Mar 8, 2011

The Appropriation of Icons, and Propaganda

Growing off my post last week, mainly about how Betty Boop is such an icon in mainstream American culture that her image still appears frequently decades after her apparent height of popularity, I got to thinking about other pop culture (and specifically cartoon) characters that are still appropriated for various marketing and appeal purposes. If one goes to any large indoor mall, or major city bazaar, you wouldn't be hard pressed to find spray-brush t-shirt and accessory kiosks that sell re-appropriated images of cartoon and comic book characters. The characters are often re-dressed and styled to appeal to various demographics, usually straying from what they were originally intended for, at least tonally. Betty Boop is a frequent victim of these booths, her image constantly re-appropriated and exploited for her sex appeal. Amongst others are Looney Tunes, Tinkerbell, and Spongebob Squarepants.

Then comes the tender issue of indoctrination-- Disney no doubt used their beloved and widely known characters to tell children and adults alike whatever was important, like how indoctrination is bad (Oh, the delicious irony). However, one can clearly see the immorality of indoctrination when we see the other guy using beloved characters to appeal to the impressionable, such as Farfour and such other eerily familiar characters from the show Tomorrow's Pioneers.

Farfour was the Mickey Mouse-like character used by this Palestinian TV show aimed at children to preach the values of Islamic Extremism and anti-semitism. Later in the show, the co-host changed to a large bee, and then a Bugs Bunny-esque rabbit. All the co-host animals spoke of the evils of the west and the joys of martyrdom. If you wanna talk inappropriate appropriation, look no further.


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