“Great! …Cartoons”

Regina Cano

Cuban kids. Photo: Caridad

Carlos commented to some friends how he was horrified when they showed the cartoon “Dora the Explorer” on Cuban TV.  His assertion is that it’s purely a computerized game, a comic-strip that attempts to interact with kids on the other side of the screen.

I already had my “cons” against another didactic animation, and specifically this one.  In it the main character asks children to indicate —from their living rooms— how to prevent Zorro from taking the belongings of the other characters; or children are asked to indicate how to get to a mountain or a forest, or cross a bridge, when in fact these kids —who don’t determine the story— could wind up being filled with anxieties and frustration.

Dora insists on teaching isolated words in English, which would work if this language had been introduced in primary schools, as had been planned, but —they say— didn’t occur.  Children incorrectly learn words in an unknown language, which is a poor precedent for future learning.

Children’s television programs cause controversial reactions among adults, who are no longer the target audience but who want better productions or selections of these shows for the younger generation that now enjoys them.  The grownups know that these youngsters will one day make the decisions for this society plagued with errors.

Such an increase in educational cartoons —by one specific channel— could be something appropriate.  However the subtext is worrisome; and I should clarify that I don’t have all the cards, nor studies to assess the impact of the expansion of this programming, but there are matters that are obvious, people!

Take Disney’s “Mickey Mouse Show,” for example.  Here we a have a group of friends (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto) who are different as individuals but always have a problem that they’re able to solve by coming to a collective consensus.

Led by Mickey, this group always forges ahead, drawing on the lessons of the past decades about the interaction of individuals’ in society.  This is something even idyllic, something we would all like to achieve.

This cartoon clearly establishes that the social being cannot detach themself from the whole chain that generates profit, because the characters always look for help in a Magic Ball, which appears when one asks it to and contains solutions in the form of marketed industrial products (leaf blowing machines, etc..) the great majority of the time.

This verifies the impossibility of people solving their problems in an alternative way: through their own growth, or the search for and creation of tools, or the collective use of logic and reason.

I don’t doubt that this is seen benevolently within the society in which it was created; because of all evils, the lesser is always chosen.

There also exist other foreign cartoons, which are the best ones on Cuban TV.  These include “Lilo and Stich,” “Sid the Boy Scientist,” “Charlie and Lola.” “The Bear in the Big Blue House,” “Pocoyo,” “Chowder,” “Sunny Patch”… Likewise, there are others that are similar to “Dora” and “Mickey, such as “The Hints of Blue” and “The Fish Astronaut,” in addition to others with different aims.

All of them create diversity and amusement for different ages, but we should be careful —in comparison with the current measuring stick— as soon as they become noxious or inappropriate, because values are already being formed at those early ages.

Things are not as simple as Mickey says in the happy end of “The Mouseketeer March”:  “Greeeat!… Greeeat!

It’s great that everything is now great… Great that everything was resolved.


Regina Cano

Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn't have a better picture.