zedz wrote:I found the How-Tos as rote as the Dad ones, though, as you say, not quite so godawful. I can hardly remember anything else by now, because those two modes completely dominate the later part of the set.
It's funny, I get the same impression, not quite godawful, from most of the abstract animation I've seen. some of it is interesting from a technical standpoint, but most of it, I can hardly remember anything about it, other than that it was "art" (with extra quotation marks). On the other hand, I can remember dozens of distinct short films from most of the major animated western characters, that's probably because they have story and character which is much more memorable than films deliberately eschewing things I find memorable.
One of the things about the Goofy cartoons that I do find culturally interesting is the persistence of the stereotype of the incompetent but well-meaning suburban male--and how Goofy completely sets the parameters of that iconography. Whenever they're not warring about mythical wars on christmas I sometimes hear rightwingers complain about the war on men, and how they are oh-so-offended that white male suburban husbands are constantly portrayed in the media (sitcoms and commercials, primarily) as completely incompetent morons. It's funny to me that the things Goofy portrayed (and which would have been funny to audiences back then), still ring a painfully familiar bell to audiences today when they see those tropes enacted over and again in modern media. And I'm also fascinated by the insistence that this is some kind of new phenomena, when one only has to look at Goofy or Bewitched to see that this has been with American culture for six decades now, yes even in the sacred and divine pinnacle of Christian purity, the fifties, even during that halcyon era men were being undermined--sigh--it's tragic really.
It's also interesting that for Disney, the heroes were the bumbling but well meaning oaf or the everyday guy, and for Warner or Lantz or others the hero was often the trickster, the Loki model, Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker or Daffy. Mickey and Goofy represent the sort of characters that Bugs or Woody completely dominate and demolish. While Donald, on the other hand, is the closest thing Disney has to a trickster character, and in the reverse of the other cartoon studios, the trickster comes out on the bottom for Disney.
personally, while I love the Rube Goldberg aspects of the insane tricks the Looney Tunes play, I prefer the moral worldview of the Disney cartoons, because the meanest guy always wins the Looney Tunes film, and smarts always seem to accompany a penchant for meanness in those films--the meaner you are, the smarter you are (but it's okay if you're the 'good guy' and still a complete jerk, because you're good, you're the winner in a classic Just World Fallacy justification of some really vicious actions). While on the other hand, characters in the Disney universe, can be either smart or stupid, and still win (or lose, as it may turn out), but a lack of meanness seems to always be crucial for Disney in determining who will win out in the end. Mickey shows you why he's good, he would save an enemy from drowning; whereas Bugs will save an enemy from drowning, make sure they're okay, and then kick them back in the water. That's not to say that Disney isn't often problematic in his representations, he certainly is, and often, it's just in bingeing on so many Looney Tunes followed up by the traditional Disney slams here I decided to highlight some of the justice problems that come up in the Looney Tunes (at times it feels like I'm watching a professional wrestling match, with a heel versus a face).