Remember good old Tom and Jerry? Remember good old Tom and Jerry smoking? Me either. It had zero impact on me as a kid. But society sanitization groups are so frightened their kids might see someone smoking a cigarette on television that editors are hard at work removing shots of the vintage cat and mouse duo puffing away on death sticks in order to protect kids. Actually, scratch that. It's really just to protect themselves from lawsuits. A single viewer complained to the media watchdog Ofcom and as usual weak-kneed corporate America is rushing to cover their ass. Turner Broadcasting owns the Boomerang Channel, which airs reruns of the show, and they're hard at work modifying them.
In an official statement Ofcom says Turner has agreed to edit scenes "where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorised or where it might encourage imitation".
They won't stop with just Tom and Jerry though. They're going back over everything. They'll be reviewing the entire Hanna Barbara catalogue to remove smoking scenes.
This is certain to have an absolutely devastating effect on the exploding cigar industry.
Alright, for those of you who spent your childhood watching Pokemon instead of rooting for cat on mouse violence let me explain what's going on here. Tom and Jerry are a classic cat and mouse team. They aren't the originals, but they're the ones that popularized it. Whenever you see a cliché cat and mouse fight, for instance with "Itchy and Scratchy" on "The Simpsons", they're parodying these guys. It's Tom and Jerry. They're a classic. An institution.
You don't fuck with institutions, especially not in the name of political correctness.
Like a lot of kids, my childhood was stuffed to the gills with afternoons full of Tom and Jerry. I've never smoked and never been tempted to smoke. Tom and Jerry is not a leading cause of cancer. If your parents smoke, or you lack willpower, or you're easily influenced by your friends, you're going to light up. Tom and Jerry aren't going to make you do it, and you know what, Joe Camel isn't either.
I'm not sure how much it really matters, at least where comedy is concerned, if Tom and Jerry's smoking scenes are edited out of their old cartoons. I just hate the idea of revisionist history. When those cartoons were made, that's the way it was. Let's not pretend it was anything else. Kids should know the world was once different, for better or worse. The world hasn't always been bottled water and hypo-allergenic air filters. When we were kids, we got black lung… and we liked it.