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Archie dies? What world am I living in?

July 14, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
From the “What World am I Living In?” department comes the tale of Archie Andrews.

Archie. The clean-cut teen. Symbol of American youth from the 1950s and 1960s, who hung out with his goofy pal Jughead and his forever girl Betty, as well as the spoiled rich kids Veronica and Reggie. The kid who went to high school forever. Hung out in the malt shop. Rode around occasionally in a hot rod.

Archie is being killed in the newest edition of the comic Wednesday in a violent incident. He was shot defending his openly gay friend. Apparently, sometime after I stopped reading Archie and chewing Bazooka, Archie took a serious turn and started being a teen for today’s kids. Today’s kids cannot be isolated from gun violence, drunk drivers, psycho moms and dads, drug dealers in the streets, illegal immigration, gay people, alcohol, heroin and yes, bigots with guns. Maybe its because adults spend too much time reading comic books. Er, graphic novels.

Archie was once a place where kids of my generation went to laugh, enjoy a good story -- often with a good dose of a good moral thrown in without us even noticing it -- and escape for a brief time on a rainy Saturday afternoon from the world. Often accompanied by listening to optimistic tunes from The Beatles’ early years.

No more. Hey, Archie was still doing the right thing, but gun violence in Riverdale has gotten out of hand apparently as much as it has. I wonder if the malt shoppe closed and everybody is unemployed except for the 1 percenters in Reggie’s and Veronica’s families. It got me to thinking that there simply must not be any escape anymore for kids.

Where the heck is Bugs Bunny?

We know that, by 1980s standards, Bugs and his pals were deemed too violent. Kids might have thought they could survive falling from a cliff into a canyon of perfect artistic perspective, accompanied by a Doppler-effect whistle and a “poof” at the bottom, walking away with their only injury being that they would be a little shorter or shaped like an accordion for a brief time. And they made fun of bald guys who talked funny. The ACLU would have a field day with the discrimination against Elmer Fudd. Ditto the SPCA and cruelty to, let’s see, sheepdogs, coyotes, roadrunners, rabbits, chickens, roosters, chicken hawks, cats and dogs and Tweety birds.

Bullwinkle? Too critical of Russians with all that adult-level satire. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

The Pink Panther?

Again with the violence. Also the whole mime thing, teaching kids they don’t need to talk.

But he could be updated along with other cartoons. Imagine the Pink Panther as a breast-cancer fighting superhero. But that’s a positive fantasy, and Archie’s death reminds us that there can be no fantasy anymore unless it’s violent or realistic.

So, expect:

— Charlie Brown in rehab.

— The Born Loser’s Brutus Thornapple taking out his office with an AR-15.

— Dilbert being arrested for cruelty to Dogbert.

— Jon being led away in handcuffs for allowing Garfield to get so fat.

—Sarge being brought up for court-martial for turning Beetle Bailey into a pile of squiggly lines once too often.

— Blondie smacking Dagwood with an iron skillet and the divorce proceedings dragging out for years.

America’s calling Rip Kirby. Maybe the smart detective in horn-rimmed glasses, who hasn’t been turned into a live-action film or anything else, can figure out what the heck happened in Toon Town.

 
 

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