HBO Max’s Great Looney Tunes Purge

Sam Thielman at Slate:

Carl Stalling’s scores didn’t just teach kids about Beethoven and Mozart and Wagner, they quoted vastly influential songs from his own lifetime that have now vanished down the memory hole, and that inclusion forces conversations about those songs. Parents may differ on whether that’s a good thing, but I think it is. I can avoid Speedy Gonzales, but other forms of bigotry sneak up on me. I don’t relish explaining to my son why he can occasionally catch me absent-mindedly whistling Stephen Foster’s “Shortnin’ Bread” but will never, ever hear me sing the lyrics. If we don’t talk about that, though, I risk letting the attitudes of the past seem incomprehensible and stupid to him, which weakens his resistance to their contemporary descendants. A full appreciation of old cartoons prevents us from reducing their authors to caricature. Stalling loved catchy, racist old minstrel tunes; he’s also single-handedly responsible for the preservation of terrific songs like Raymond Scott’s classic “Powerhouse,” whose name you might not know but whose tune I promise you can hum.

more here (h/t Brooks Riley).