The Danger of PICS—PoliticallyrnIncorrect Cartoonsrnby Mary Elizabeth Podles and Leon J. PodlesrnVrnIrnStereotypes to the right of them, stereotypes to the left ofrnthem, the pohtically correct volley and thunder at everyrnimage that might offend the sensitive soul of the approvedrnvictim. Dartmouth’s comic Indian mascot turned into anrnunsmiling noble savage, then was abolished altogether. Firstrnthe Frito Bandito’s politically unacceptable gold tooth disappeared,rnthen it was noticed that he himself wasn’t particularlyrnp.c. either, and he vanished into the sunset. Aunt Jemimarnlost her culinarily reassuring but racist (and weightist)rnavoirdupois and transmuted into a jazzy Diana Ross lookalike.rnYet a fountainhead of politically incorrect imagery remainsrnfree to corrupt the souls of America’s youth: the animatedrncartoon, especially as practiced by the long shadow ofrnthat dead Euro-American white male, Walt Disney.rnDisney is full of attacks upon the sensibilities of the politicallyrncorrect. Scrooge McDuck has done untold harm to thernScots among us, who are full of generous impulses yet findrnfew role models of a careless liberality with money. Lady andrnthe Tramp is shockingly p.i. with its Chihuahua much worsernthan the above-mentioned Bandito and with its pair ofrnSiamese cats, who do nothing to promote positive attitudes towardrnAsians. Even Lady has been denounced as a paradigm ofrn1950’s containment, who trades her sexual liberty for a marriagernlicense and a leash. And the crows on the fence in Dumbornsimply pass beyond the pale.rnMost recently. Beauty and the Beast perpetrates the mostrnharmful of sex-role caricatures. While Belle is an acceptablernmix of Madame Bovary and a bluestocking, the men in her lifernMary Elizabeth Podles is the retired curator of Renaissancernand Baroque art at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore.rnHer husband, Leon, is with the Office of Federal Investigations.rnare a non-nurturing chauvinist lot: an absentminded professor,rna macho jock, his Best Buddy, and the Beast, who is, of course,rna beast. Speciesism, too, raises its ugly head: the wolves,rnwhom we know now to be gentle and kindly mammals, arernshown attacking human beings. There has been much inappropriaternlaughter in movie theaters. In the groves of academe,rnwhere such things are properly understood, the mirthful wouldrnno doubt be packed off to reorientation seminars.rnYou may have noticed that we are getting a little carriedrnaway. But what the attackers of stereotyping miss, and whatrnthis application of their method to Disney demonstrates by arnreductio ad absurdum, is that cartoons and their verbal equivalentsrnare funny because they depend on caricature, on exaggeratingrnslight characteristics into prominent and universalrnones. Caricature is nothing new, nor is it purely the domain ofrnthe ephemeral or of low art. Ciulio Romano’s Mannerist masterwork,rnthe Sala dei Giganti (Palazzo del Te, Mantua) is arnlofty foreshadowing of Disney’s best in its exaggerated postures,rnits parodies of Michelangelo, its grotesque expressions ofrnhorror, its movie-screen scale, and its witty blend of spatialrnspecial effects, mixed media, and lighting from natural and artificialrnsources. Giulio’s scene of the ruin of the giants is a tourrnde force, partly horrific, partly grotesque and funny, and entirelyrnappropriate to the playful character of a festival palazzo:rncaricature and entertainment, but undeniable art.rnNor need the animated film feature be dismissed as inconsequentialrnor nonart. Many have begun to suspect as much:rnBeauty and the Beast is the first cartoon to be nominated forrnBest Picture. Disney has always evinced a taste for cartoonsrnbased on stories with a tragic or pathetic element. Bamhi,rnwhich has become a byword for unendurable and saccharinerncuteness, conveys a strong dose of the original tale, whichrngrew out of the mass slaughter of the First World War. Thern20/CHRONiCLESrnrnrn