November 07, 2007

Emperor teaches trite lessons

I've watched a couple more episodes of The Emperor's New School. It's not improving with age. The first episode I watched may have been the best one of the season.

The humor is turning out to be more juvenile than sophisticated. The moral lessons are trite and self-evident. (Last week: Don't try to be like others; be yourself instead. This week: Don't be afraid; face your fears.) The off-putting anachronisms (slide shows, cameras, a reference to a plasma TV) continue.

This week's episode, "The Mystery of Micchu Pachu," was the first to introduce a bit of culture in the form of a legend. Unfortunately, it didn't go well. It demonstrates why The Emperor's New School should stick to fantasy and not try to introduce reality.

An instructor relates the legend of "Micchu Pachu," obviously a takeoff on Macchu Pichu. A thousand years ago, an emperor lived in this mountain city. A rival gave him a potion and turned him into an anteater. Now Micchu Pachu is abandoned and cursed.

How many ways is this wrong? Let's count:

1) The Incan empire existed for only a hundred years, not a thousand. The implication is that Indian cultures are ancient and lost in time.

2) Another transforming potion (there seems to be one in every episode). The implication is that Indian cultures involve mysticism and magic.

3) A curse, together with spooky music, shadows, bats, and cobwebs. The implication is that Indian cultures are dark, dangerous, and, well, cursed.

Together the impression is that the Incan empire was akin to Neverland, Narnia, or Oz. (The episode has some clear references to The Wizard of Oz.) A fantastical place that had (has) no connection to reality. In other words, not a place where indigenous people still exist, still struggle for human rights against colonial oppression. Nothing the children watching this show should learn or care about.

Thanks, ABC, for teaching us not to be scared and not to think of Indians as real people. Appreciate the lesson...not.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
And why not? It's only a cartoon. Did Bugs Bunny ever deal with real Native American life? If you should ask him, he would observe, "What a maroon!"
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

And "faggot," "redskin," and "nigger" are only words. I wonder why people complain when others use these words against them?

You really are ignorant of the harmful effects of stereotyping, aren't you? See "It's Just a [Fill in the Blank]" for a deconstruction of your "It's only a cartoon" argument.