Cartoon Review: This is America, Charlie Brown “The Mayflower Voyagers”

Posted: November 13, 2010 in Cartoon Review, Holiday, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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See there? That’s “Real” America.


This is America, Charlie Brown:The Mayflower Voyagers” (October 21, 1988 Dir. Evert Brown)

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I have no joke for this one.

I’ve been holding back on this one for years, and I was wondering whether or not I should do it this year. After all, when you take into account how much I’m posting for The Greats and reposting some specials on new blogs and writing a couple of new reviews… I could have waited. This is going to be a very full November for us. I could set the two new reviews off and wait until next year, but then what fun would that be? Besides, I’ve had a bad time this year, and last year, and 2008 wasn’t so hot either if you want the truth. So I decided to calm my nerves by watching something that would send me into a nice relaxing screaming fit. I’m going to also throw every ounce of honest truth at this thing. I’m warning you now, don’t read this thing if you want to keep your stupid, factually deficient lies about the so called pilgrims. I intend to shine the light down on this thing and watch it run like a pack of roaches.

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And once I sign this, we can commence screwing each other out of the profits.

Okay, let’s start with the word “Pilgrim” because that’s the first big lie on the record. A pilgrimage is a trip you take to a sacred spot. Permanently moving is not taking a pilgrimage. They also weren’t American and would have never thought of themselves in that way. They were English, and they were bigots. I’ll explain that in a bit. It’s important to remember though, these are not American, and they are not Pilgrims. I suppose anyone who calls them The American Pilgrims is a liar then. In fact, one could use modern parlance and mention that these are illegal immigrants, undocumented travlers, who wanted to come over here and live off the goodwill of others. They sure as hell didn’t want to work… but let’s keep on steady ground for the moment and talk about the cartoon.

3
Jesus! Bible! God! These are the only lines I was given.

This is America, Charlie Brown was a pretty poor attempt at history. It told the sort of happy shiny history you used to get during the worst days of Communism in Russia, or Nazi Germany. Yup! Going there! The problem is that’s only something you can complain about if I’m wrong. Here, that statement is entirely justified. These cartoons left much to be desired by deciding on a narrative first and then forcing all the facts to fit that narrative. Things that didn’t fit were dropped, not mentioned, left unexplained and so on. They only told arguably small lies, as far as I remember, but they went a damn long way to avoid telling the truth which is worse. As far as this cartoon goes, it’s about as valueless a piece of educational material as I have ever seen.

4
I’ve just had a vision of my own horrible death.

Now, the cartoon inserts the Peanuts gang into the Mayflower excursion, with an attempt at trying to tell the story from their point of view. There is also an attempt to recreate famous paintings with Chuck Shcultz’s style of drawing, which is clunky and useless. His style works with kids, it doesn’t work when trying to make adults that would live with those kids. When the special begins, they are boarding The Mayflower to go to the New World. This is just an introduction that sets up the story, sets up the first of several outright lies. The first lie being religious persecution. There wasn’t any. While England was far from a Calvinist wonderland at the time, no actual official persecution befell them. The worst they had was mockery and being looked down on by their neighbors. Considering how we treat religious people we don’t like now, that is mild. No one told them they couldn’t build churches that I’ve ever seen. I’ve found no outside records saying anyone tried to kill them or arrest them for their worship. Like religious extremists today, these people were a bunch of crybabies who thought that any tiny bit of criticism was an attack on their entire way of life and an attempt to destroy them. It just wasn’t true though and just didn’t happen. And besides, considering how they persecuted, tortured and murdered anyone who didn’t fit 100% in line with their ideas, they have very little to complain about.

5
If I hear one more word about god, I’ll pound you!

While they’re describing how bad conditions on boat are, let me explain another problem with the Calvinist Insurgents. See, their trip to America was their second voyage. First, they went to The Netherlands, where no one even made fun of them for being such huge douche canoes. The problem was that The Dutch weren’t racist enough for those English bigots. See, The Dutch have a reputation for being politely liberal. Being polite and liberal, they didn’t care what you wanted to buy and they didn’t judge you for buying it. As a result, they were polite, liberal and rich. These are, not to put too fine a point on it, three things that Calvinism hates most of all. Also, they spoke Dutch… My GOD! Can you imagine OUR children speaking Dutch? That’s not a joke, that’s almost a direct quote from a book about The Not-American Not-Pilgrims Not-Plumbers. That’s the problem with white people. They refuse to integrate, refuse to learn the language. Out of a terrified belief that their children might grow up polite, liberal, rich and worst of all kind to women; they checked right the hell out and went back to England to get a boat to America. England, you’ll remember where they claimed they escaped from by the skin of their teeth. Another lie about these people.

6
And just like that, the stroke hit Snoopy.

Anyway, back to the cartoon. They go on about the trip being over crowded and full of storms. What they don’t mention is that this isn’t all that uncommon for an over seas voyage at the time. Really, without that information, it makes it seem like these people went through worse than other people did. With all the difficulties they explore (without context) it really makes it seem like God was trying to kill these people. Every stage of the journey seems to be God sending another angel of death to destroy the boat and the inhabitants. Again, without context, it really doesn’t do you any good to hear these things. It just makes it sound like a horrible ordeal, rather than a sea voyage. Lucy, Linus and Charlie Brown trying to keep in character doesn’t help, since the “comedy” is extremely eye rolling. You don’t sympathize with the children, so much as you want to punch them in the face and thrown them overboard.

7
They’ve caught Joe!

Anyway, they arrive and this is where the Pro-Pilgrim propaganda starts. They talk about the difficulties in finding places to establish a colony, without mentioning how stupid it is to go out to a place without any idea if there are areas fit for settlement. Inf act they even show how stupid they are with “The Indians are scared and running away. LET’S CHASE AFTER THEM!” Anyway, after spending weeks and weeks being too stupid to find a place to settle and build houses, they up sticks and leave. The cartoon doesn’t give an accurate count of how many died while they were dicking around with no idea what the hell they were doing, but it was a lot.

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You load 16 tons, what’d ya get? Another day older and deeper in debt.

So now they get to Plymouth and because they’ll die if they don’t, they start to build their buildings. Because of all the screwing around they did, the snow is starting to fall and sickness is tearing through the group. We’re told how only six or seven adults are well enough to work at any given time. Think about what this has to mean about mismanagement. Other colonies didn’t have these problems you know, because other colonies didn’t come so ill prepared. Again, if we had context, you might know this. Instead, it’s just more hardship, but hardship they brought upon themselves through ignorance, bad management, and expecting God would send some Mexican day-laborers to build the place for them before being deported without complaint.

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Who let a foreigner in here? Look shirtless, go back where you came from!

Then we go into some bits of “comedy” where Lucy bosses everyone around, Linus says “We have to have faith” for about the 87th time, Charlie Brown asks if we’re all gonna die, Snoopy tries to save ths show and fails, Peppermint Patty and Marcy all but experiment with lesbianism, and all the jokes fall completely flat. There are also comments about how “The Indians” are going to attack at any moment, despite the fact that none have actually been seen yet. The jokes make me hate these people even more and renews my wish for a time machine so I can go wipe them out. All I’d need would be a mild case of flu, and I could take them all out.

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The pizza boy is here!

Now, remember that by the end of winter, half the undocumented immigrants had died. Mostly through poor planning, bad management and being just generally stupid. Then of course, Samoset shows up and ruins everything. God had almost wiped these idiots out and this one Abenaki shows up and actually manages to save them from their own stupidity. It’s sort of condescending the way that they’re all so shocked he can speak English. Natives has long since gone to England for this reason or that and there had been other colonies in America before this one. But hey, a brown person who doesn’t talk that funny mumbo jumbo, better act like he’s Christ returned or something. Except, he doesn’t speak very well. He’s given a stentorian voice, with a resonant American accent and then says “Fisherman teach me speak.” like he’s retarded. The more lines he has, the most pidgin his speech becomes, like halfway through he realized he was supposed to say “Me son of great sky, me welcome you pale face.” I know Samoset wasn’t extraordinarily well versed, but they could have tried harder not to make him sound like a shaved Mexican with a headdress in a 50s western.

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Nah, I’m just screwing with ya. There’s a thing of Miracle-Gro in my bag.

ANYWAY! Samoset goes to get Squanto, and everyone talks like they’re in the worst Elementary School Play ever. They don’t emote, they just proclaim. After enlisting him, Squanto shows the religious zealots that it takes more than prayer to make plants grow. He shows them the very simple act of catching fish, which the English Not-Pilgrims clearly knew nothing about. He then shows the kids, who are playing the colonists at this point, how to plant corn with a dead fish. This is treated like an amazing revelation, which it is… unless you know how to farm at all. I mean, the idea of fertilization had only been known to farmers for the last three thousand years or so. The Idiots weren’t farmers though, and refused to learn anything about farming before they left. They didn’t bring much in the way of grain, didn’t check to see what seeds would grow, were almost entirely ignorant about hunting or raising animals and thought that they were going to just live in a land of milk and honey provided by god. Typical white people, just want everything handed to them. I notice the fail to make any mention of the “If you don’t work, you don’t eat” declaration that Miles Standish had to thrown down because everyone was just sitting around waiting for someone else to do the work for them.

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You’ll notice the only one actually working is a woman, everyone else is standing around and talking.

ANYWAY! The “First Thanksgiving” is briefly featured with The Idiots eating a turkey and having slices of bread… which is the ONE thing they didn’t have at that meal. Nothing to make it with. Well, they also had no pie because they had no molasses, butter, flour, or sugar. They also had no brains. What they had was venison, eels, fish, fruit, berries, and lobster. They also show the dinner happening inside, which is also false as it happened outdoor and was a big party that ended in an orgy. Sadly it was only later that the Wampanoag discovered that the only thing the so-called Pilgrims brought to the 3 day party was syphilis and genocide.

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LIES!

This is, quite frankly, a terrible cartoon. The art is ugly the story telling is atrocious and the history is scandalously lacking at best. It’s too simplified and really works hard not to tell any of the little inconvenient truths about the Not-American Not-Pilgrims. While they are technically telling the truth in most cases, they aren’t giving you all the facts and they are totally slanting the story to be pro-puritan. Mostly this is a repetition of Victorian nonsense masquerading as history. In truth, there is very little within the story of the English Invaders presented to us today. It’s very annoying to watch because they really just paint the American Pilgrims (who were neither) as noble people who have misery heaped upon them, instead of complete and total bigoted jackasses that the gods were clearly trying to kill. You want to know the honest truth about what happened to the American Indians? I’ll tell you. The Gods were trying to kill those puritans, the Indians got in the way and saved them, and the Gods turned their wrath on the bitches what ruined the plan. That is why the native tribes had their lands taken away and their culture destroyed. Had they let the honkeys die, everything would have been fine!

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Look, next time just leave me out of your holiday specials. Okay?

One has to really look through several books while keeping in mind that the writer is engaging in mythmaking rather than history. You have to be very careful whenever you celebrate Thanksgiving and talk history. Fortunately, the settlers at Plymouth actually have almost nothing to do with Thanksgiving with is almost entirely an invention of the Victorian Middle-Class. However, given that those white people decided to look back to those days, I don’t have a problem with native peoples picking that day to air their grievances. In fact, if anything, the Victorians that cemented Thanksgiving also cemented our reputation as genocidal dickheads. I don’t mind really, to some extent we still deserve to be given an annual ration of shit. Total and complete fictions like this though, do nothing to help the issue.

Official Score:
-75 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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