non-existent. It’s an excuse to take an action that is probably more economic than idealistic…and to make it sound like an act of social responsibility.