Why, though admittedly somewhat violent, were these cartoons harmless? The same way playing cowboys and Indians with toy guns was harmless. It wasn’t real. Fiction through and through. And the goal was to make the viewer laugh.Actual injuries bleeding real blood caused real pain and meant a trip to the emergency room. Shouting “Bang Bang” at your friend and him falling to the ground to play dead wasn’t a reflection of reality. It was play.
Then came video games. Pac Man and Space Invaders were all right-again, fiction. But advances in animation caused the games to become more life-like. And then there was “Beavus and Butthead” and “The Simpsons.” Fiction morphed reality through these types of programs.The laughs became spiteful. The goal became the "high score." Videos where one fires a gun and kills another person, who often falls in a full color pool of blood, are now considered “games.”
What is the difference from the kid with a pop gun shooting at his friend who falls down and the video game where a futuristic vigilante fires an AK-47 and mows down a column of armed forces? It isn’t “play.”It is called “playing a video game” but it is not “play.” The kid’s friend hops up and they
run inside to get an afternoon snack. The formerly living beings in the video game do not get back up. They are dead and bleeding on the ground. This sort of thing desensitizes us to the realities of true injury and actual, tragic death. And I just heard of a cartoon about blob characters which capture humans to grind up and put in their soup. Unbelievable.
One might argue the people in the video games are not real. Tell that to the kid who readily fires a gun in a computer game then does so in real life and is not concerned with the blood from the wound. That blood doesn’t mean anything to him. Wile E. Coyote and good old Elmer Fudd always bounced right back. The people ground up for soup can’t do that. Perhaps the blobs will poop restored human beings. Kind of scary to think about it.