Sunday, September 06, 2009

Bored Photoshopping: Goofus and Galant

For me (and most likely everyone else around my age) the entirety of my childhood experiences and memories reading "Highlights" magazine all come exclusively from doctors' office waiting rooms. I never subscribed to them and I never knew any other kid growing up who subscribed to them. Frankly to this day I can't imagine anybody in America, aside from private medical practitioners, who would subscribe to them. I don't know, maybe kids growing up in the 40s and 50s subscribed to them. Maybe at the start of every new month they'd eagerly rush home from their stick ball games and their malt shops or whatever kids did before television and video games got big, in the hopes of finding a fresh new copy of the latest "Highlights" magazine waiting for them in the mailbox.

I figure there must be some people other than members of the American Pediatric Society still dutifully renewing their subscriptions because it's surprisingly still around today. Even with all the newspaper bankruptcies, publishing industry struggles, ominous discussions about the impending end of print media, and the recent cancellation of "Reading Rainbow", "Highlights" is somehow apparently still doing business without being reduced to a blog. Despite all contemporary evidence indicating its imminent demise, it soldiers on quietly and unremarkably; like "COPS" or Lindsey Hunter.

I don't know if it was because they were forever associated with dreaded doctor visits or that the articles just plain sucked, but I can't really associate any lasting memories about reading "Highlights". The only thing I (and once again probably everyone else around my age who read them) remember are the Goofus and Gallant cartoons demonstrating proper and improper child behavior. In retrospect, I sort of sympathize with the bad sheep Goofus. Really, his parents are the ones to blame here. Not only did they do a poor job in terms of parenting and establishing proper discipline in raising him, they really stacked the deck by sadistically naming the poor child Goofus. How could a parent name their child Goofus and not expect them to constantly have anger issues and display antisocial tendencies?

On the other side, Gallant is a pretty lousy name to saddle a kid with as well, but at least it has positive, noble-minded connotations. And while I am more than a little suspicious as to what questionable degree of strict disciple and conditioning the parents may have engaged in to create such a disturbingly polite and mannered boy, at least he'll stay out of trouble as he grows up (or completely snap one day and release his long held repression in a murderous rage). It is only quite recently that I actually noticed that his name was even Gallant (like a gallant knight). For years the name I had in my head was Galant (like the Mitsubishi Galant). Apparently I wasn't too off, galant is the original French word for gallant. I actually kind of like my old "Galant" better, it sounds more believable as a person's name.

Still I wonder how old Goofus' antics would stack up against a Japanese mid-size sedan with no free will....

(click to enlarge)

I think I might be safer with the Galant.

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