Martha Thomases: The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends
As a child growing up, I loved cartoons. At that time (the 1950s and early 1960s), that’s a bit like saying that I loved breathing. There were cartoons on Saturday morning, and cartoons every afternoon. The movie theater near my Grandmother’s house had Saturday matinees that were three hours of cartoons.
But I loved comic books more.
My husband, John Tebbel, was the first animation maven I ever met. He not only knew the difference between Disney and Warner Brothers, but he knew the individual directors, and quickly taught me how to spot Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson. He explained who the Fleischer Studio was and why I should care.
We went to animation festivals in Ottawa, Canada and Annecy, France. I saw films by George Dunning that weren’t Yellow Submarine. I met Bill Scott and June Foray. We would go to the Jay Ward store when we were in Los Angeles.
Naturally, I tried to share my love of comic books. My success rate was lower. He liked Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. He loved Kyle Baker. Milk and Cheese made him laugh out loud. Still, he never quite got the superhero thing.
I’m not writing to celebrate two geeks in love. I’m writing about how sometimes, we let our differences divide us. Do you like Marvel or DC? The Big Two or independents? Broadcast or cable?
We defined our affection for two art forms that were graphic storytelling. One moved and one didn’t. One had finite time limits and one didn’t. Each of us, with our affection for our chosen art, could appreciate the other’s favorite.
I would like our political discourse to work at this level, but that isn’t going to happen as long as there is so much money and power involved. However, if there is anything that would make my husband’s life more significant, it would be if we could each of us share our love for pop culture with the rest of the world. Instead of fighting over which piece of the pie is the biggest or the best, we could have more pie.
John liked pumpkin. I prefer blueberry.
SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman
It would be nice if our political discourse could rise to the level of grade school taunts, but it has a long way to go. It is far too easy and tempting to paint the opposition as evil and stupid, driven by a desire to become even more evilly stupid. It’s easier to be against something than to take the risk of being for something. Lead by example, maybe others will be shamed into following.