After over two years of entertaining kids and infuriating parents, the controversial Japanese cartoon series Shin Chan has been off the air for some time now. Last heard, it’s waiting for a green signal from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. While parents may be relieved, children might be finding it hard to understand what the big deal is about. So Shin Chan has been teaching kids how to pass some sneaky comments about parents and teachers. So? Given that the criticisms from fidgety grown-ups have ranged from the series showcasing strong sexual and violent overtones to extolling the virtues of rudeness and irreverence (how can that last one be a bad thing?), one would have thought that before the advent of television, children were pure as driven snow.
A ban on the series, as in 99.9 per cent of all other things that upset our grown-ups, is the easiest, laziest reaction from an oversensitive parent population. Shin Chan is naughty, even over the edge. But why do we have a niggling feeling that a generation of Indians — or, for that matter, Japanese — will not turn into anti-social elements in the decades to come? For the same reason, perhaps, that adults don’t turn into marauding killers when they watch, say, Gladiator or Die Hard.
Most kids are smarter than they look when it comes to distinguishing between what’s kosher among themselves and what’s allowed only in front of adults. Generations of Tom and Jerry viewers should have morphed into dynamite-friendly psychopaths proving social scientists that their PhDs are bang on. Our advice to concerned parents: give your wards their dose of Shin Chan and don’t make it a post-Jungian issue. The truth is, our ‘respect towards elders’ business has made you miss out on a lot of fun.