I wish we didn’t.
I wouldn’t raise the issue except that the conservative blogs and commentators seem to be horrified by this most minor of pop culture developments—the sexual orientation of a five-decades-old Hanna-Barbara cartoon character?–and the usual progressive suspects are awash with joy. (Well, I guess you have to take your victories where you find them, however minuscule.)
The ethics issues are encompassed in the routine question, “What’s going on here?”
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Everyone knows that Scooby Doo cartoons invariably end with the captured miscreant, who typically was pretending to be a ghost, a ghoul, or some kind of monster to frighten people away from a gold mine/ buried treasure/ crime scene or something else, being unmasked and stating ruefully, “I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!” Needless to say, this is neither a defense nor a mitigation. Yet you will hear or read variations on The Scooby Doo Deflection from non-animated characters, like pundits, politicians and others, all too frequently. Their versions typically take the form of protests that since Conduct X by a party or party was unfair or wrong, dishonest or unethical Conduct Y on the part of someone else—often the protesters— shouldn’t count, should be considered less wrong, or should be punished more leniently.
The argument is silly in Scooby Doo cartoons, and is even more ridiculous in real life. Continue reading →