Wednesday, September 15, 2004

It Pays To Be Negative

Well, my post on why I don't like Family Guy got more hits and comments than any other post I've done so far (partly thanks to the link from Amid Amid at Cartoon Brew -- thanks, Amid). It just goes to prove that the way to blog success is to be a Nattering Nabob of Negativity (tm Spiro Agnew), picking something many readers like and then going negative on it. So look for future posts in the same vein: Motherhood Sucks; What's the Big Deal About Apple Pie?*; and This Whole Internet Thing Is Just a Fad Anyway.

Those wondering what Amid meant when he said that I sing the praises of "Spielberg drivel" can find my posts on Animaniacs here and here, plus Pinky and the Brain here. It may not seem possible now, but Animaniacs was a pretty controversial show online about ten years ago -- mostly because it was part of a battle over the direction of cartoons: should they be "cartoony," created at the storyboard, and run by cartoonists, like Ren and Stimpy, or should they be soulless writer-driven corporate products? (I'm paraphrasing of course.) Animaniacs came along and became successful -- and a huge favorite with the then-cultlike online community -- not long after John Kricfalusi was fired from Ren and Stimpy, which made it look like the symbol of all that was writer-driven and corporate in animation. Of course it wasn't, and the idea that Animaniacs or Tiny Toons were corporate focus-group products was based more on ideology (and an unwillingness to believe that non-drawing writers could possibly have any talent) than anything else, but that's where the battle-lines were drawn, and the arguments raged every month or so in groups like rec.arts.animation. It seems kind of quaint now, in part because Animaniacs never became very influential -- today's bland corporate cookie-cutter cartoons are likely to look more like imitation Kricfalusi than anything else -- and in part because non-computerized animation is in such trouble that the argument is over whether it has a future, not what its future should be. But the arguments were fun while they lasted; that was a time when there was a) A lot of TV animation and b) A reason to take TV animation seriously as an art form.

*(By the way, I really don't like apple pie all that much.)

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