austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

You'll be shown the way and shown the time

My sister's barn has cats. Lots of cats. Cats in an abundance which is expected to decrease as one of them -- the mother of the younger cat around here -- has finally been not-pregnant long enough to get spayed, but still, lots of cats. They start running short on good names partly because the grown-ups will give up and let four-year-old human cubs who hang around give names to the cats and therefore you get names based on what parts of their body have what color or pattern. I'm getting to my point.

One new cat was named for a character from the Our Gang comedy shorts. This reference was understood, my sister noticed, by all of the people around the barn who were at least 27 years of age; it was completely opaque to everyone younger than that. My father had trouble understanding that; after all, who doesn't grow up watching the Our Gang comedies? So it was necessary to break to him the moderately sad fact that nobody has shown Our Gang or Little Rascals as you like regularly on TV since 1986.

My father couldn't understand why that would be, and immediately accused ``political correctness'', which shows how he's getting cranky as he ages because he's smarter than that. Political correctness is the excuse unfunny people drag out to explain why their lame material doesn't get the laughs they feel entitled to. Our Gang not airing is due less to ``political correctness'' and more to the Our Gang shorts being filmed before they worked the bugs out of talkies and that nowadays we have cheap programming which is not in blurry, scratchy 82nd generation 16-millimeter film with audio that can be understood roughly seven words out of eight in the stretches when background music isn't playing. Also about forty companies own rights to the shorts, so they'll never get done infighting to actually show them either.

Still, it's sad to break it to him, and I don't know if I'll tell him that Woody Woodpecker hasn't been seen, except for a very short stint on the Cartoon Network around 1999, since the time of the Seoul Olympics. I don't know if there'll ever be away to explain what's happened to Cartoon Network to him either.

Trivia: In 1925 Clara Bow appeared in fifteen films. Source: Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild, David Stenn.

Currently Reading: Empire of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World, Jill Jonnes.


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