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Toons For Our Times

Some time ago, I noticed a number of my Facebook friends switching their profile pics to mostly classic cartoon characters (I say "mostly" because I do know a handful of people under the age of 30). Perhaps shocked by various shout-outs to the likes of Grape Ape and Dyno-Mutt, Dog Wonder, it took me a while to realize this was apparently part of some movement to raise awareness about child abuse:

For the month of November and December change your profile picture to one of the cartoon characters for your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. The purpose is not to see a single human face on FB but an invasion of memories supporting the cause to fight child abuse.

Or words to that effect. Fine. Whatever. If you spend any time whatsoever on Facebook you'll seen similar things, as well as the contrarian reaction that inevitably follows. Although the backlash seems a little more...strident this time around. Possibly because of this particular campaign's popularity, or maybe they just want to make sure we're thinking of the children.

The gist of the negative reaction seems to be that changing your profile pic doesn't actually do anything to stop the abuse of children. Because who could possibly have guessed that adopting Racer X for your avatar wouldn't cause surly fathers to put down their belts en masse and beg for forgiveness?

Now, I'm sure there are those out there who made the user pic change then washed their hands of the issue, but while there are certainly folks on FB who are just as shallow as their profiles suggest (mine states that I'm the reigning Miss Hawaiian Tropic, for example), I'd wager most are not. And presuming the rest of us are too stupid to know the difference between clicking a button and cutting a check or volunteering their time is...well, a wee bit presumptuous.

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Did the effort raise awareness? Debatable. I don't imagine an overwhelming number of people out there were ignorant of child abuse in the first place, but if even one person was motivated to donate money or time, isn't that a good thing? Sure, the idea that any of this would eliminate the horror of violence against children (which I seriously doubt anyone suggested) is laughable, but I think any potential gains, however minimal, outweigh your potential annoyance.

I mean, it's fucking Facebook, where you have to update your privacy settings and sift through meaningless trivial bullshit every day, and this is what pisses people off? I congratulate them on their surfeit of free time.

On the other hand, while many welcomed the warm glow of nostalgia brought on by seeing the parade of classic 'toons, I was merely depressed. Speed Racer, people? Captain Caveman? Were Jabberjaw and Hammerman too highbrow?

Besides, none of y'all were cool enough to pick Goose from Galaxy Rangers, who I totally would have used.

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