Saturday, March 3, 2012

On Cartoons, Youth, & Violence Against Children

By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

A while back I was asked by one of my friends to post as my Facebook profile picture a photo of my favorite childhood cartoon character. My first inclination was to pass.

I usually don't go in for this type of thing. For instance, when I was asked to post my doppelganger, or somebody famous I looked like, I didn't see the need to do that. First of all, I have an identity problem as it is. I look nothing like I did in High School. I'm trying to get in touch with some old friends and posting a picture of somebody else or a cartoon character that doesn't even look like me is not going to help me do that.

Secondly, I don't look like anybody famous or a cartoon character. Somebody told me recently I looked a bit like Jack Nicholson. I don't think that's true and I'm not sure if I would even want to look like Jack. Unless of course it would help me score front row Laker tickets.

But on this cartoon picture posting thing, it was explained to me that the reason for this was that it was part of a campaign to stop violence against children. By doing this we would be reminded that we were once children too and children need to be protected. So I thought that sounded like a good idea...I tried it.

What happened after that was most interesting to me. Not only was I filled with smiles and joy as one by one my friends started posting their favorite cartoons from their childhood, but it really worked...I was reminded of the fun and innocence of childhood. Some of my friends started talking about our favorite childhood toys. My friend Joel and I were reminiscing about playing with our Hotwheels and Major Matt Masons. My friend Jim and I took a Saturday afternoon to fly a radio control we used to do when we were kids.

This also reminded me of one time when I was 13 years old and found myself in the local JC Pennys looking at the latest Hotwheels. A fellow Junior High School classmate of mine spotted me ogling the toys. He asked, "Aren't you a little old to be doing that?" I was secretly crushed. I thought my childhood was over. I didn't want it to be over. Well, I'm now in my early 50's and I still look at the new Hotwheels as they come out. I used to say when I was in my 20's and 30's that I was looking for my son...but I can't use that excuse anymore.

The point is that we should all probably try to retain a bit of our childhood with out being immature about it. It's what keeps us young.

Then I got to thinking about what does the Cartoon Characters that we picked mean? I like to think it represents an ideal that we treasure. I picked Speed Racer. I would like to think that I am a bit like Speed Racer in that I use my skill set in accomplishing good things much like Speed used his talent to race cars to accomplish good and combat evil.

The most important thing I thought about in this exercise is the evil associated with violence toward children. No child on this planet deserves to be subjected to violence in any form whether it be verbal or physical. And if it helps even one person to stop abusing a child, I guess posting a picture of our favorite cartoon character is not such a hard thing to do.

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