The Null Device
The latest character to get a darker, edgier makeover: Mickey Mouse. Yes, the antiseptically squeaky-clean mascot of one of the largest family-entertainment corporations is being brought back to his original roots as a sadistic prankster, mostly because today's kids find him too much like a personification of benign authority to actually, you know, identify with:
Mickey was a bit of a wild child himself, when he made his first appearance, in 1928, in that changeover period when silent movies were being superseded by the “talkies”. He played practical jokes, he pursued his girlfriend Minnie aggressively, and in Steamboat Willie, he vented his anger on an undeserving parrot.
But in the anxious 1930s, when American was threatened by recession and political radicalism, the highly conservative, communist-hating Walt Disney toned down Mickey’s behaviour and created the bland, all-American mouse kid that he has been ever since.
The new, grittier Mickey makes a début in a Nintendo Wii game set in a "cartoon wasteland" occupied by forgotten Disney characters.
I wonder if it'll work any better than Warner Bros. attempt to give their Looney Tunes characters a gangsta hip-hop makeover in the 1990s.
Some news from Venezuela, the Another World that Is Possible. There, the "Bolivarian" authorities have criminalised "violent" video games (a move which may be intended to shut down internet cafés which depend on game players for revenue but also bypass official means of the dissemination of information), and routinely round up gays and lesbians:
One Friday at around midnight, on Villaflor Street, a favourite spot for gays and lesbians in the Venezuelan capital, Yonatan Matheus and Omar Marques noticed two Caracas police patrol vans carrying about 20 detainees, most of them very young.
When Marques and Matheus, who are gay leaders of the Venezuela Diversa (Diverse Venezuela) organisation, approached to find out what was happening and take pictures, they were picked up too.
"Like most of those arrested, our identity documents and mobile phones were taken away, we were beaten, our sexual orientation was insulted in degrading language, and we were refused permission to speak to the Justice Ministry officials and members of the National Guard who were present," Matheus told IPS.
(via Boing Boing)