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Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The euphoria that is radiated from children running downstairs to watch Saturday morning cartoons is quite enjoyable to watch. The realm the children are engulfed in creates a positive space where they aren't reminded about the math test on Monday or the leaves they have to rake. These series of 20 minute segments, patched with 10 minutes of advertisement, is what gets them through the week.  Cartoons have always been an obvious source of relief. In fact, the term cartoon dates back to the middles ages when it was used to describe drawings on tapestries and stained glass1. Whether it was in the form of newsprint or even through illegal, pirated files, cartoons have always kept us engaged through its narratives and exaggerations of characters. We constantly see ourselves in these characters such as our sluggish qualities in Homer Simpson’s role as a middle class father or even our juvenile traits in Dennis, from his role as a troublemaker in Dennis the Menace. Despite it depicting an imaginary matrix, cartoons often reflect social, political and everyday issues we face today. That is why we can draw similarities from both cartoons and real life which then creates a relationship between the viewer and the 2D image. By understanding the messages conveyed through cartoons, we ourselves learn to cope with our day to day problems.
 Apart from the morals we learn from cartoons, there’s another aspect that makes cartoons distinguishable from other forms of entertainment.  This aspect is the sole reason why children find it immensely attractive. The fact that cartoons are based on limitless imagination, gives cartoons the edge. Theoretically, anything a human can think of, a cartoon can portray that image. It isn't bound by any conventions and it’s only limited by a human’s capacity to think. You can create a world where gravity doesn’t exist, talking toasters rule the world, and even bring back the dead and dress them up in leotards. Not the mention, the fact that cartoons effectively manipulate music, time, emotions, and elements and principles of design, shows that it has complete control of the matrix it creates. This sparks kids to imagine and create without any restrictions. By having this mentality of always creating without any boundaries, children begin to create a world where they seem is fit for them. We can see this when we watch children play. They either dress up as princesses or superheroes and they get in the character they want to see themselves in. Cartoons do nothing but encourage and capture this notion of bending reality.
Many say as we grow up we begin to lose our childlike innocence. We start to rule out the impossible and become a slave to reality. That kind of attitude halts potential and creates a bleak future of us. Perhaps if we all start to think of cartoons as a way to break reality instead of childish, lame scribbles, we can achieve want we desire in life. To relive your childlike innocence and create a world you want to live in, we would be accomplishing man’s greatest feat of being the creator.

1 Oxford English Dictionary: "cartoon, n.". OED Online. September 2012. Oxford University Press. http://oed.com/view/Entry/28312?rskey=rTD2gB&result=1&isAdvanced=false (accessed November 15, 2012).

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