Those of you who grew up during the 1990s may remember a certain Warner Bros. animated show called The Animaniacs, directed and produced by Steven Spielberg. As you might expect, given the golden age of animation we lived through back then, with Saturday morning TV filled to the brim with absolutely terrific cartoons, this particular show was zany, ridiculous, crazy, and hilarious.
Strangely, though, I never watched much of it, primarily because – as I recall, anyway – where I was at the time, Cartoon Network didn’t carry it at the times that I wanted (or was allowed) to watch it.
Which means that I completely missed this original segment when it aired:
MAJOR props to whichever poor bastard voiced Yakko.
The alternative versions are even funnier. Here’s one where the title is basically self-explanatory:
In my opinion, the Limeys were about the only people in the world who did colonialism even halfway right – and not much better than halfway, either. Everyone else made a colossal mess out of it, either raping the countries that they invaded outright, or just providing the bare essentials for civilisation to those countries. You could, in theory, argue that the Spanish were pretty effective too, until you remember that they massacred considerable numbers of the native populations, and infected most of the rest with nasty European diseases against which said natives had no immunity.
I find it hard to sympathise with the Aztecs, Toltecs, Olmecs, and Incas, who practised truly barbaric and bloody human and child sacrifice rituals in order to maintain their culture and way of life. But it is equally difficult to argue with a straight face that the Spanish (and Portuguese – let’s not let that lot off the hook) were effective administrators. They generally weren’t, until MUCH later.
The French weren’t very good either, as a general rule – look at Francophone Africa and what a disaster that has become. The less said about the Germans and the Belgians, the better. The Japanese… well, I’ve got three words for you: “Bataan Death March”.
But the Brits? They actually tried, really hard, to bring light and civilisation and medicine to the most benighted corners of the world. And they kind of sort of succeeded. Props to them for that. It is thanks to the Brits that we have today the Anglosphere, a globe-spanning alliance of English-speaking nations with more-or-less English cultural values and norms, respect for individual rights, and desire to maintain peace and friendly relations with their neighbours.
Of course, we also have those exact same nations to thank for imposing endless amounts of stupidity upon the rest of us over the past 2 years in the form of lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and utterly pointless and ineffective policies to combat the Coof. So, y’know, pluses and minuses, really.
I leave you with the signature line from the Animaniacs, which incidentally really irks the women on whom I’ve used it:
It’s worth pointing out that every single thing that Yakko and Jakko say about “The Nurse” in that video is designed to be as subversive as possible. We blokes don’t give the minutest quantum of a DAMN about a woman’s IQ, career accomplishments, or education. It’s just noise. What matters is how she looks, how she dresses, and – here’s the important bit – how good she makes us feel when she is in our presence.
Then again, it was a Steven Spielberg show, and he was known for engaging in some seriously subversive, seriously shady, shit in his directorial days – just look at the earliest concepts of the relationship between Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood, and you’ll see what I mean.