Ethics Quiz: The Looney Tunes Cartoon Disclaimer

Warner Brothers Warning

Above is the disclaimer shown at the beginning of each DVD in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4, Volume 5, and Volume 6 sets, as well as the Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn Looney Tunes Super Stars sets and the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection:

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is the warning that introduces the Warner Brothers classic cartoon videos fair and responsible?

My answer?

“No, it’s obnoxious, insulting, unfair, superfluous, pandering, cowardly, misleading and irresponsible.”

This is a trigger warning, correct?  As such, it is unfair to the writers, artists and performers who made the cartoons, and ensure that viewers will be looking at them immediately from a political perspective rather that as they were designed to be seen, as cartoons. Moreover, whoever the political correctness officer who wrote this is, his or her assessment of what is “wrong” should not be definitive or even relevant. I don’t believe humor deriving from stereotypes is always or necessarily wrong. I think anyone who thinks that a Mexican mouse who is the hero of his cartoons and named Speedy Gonzalez is offensive or racist needs treatment at the National Institute for the Treatment of the Hopelessly Humorless. If you can’t watch the Looney Tunes classics without thinking that Daffy, Elmer, Porky and Sylvester mock speech impediments and that Granny (Tweety’s owner) is disrespectful to seniors and that Foghorn Leghorn stereotypes Southerners, just don’t watch them and let the rest of us laugh.

Why are just cartoons denigrated by this kind arrogant and condescending introduction? Why not “Gone With The Wind,” “Casablanca,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, ” and “Airplane!” (African-American sterotypes!), “McClintock!” and “The Quiet Man” (Spousal abuse!), “The Merchant of Venice” and “Oliver Twist” (Jewish stereotypes!), “Top Hat” and “Holiday Inn” (Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby in blackface!), and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (Sex trafficking!)? Why not “Huckleberry Finn”?

Oh, just wait a while: they political correctness gang will get around to putting the cultural straitjacket on these too.

Thanks but no thanks, Warner Brothers (actually it’s Warner Home Video). I think I can figure out that cartoons more than a half century old are “of their time” (what isn’t of its time?) and don’t need to be told what I can laugh at and what should offend me as an obeisant little progressive social justice warrior.

Still, I see all my Facebook friends are praising this trigger warning to the skies as a model of corporate responsibility, so maybe I’m missing something—hence the quiz.

I doubt it, though.


Pointer: Becky

63 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: The Looney Tunes Cartoon Disclaimer

  1. I’m so baffled as to why you think this is a bad thing. This is a beautifully written message that touches on the very real, very unacceptable racism of the time. There will be parents out there that either don’t know/don’t remember such things being present in those cartoons, so a disclaimer like this is very informative.

      • I feel you’re reaching far too much with something as simplistic as cartoons. I don’t think you need to be this overly critical about it to the point where it becomes cynical. The plain truth is that there are words and images that are meant to/will shock and offend certain groups and cultures. Even if that was not the intention in these cartoons, they will come off as racist and bigoted. So, a simple and well-worded 15-second disclaimer such as this is quite welcoming and frankly, needed. People nowadays need to learn to be more tolerant towards others. Images of racial stereotypes are not going to help that cause.

  2. Using this disclaimer isn’t a comment on WB, but one on the modern state of young people in society. Previous generations didn’t need that warning. What they stated was inherently understood. But when you have a group in society that has basically been brainwashed by the education system to view everything through the glasses of intolerance and social elitism (they’re better than you because they feel _____________ (fill in the blank), while calling it “social justice”, then these kind of disclaimers will become even more widespread.

    This article took aim at a symptom, not the root cause.

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