Speedy Gonzales Censored?
March 25, 2002 9:01 PM   Subscribe

Speedy Gonzales Censored? Cartoon Network officials have banished Speedy Gonzales from their day and prime time lineups for fear of offending Mexican Americans, but fans of the Mexican mouse hero are fighting back.
posted by Iberaband (21 comments total)
Gah. What a waste of modern animation history. Might as well ban all Hanna-Barbera cartoons so as not to offend people who only move limited portions of their bodies. Fie on you, Cartoon Network!
posted by Samizdata at 9:14 PM on March 25, 2002

Um, the reason to ban Hanna-Barbera toons is because they are generally crap(Josie and the Pussycats), but that's neither here nor there (Jabberjaw). But I firmly agree that this is silly. I've gotten used to being hosed by cartoon network with their recurrently odd scheduling and moving of serials such that they can't be followed. A missing Mexican is hardly any worse.
posted by shagoth at 9:17 PM on March 25, 2002

I like that this is from Hispanic Online. Surely, if Mexican-Americans did find Speedy offensive, they would have been more sensitive to their readers?

As a Mexican-American, with many M-A friends and a sterotypically large family, I can tell you that we love Speedy Gonzalez! The Mexican stereotypes he pokes fun at are the same ones we poke fun at. It's all done with a light touch and in good taste.
posted by vacapinta at 9:18 PM on March 25, 2002

While I am sensitive to stereotyping issues, I'm not sure what stereotypes are supposedly embodied in Speedy. (Mexicans are fast? Mexicans speak with accents? Mexicans wear hats? Mexicans hate loco gatos and ducks and love cheese?) There is a difference between a stereotype and a cultural characterisation, after all. Though, in thinking of the cartoons, maybe Speedy himself isn't the problem, it's his omnipresent friends/cousins with the (cerveza?) slurred speech who seem to sit in the sun all day sleeping under their sombreros. Hmm.
posted by Dreama at 9:28 PM on March 25, 2002

  • Last year, when the Cartoon Network acquired the rights to Bugs Bunny cartoons, it was going to run a marathon of every single one, but they didn't.
  • Toonzone runs a pretty good site detailing scenes that are cut and trimmed out of old cartoons when broadcast on TV.
  • Goopy Geer runs an FTP site where you can download a bunch of old censored cartoons, but you have to email him and ask for the address.
Maybe Pepe le Pew should be banned next, since the French must not appreciate being caricatured as stinky love-fiends.
posted by panopticon at 10:48 PM on March 25, 2002

We don't need no steenking love-fiends.
posted by pracowity at 1:20 AM on March 26, 2002

A large proportion of the early Looney Tunes stuff is riddled with 'hilarious' racial stereotypes. You have jungle natives with bones through their noses stuffing people into cooking pots, crazy 'injuns' hurling tomohawks and doing rain dances, bowler-hatted Englishmen, etc, etc. I think even as a kid you realise cartoons aren't an accurate portrayal of real life.
Although, having said that, I have be training up my cat to see if he'll evolve in a Persian... it's just damn hard fitting him in that tiny pokeball, y'know?
posted by RokkitNite at 4:33 AM on March 26, 2002

Don't forget the WWII era Bugs, where he cruises around shooting at "japs." Am I wrong to think that at least once he called them "slanties?"
posted by adampsyche at 5:39 AM on March 26, 2002

Coming soon to a store near you: $80 DVD box sets of Speedy Gonzalez cartoons.

This does seem pretty stupid. Didn't Speedy ALWAYS outsmart his gringo costar? I suppose his constant cheese swiping made him a bad role model...but he's A MOUSE!!! What's he supposed to do, get a job as a busboy at an IHOP?

I don't believe kids take the images in these cartoons seriously. Characters get blown up, dropped from airplanes, anvils fall on their heads, and they reappear in the next scene without major injury. Even my 4 1/2 year old knows that this is not like real life.

However, my wife still won't let him watch The 3 Stooges, cherished icons of my own childhood. It breaks my heart...
posted by groundhog at 6:28 AM on March 26, 2002

Don't forget the WWII era Bugs, where he cruises around shooting at "japs." Am I wrong to think that at least once he called them "slanties?"
You're probably thinking of "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips", which was a full-on war propaganda cartoon (akin to Disney's "Der Fuehrer's Face") and has never been shown on TV to my knowledge.
Probably the worst thing about the Speedy cartoons is that most of the other Mexican mice are portrayed as slow, helpless, and lazy--Speedy himself always wins, ya, but the supporting characters are not so great.
posted by darukaru at 7:29 AM on March 26, 2002

I didn't think much about Speedy Gonzales when I was younger, but as I got older, I realized just how bad they could be at times.

I mean, he's the good guy, but when it comes down to it, he's still making a dash across the border and stealing the government cheese so that everyone can fiesta and siesta.

Maybe they need a Warner Brothers character named Whitey, who can't dance, acts like he has the right to buy everything, exploits all the other characters, and invariably wins in the end.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:12 AM on March 26, 2002

I am so tired of all this PC crap! Don't get me wrong; I've been on the receiving end of racism and prejudice many a time and it's no fun, but these are cartoons, people, not Aryan Nations members. No one's calling anyone names, no one is trying to hurt anyone else (not literally; but some cartoon characters may be hit with a mallet). It's just good fun.

I hate how every little tiny detail of anything/everything is offensive and must be stopped. From this, to not letting kids read "Tom Sawyer", to video games, to I don't know what else... it's getting out of hand.
posted by crankydoodle at 9:15 AM on March 26, 2002

They did away with the Frito Bandito, too, but that hasn't made me forget the song. ("Ai, yai, yai-yai..."). I have a feeling Speedy will similarly persevere in memory ("EEP-a! EEP-a! Andalez, andalez, pronto!")
posted by yhbc at 9:46 AM on March 26, 2002

If it's good to ban Speedy, then please, please, *PLEASE* ban all the terrible male role models that television currently shows.

Seriously, I'm hard-pressed to name a single male character on kid-viewed television that depicts men in a positive light.

Given that about half of all kids are being brought up in single-*mom* homes, in elementary schools with almost exclusively female primary-grade teachers, how on *earth* are these kids going to develop a healthy attitude toward men?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:05 AM on March 26, 2002

If we're gonna ban Speedy Gonzalez, then we must also ban Yosemite Sam for his vicious lampooning of David Crosby. I demand justice!
posted by jonmc at 10:27 AM on March 26, 2002

I have to say that article was interesting and thoughtful. If you didn't read it, you should.

I don't object to the idea that running these in the regular line-up with other cartoons might be problematic. What I do object to is the idea that they then cannot be available in any form. The 'pocket veto' is one of the more troubling problems of modern intellectual property law -- for instance, far too many books are locked up in copyright law for years to come, but are uneconomic to publish in hardcover. The result is complete unavailability.
posted by dhartung at 2:32 PM on March 26, 2002

dhurtung, that sounds interesting about the books. Anything online about this? Or do you have examples? Thanks.
posted by cell divide at 2:43 PM on March 26, 2002

Gee, next thing you know it will be hard to catch episodes of Fat Albert. Oh, wait.
posted by gluechunk at 3:05 PM on March 26, 2002

Here is what I find so wierd: The idea of using censorship for the 'public good' would have seemed to fit in more with the Ultra conservative nut jobs like Ashcroft/Buchannon, but this decision has been made by Ted Turner, a very liberal billionaire. Ever seen young children hypnotized and subdued by 'Blues Clues'? There is something evil in that.
posted by Mack Twain at 9:44 AM on March 27, 2002

The PC police reality check, from Fox News:
Speedy boosters shouldn't expect to see their furry hero anytime soon, at least in the United States, [Cartoon Network spokeswoman Laurie] Goldberg said. But there is a place where Speedy can still be found zipping across TV screens — and, presumably, where the crude stereotypes he embodies don't touch a cultural nerve.

That place: The Cartoon Network Latin America, where, ironically enough, Speedy Gonzales is "hugely popular," Goldberg said.
posted by aaron at 2:50 PM on March 27, 2002

Don't forget the WWII era Bugs, where he cruises around shooting at "japs." Am I wrong to think that at least once he called them "slanties?"

I remember that one from about 13 yrs. ago. He does refer to them as "Japs" and "Slant eyes". I had heard that one was pulled a few years after I saw it.
posted by RunsWithBandageScissors at 7:04 AM on May 25, 2002

« Older A gumby post   |   Stick with WinAmp, not RealOne or WMP... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments