Sex Molesters Aren’t Good Artists. Ren and Stimpy Aren’t as Good as Mr. Magoo.
In 1996, I attended my first World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. I went as a writer.
Someone in the dealer’s room was selling Mr. Magoo and other animation memorabilia. I was charmed to see this and stopped to talk to the shop owner.
The man who owned the memorabilia was charming and polite. Two other gentlemen nearby? Not so much. I’ll call them Lardo and Peedapants. They barged in, informing me that my mother couldn’t possibly have designed Mr. Magoo. They rattled off some men’s names — not even Pete Burness, her director at UPA. I said, “Well, I know she did this. Magoo was based on my father. I have a — “
Lardo and Peedapants knew better. Back then I was more like normal people and they made me cry. Some of my friends comforted me. They assured me that these guys were just jerks. No one doubted what my mom had done.
It was important to me. See, I never knew my mother. She died of pancreatic cancer when I was three months old. And yes — she’d stopped chemotherapy and any other treatments upon learning she was, unexpectedly, pregnant at age 39.
Our lives follow tracks and patterns, over and over. Like my mom, I became unexpectedly pregnant at age 39. Like my mom, I gave up everything for the baby. The only difference was — back then, she died. And I lived.
I’ll never know, but only hope and pray, that her being from the WWII generation helped protect her from some of the abuse I’ve encountered. I want in my imagination to believe that those long-ago gentlemen really were that. Gentlemen. That my gentle, kind, caring mother was never pawed, pushed, grabbed, groped, beaten, berated. Raped.
I pray this was never so. Because I love her and I love everything about her.
As far as I know, men in the animation field back in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, didn’t recruit, groom, and exploit teenaged girls with no repercussions. Like John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren & Stimpy. Surely, you’ve heard of this: just another in the long line of #MeToo guys. He only devastated the lives of two young women, according to Buzzfeed. Heck, a guy can’t even wink at a female these days or ask 14 year-olds to move in with him and leave nude photos of 10 year-olds with dogs ejaculating on them out on his desk at the animation studio. What’s this world coming to?
I’m writing this because animation artist Katie Rice who was preyed upon by Ren & Stimpy artist John Kricfalusi said this:
She’s right. The only thing I’d disagree with her on is: the nice people make better cartoons or would if they were given the opportunity. Which for the most part: they are not.
Up to now, it was hard to know because the people like Kricfalusi suck all the air out of the room. And the people who pay the bills are twisted as all get-out, selfish, and don’t care about their customers.
I’m so wrong! Leave your feces in the comments Harvey Weinstein.
You watched Harvey’s slurge for years. You say it’s great. It’s great like two week-old McDonalds French Fries are great or cold Jack in the Box tacos are awesome.
I can DO art. But I’m not an artist.
I’m a writer.
It’s the same in the publishing industry. Simon & Schuster just put out this amazing book and the author was just on all the talk shows in the words of one fan, “smokin’ and tweakin’.”
As for the Ren & Stimpy artist Kricfalusi:
After I was raped 11 days after my 21st birthday by the named chair of literature at Pomona College, apparently because I had won the 5-college writing prize two years in a row, I experienced a few “mental health issues.” I even “self-medicated.”
Alan Rodgers, for whom I painted that book cover, yelled at me for several hours because I said what Katie Rice said. I said “I don’t think the best writers are terrible people, Alan. I think terrible people don’t understand others very well. They write sick, weird stuff. It’s just marketed — they tell people that’s what’s good. People believe it. They — “
See, I have a master’s degree in literature, too. Some of the great 19th century writers were pretty disturbed but most weren’t total monsters. Dickens and Tolstoy tired of their aging wives but neither took up with 12 year-olds.
It’s not isolated. It’s the rule, not the exception. None of it’s right.
When people with functioning minds and hearts are the ones who make things for others to see, read, and enjoy, that’s when 100% of people who can buy and read books will. That’s when people won’t turn off shows and won’t find anything else to do other than consume the slurge the Kricfalusis of the world want to shove down our throats.
We always liked Ren & Stimpy but it never really was for kids. There was always something off and not in the Bullwinkle and Rocky or Fractured Fairy Tale way. And the whole slurgeorama was so bad that even the flawed cartoon stood out.
When my daughter (now 25) was young, my dad (the “inspiration” for Magoo) told me something I found so hard to forgive.
He said, “Your mother could never have made it as a fine artist.”
I was so furious with him. I never said but I hated him for saying that. For so long, I thought he was denigrating her talent. I thought he was saying she wasn’t good enough.
Now I understand. He was just stating a fact. As a woman, even with 100 times the talent of the male artists including her fellow California watercolorists, Rex Brandt, Phil Dike, and Millard Sheets (I received, but declined, the Millard Sheets Scholarship to attend Claremont Graduate School in art), she had no opportunity. No chance. None. Nothing. Zero. Because she was nice. Because she was a woman.
Happy Women’s History Month! Are you over age 13?
You’re so over the hill.