Dennis The Softy?
August 25, 2009 1:39 PM   Subscribe

A new BBC version of Dennis the Menace tones down the iconic British comics character. Or does it? It's another "political correctness gone mad" myth embellished by the media says cartoonist Lew Stringer.
posted by Artw (29 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
(No, not the American Dennis The Menace)
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Stringer will be happy to see the episodes where Dennis goes happy-slapping and the one where he glasses the cunt who made him spill some lager.
posted by GuyZero at 1:42 PM on August 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: another "political correctness gone mad" myth embellished by the media
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:43 PM on August 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Hey everyone! I just found out something! Look it this, the movie P.C.U, a comedy loosely about overbearing Political Correctness on college campuses, came out in 1994! That's 15 years ago! Really makes you think, doesn't it?
posted by The Whelk at 2:00 PM on August 25, 2009


I hate political correctness gone mad!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:08 PM on August 25, 2009


Can't resist an opportunity to post Stewart Lee on Political Correctness.

He correctly nails the "political correctness gone mad" meme as the right wing myth that it is.
posted by ericthegardener at 2:12 PM on August 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


I hate strongly dislike political correctness gone mad mentally handicapped!
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:13 PM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's better than political correctness gone Cracked, I'll tell you what.
posted by everichon at 2:14 PM on August 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have a soft spot for that movie.
posted by dammitjim at 2:15 PM on August 25, 2009


The voice is about 3 octaves higher than the voice that I imagined in my head for Dennis when I read the Beano, also Walter doesn't sound like enough of a softy.
posted by NiteMayr at 2:19 PM on August 25, 2009


I think the Beeb is only altering the Dennis episodes penned by J.G. Ballard. Which, schyeah.
posted by everichon at 2:24 PM on August 25, 2009


Dennis the Menace...by Hank Ketcham...debuted on March 12, 1951
...
Coincidentally, another cartoon strip titled Dennis the Menace was published in the British comic The Beano on March 15...1951.


That's some coincidence. I guess it was just time for there to be Dennises.
posted by anazgnos at 2:30 PM on August 25, 2009


that Stewert Lee bit on PC is great!
posted by kuatto at 2:38 PM on August 25, 2009


That's 15 years ago! Really makes you think, doesn't it?

It makes me think how much simpler the internets was 15 years ago .....
posted by blucevalo at 2:38 PM on August 25, 2009


Hah, one of the highlights of my childhood was getting the Christmas annuals every year.
That and wasting hundreds of pence buying every comic I could get on our trips back to England.

Glad to see they are still around though I was always more of a Dandy kid.
posted by madajb at 2:40 PM on August 25, 2009


D.I.N.G !
posted by the cuban at 2:43 PM on August 25, 2009


Well, disappointment with the general tameness of the American TV version of Dennis the Menace led Matt Groening to create Bart Simpson, so who knows what we'll get out of this?
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:52 PM on August 25, 2009


One of the many things I miss about my youth in Germany was occasionally stumbling across a Beano on the economy and reading Dennis and Gnasher. Never stopped being funny, somehow. Makes me want a Kinder Egg and a pack of cola flavored cigarettes.
posted by mikoroshi at 2:59 PM on August 25, 2009


Once, when I was a kid, I bought a hardbound collection of Beano comics that I'd found at a yard sale. Being American, I had no idea what Beano was—only that they were comics and that there were LOTS of them.

I remember being very confused by Dennis the Menace, who despite being a bratty kid who carried a slingshot and terrorized the neighborhood, looked nothing like the Dennis the Menace I saw every Sunday in the funny pages. I was further confused when strange words began popping up in the dialogue balloons—words like "petrol" and "pressie" and "dustbin". And then there were the Bash Street Kids, a motley assortment of frankly retarded-looking kids always doing battle with their teacher, himself a perfect caricature of puffed-up administrative sadism, complete with drubbing stick and cap and gown.

I think it was years before I realized the comics had come from the UK, and not some fucked-up alternate dimension.

But I sure did love that Beano book!
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:02 PM on August 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


And then there were the Bash Street Kids
I used to be involved in some anti-nuclear actions with the son of Leo Baxendale who created the Bash Street kids - he was a bit of an anarchist peacenik himself it seems.
the UK, and not some fucked-up alternate dimension
Not seeing the dichotomy here? :p
posted by Abiezer at 4:04 PM on August 25, 2009


> Dennis the Menace...by Hank Ketcham...debuted on March 12, 1951
...
Coincidentally, another cartoon strip titled Dennis the Menace was published in the British comic The Beano on March 15...1951.

That's some coincidence.


You missed the kicker:

Because each Beano issue, dated Saturday, went on sale the previous Monday, the two actually debuted on the very same day!

*cue Twilight Zone theme*
posted by languagehat at 5:14 PM on August 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


dammitjim: I have a soft spot for that movie.

In your heart or in your head?
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:18 PM on August 25, 2009


I keed! I keed!
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:55 PM on August 25, 2009


Yeah, not only is it another "OMG PC!" story, but it's also a silly season one that comes around every few years:

"Comic tearaway Dennis the Menace has been turned into Walter the Softy by politically correct BBC bosses", roared the Sun in a fit of silly-season rage last week. "Dennis is no longer slippered by his dad as a punishment".

"The Beano character has been 're-imagined' for a new politically correct series," thundered the equally outraged Mail.

This Dennis the Menace was presumably unrelated to the Dennis the Menace who the Daily Mail reported in July 2008 had "swapped corporal punishment for political correctness", or the one who the Sun noted in October 2007 was "returning to TV after a decade - with a politically correct image". Or even the one who appeared in what the Sun claimed was "The Beano: New and Seriously Politically Correct" in July 2003. Or even the 58 year old character who has not received a slippering from his father since the Beano removed corporal punishment from its pages in, er, the early 1980s.


--Private Eye [via]
posted by Hartster at 1:16 AM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can't resist an opportunity to post Stewart Lee on Political Correctness . He correctly nails the "political correctness gone mad" meme as the right wing myth that it is.

Thanks for that -- I was in college right bang in the middle of the ACTUAL Politically-Correct movement, and at a liberal urban liberal-arts college to boot. I had a column in the school paper, and once spent a good ten minutes fretting with my editor over the close of a column about the competition for free washers in each dorm's laundromat: "Of course, the final solution to the laundry problem is just to take it home and get your mom to do it." We got paranoid that the fact that I used the phrase "final solution" would lead to accusations that I was promoting Nazi propaganda. This is largely because other entire wars were fought over whether the use of the word "niggardly" or the expressions "a nip in the air" or "a chink in one's armor" were racist.

THAT was Political Correctness gone mad. THIS is not.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:40 AM on August 26, 2009


Don't miss the bit where Stuart Lee is interviewing Ang Lee about the Hulk movie and ends up making him late for his dentist's appointment.
posted by longbaugh at 7:06 AM on August 26, 2009


Hey everyone! I just found out something! Look it this, the movie P.C.U, a comedy loosely about overbearing Political Correctness on college campuses, came out in 1994! That's 15 years ago! Really makes you think, doesn't it?

I thought it started amongst linguists in the late '80s? I would have thought the problem in EC's paragraph would have been 'your mom'.

Dennis hasn't been slippered by his dad for years. I started reading the Beano in 1986, and only just remember it.
posted by mippy at 8:54 AM on August 26, 2009


I would have thought the problem in EC's paragraph would have been 'your mom'.

Most people do. The whole idea behind "Politically Correct" speech, though, was that it was strictly about speech, and word choice, than it was about concepts. The argument was that the very words we chose reinforced attitudes -- for example, calling someone "disabled" was a negative term that implied that person was "lesser-than", because the "dis" implied that what we perceived as "ability" was a universal constant. Instead, the argument went, we should refer to them as "differently abled" -- sure, Lucy may not have use of her eyesight, but she is better at her other senses than average, so all things being equal she is equal to someone who HAS sight because the strength of her other senses make up for it, so calling her DISabled is inaccurate.

Or a more extreme example -- we should not use the phrase "a chink in one's armor" because "chink" used to be a negative term for Chinese-American. Continuing to use that word "chink" in any context reinforces the use of that slang term.

It was allllllll about words, which was my biggest objection -- "guys, I agree I wouldn't like it if someone said to me, 'eh, you Micks are always drunk' -- but I can tell you I wouldn't like it any better if they said, 'eh, you Irish-Americans are always drunk'."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:02 AM on August 26, 2009


They prefer "Leprechauns".
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on August 26, 2009


« Older The Letter Repository...  |  You've committed your life to ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments