Kim Jong-Il’s Kiddie Cartoon Cavalcade!

11 04 2010

So I recently ran across this humorously (and inaccurately) re-subtitled version of a North Korean propaganda cartoon, and I immediately knew a blog post was imminent. It fits very nicely with my “remix culture” ideology, while serving to solidify David Hasselhoff’s status as a non-sequitur punchline. Let’s watch, shall we?

At the heart of it, I simply find something unwholesome about children’s programming with a political agenda. Propaganda, in and of itself, isn’t that disquieting. Every single nation or culture that has ever lived has engaged in some type of propaganda, so I’m totally willing to write that off as a necessary evil. I basically feel the same way about children’s entertainment: a universal and necessary evil. But when the two elements are combined, the effect is sinister and Orwellian. When a group of individuals re-appropriates the medium of animation for political ends the result is…icky.

And that’s why the above video succeeds as entertainment. While the “subtitles” themselves aren’t gutbustingly funny, the simple fact that it’s subverting that unwholesome propaganda vibe makes you laugh along through the rough patches.

So, since it fits loosely with my theme, and since I love old cell animation (Bite me, Pixar!), I decided to poke around for some other propaganda cartoons. This first one is easily the most awesome, and the most disquieting, of the bunch. From the Soviet Union Circa 1979 comes Shooting Range. Everything about this cartoon is designed to drive you to the brink of madness, from the sneering, nightmarish animation to the mind-rattling acid-jazz soundtrack. It chronicles the story of a young man who takes a job as a target in a shooting range to make ends meet.

The next one up is also from the Soviet Union, but from 1961. This one tells the tale of a bulldog who gets really rich, then turns into a total jerk. I really love the animation here, especially the dogs drunken stumbling around the 7:15 mark.

Finally, from 1943, we have America’s own Walt Disney explaining why Nazis suck.

Personally, I think this stuff is just fascinating. I’d look for more propaganda cartoons here in the future, because I haven’t even scratched the surface. And, come on, there’s no way that 3D CGI crap can hold up to this, eh?

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