Thursday, 16 September 2010

Tom and Jerry

Both my children are obsessed with Tom and Jerry at the moment.

My mum and dad have about a million more TV channels than us so Izzy caught an episode on one of the cartoon channels at their house a while ago and now requests Tom and Jerry whenever we visit. She talked about it so much that Jon bought her a Tom and Jerry DVD which her and Sam both now LOVE. I have to say I love it too. Izzy and Sam both roar with laughter when watching it and it does make me smile. The humour doesn't seem to date at all. I remember watching it a lot when I was a child in the 1970's and thinking it was really funny then.

I'm kind of aware that its slightly frowned upon now for some of the 'violence' in it and also for some of the stereotyping of the human characters e.g the black maid. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I understand people wanting to move away from this but as a child I was completely unaware of that aspect of it. Its the same with Enid Blyton books. I devoured Enid Blyton books when I was little. I was obsessed with the Famous Five and Secret Seven and the girls at St Claires and Mallory Towers. I want Izzy to read them and love them in the same way I did even though I know that some of the language and content is now considered to be sexist and racist.

My cousin was recently bought a set of Enid Blyton books for her birthday which she loved but was told by her school that she shouldn't be reading them! I must admit I was outraged when I heard and felt very protective of this part of my childhood. I realise that attitudes, values and language have (thankfully) moved on but they are of their time and were written when attitudes and values were very different. I would, of course, change any old fashioned offensive language I came across whilst reading them to my children. Actually what a great opportunity to discuss sexism and racism with children when they are older by reading the book and pointing out to them how times have changed and how society is different now.  The main thing they gave me was a love of reading and a love of books which I think is really important. So on balance I am going to continue watching Tom and Jerry and share Enid Blyton with my children and hope they love them as much as I did.

What do other people think. I'm really interested to hear your views.....


  1. Hi,

    Well done on your Farmers Market.

    We have a Tom and Jerry video, which was very popular with my children when they were smaller.

    I too read Enid Blyton as a child. I still have some of the books and was going to give them to my daughter, until I started to read one and realised how out of date they are (in particular the story about the little black doll). I have seen some Enid Blyton in the book shops and wonder if they have been re-written to bring the attitudes up to date!


  2. The only problem I have with EB now is that the books seem so twee. As for language and racism, I certainly didn't think anything of it as a child and I think as long as we don't make a fuss about it neither will our children.
    I loved all the books you mentione and will certainly be reading some of them to my little man, I would of happily read to my daughter but sadly she is no book worm.
    As for Tom and Jerry........... long way they rule, my utmost favourite cartoon ever and yes, we have dvds.
    I will keep popping back as I'm really interested to what others will have to say.

    B xxx

  3. Aw, I used to watch Tom & Jerry all the time! I caught an episode not to long ago and remember thinking to myself "how did I never realise how violent this was!?". The thing is though that I didn't notice it and I doubt any young child picks up on things like this or, like you mentioned, racism and sexism from Enid Blyton books. Disney was a huge part of my childhood and aren't those movies supposed to be riddled with racism and the like? I still have no idea which parts of the movies these are supposed to be so I obviously never picked up on it.

    Great post Louise!

  4. Hi hi

    Great post.

    I can't remember anything about Enid's books that would make me put them in a bin, both mine and my partners are on the shelves awaiting use by the next generation, and will remain.

    Tom and Jerry - all time favourite. I have to be honest, I'm 26 and this is the first time I really realised it was a black maid, I just assumed it was a different household - The black lady referred to him as Jasper and Thomas, depending on the age of the cartoon, and I can't think of a SINGLE one with both the maid and the very skinny white lady and gentleman who appeared in two or three of the cartoons. I also can't think of a single racist connotation from any episode, ever?

    As for the violence - indeed! It's just animated slap stick violence, even a child can see that's obvious! So, regular old fashioned slap stick is violent, gonna ban that? Our modern day counter-parts, Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons are far worse, and is more gory - and there're far more blatant sexual and racial terms used in modern programmes.

    I think it's a learning experience should it arise, and nothing else if it doesn't. Frankly, with Bratz turning our girls into pre-pubescent tarts, and Ben 10, Power Rangers and god knowws what else teaching our boys - and some girls - to be arrogant violent jerks with Guns - I think they can leave the classics alone.

    The kids get PLENTY of Equality guidance - I think the beauty is in folks like me, who grew up with it and didn't even realise the connotations. I see a person, not sex or colour, but no-one can change history.

    Sorry to go on, but to quote from my book of muse, "this great nation's lost it's station all thanks to discrimination - positive or negative, frankly it's all relative."

    Thanks for reading.



Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you! If you ask a question I will reply underneath your comment as soon as I can so please come back and check. Please feel free to 'pin' any of the projects I have made. I love Pinterest!!