Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cartoon Protesters' Violence Escalates

(actual headline taken waaaaaaay out of context)

An anvil factory was torched yesterday as the rioting in Toon Town continued for the third consecutive day. For the last week, animated characters around the country have been protesting their treatment by society. Their grievances include inhumane working conditions, low wages, and lack of opportunity.

Historically, the United States has relegated animated characters to children’s programs. This has caused many of them to emigrate to Japan where greater opportunities exist, including primetime television and even adult entertainment.

Protests began last week after Nickelodeon’s Nick Toons went on strike to demand higher wages and better healthcare. The strike struck a chord with other animated characters, who felt it was time for more sweeping change. The protests started out peacefully, but turned violent in Toon Town on Wednesday after a fight broke out between several Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons. Several characters, including Speedy Gonzalez and Bre’er Rabbit, have been reported missing amid the ensuing chaos.

Opportunities for animated characters have increased in recent years. The Simpsons demonstrated that a primetime animated series could be successful. Southpark proved that cartoons with specifically adult humor could succeed. And Cartoon Network has given animated characters of all types the chance to be heard. However, animation still carries a certain stigma.

“They put my show in the children’s section!” Shake of Aqua Teen Hunger Force lamented, referring to Best Buy’s filing of the program under General Family. “My show is not a children’s program. It is clearly a drama/mystery/sci-fi/action/horror/whatever genre type show. How can anyone take me seriously if I’m in the children’s section!”

Protests continue to spring up around the country, mostly outside television networks including Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, and Fox, all of which host several cartoon series. Smaller protests have occurred outside other network studios, such as NBC, which have no animated programming whatsoever.

Squidward Tentacles, a spokesman for the American Association for the Advancement of Animated Americans (AAAAA), held a press conference on Friday. He urged the rioters to cease and desist, but also urged his fellow toons to take up the cause. “Just because we are two-dimensional does not mean that the characters we play have to be.”

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