- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Cartoon culture

“In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Hanna-Barbera was a mark of quality for children’s animation. They consistently produced enjoyable and inspired cartoons that continue to entertain us even as adults. Hanna-Barbera made no attempt to provide an obvious and heavy-handed ‘educational’ message.

“Their characters and scenarios were eye-catching, colorful and memorable. And their shows were scored with catchy songs that, once heard, could never be forgotten. Their theme songs for ‘The Flintstones,’ ‘The Jetsons’ and ‘Scooby Doo’ … were nifty television classics.

“Joseph Barbera, the cartoonist and storyboard artist responsible for those classics, died [in December] at age 95. It brought to an end a remarkable career spanning nearly seven decades. … By 1937, he was hired by MGM’s animation studio, where he teamed up with William Hanna to create short cartoons that screened before the main feature film. …

“Their countless ‘Tom and Jerry’ shorts would bring them 14 Academy Award nominations and 7 actual wins. With its themes of cunning decisiveness and competitive behavior, Tom and Jerry belied the political correctness of modern cartoons, which now espouse generic messages of good will and peaceful behavior. It probably reflected the survival instincts learned by its scrappy creators during the Depression, and influenced generations of kids to defend and prepare themselves from any and all adversity.”

— Shaun K. Chang, writing on “Joseph Barbera: An Appreciation,” Dec. 21 in the American at www.american.com

Godless elite

“For the new atheists, believing in God is a form of stupidity, which sets off their own intelligence. … They write as if great minds had never before wrestled with the big questions of creation, moral law and the contending versions of revealed truth. They argue as if these questions are easily answered by their own blunt materialism. Most of all, they assume that no intelligent, reflective person could ever defend religion rather than dismiss it. …

“The faith that the new atheists describe is a simple-minded parody. It is impossible to see within it what might have preoccupied great artists and thinkers like Homer, Milton, Michelangelo, Newton and Spinoza — let alone Aquinas, Dr. Johnson, Kierkegaard, Goya, Cardinal Newman, Reinhold Niebuhr or, for that matter, Albert Einstein. …

“They seem instead to be preaching to people exactly like themselves — a remarkably incurious elite.”

— Sam Schulman, writing on “Without God, Gall Is Permitted,” Friday in the Wall Street Journal

‘Pitiful’ revenge

“It’s a pinch-myself day when the lead news story is about recriminations and regrets that Saddam Hussein, a man who incarnates evil, was not treated more decently at his belated hanging. And the editorial hand-wringing is that this was revenge not justice. As though being nice to someone who put human beings in plastic shredders — head first — and boiled even his relatives in oil, would make us more civilized rather than less.

“Revenge is justice. Saddam should have been drawn and quartered. The best thing about his execution was the presence of Shi’a Muslims taunting him with the memory of one of his Shi’a victims. The shameless left and shameless liberals who would have kept this monster in power and are now shedding tears over the fact that he was killed should have the decency to let the Iraqis have their moment of revenge, pitiful as it is, compared to the crimes this monster committed.”

— David Horowitz, writing on “Revenge Is Justice,” Jan. 3 in FrontPage at www.frontpagemag.com

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