“It’s just crazy, Mommy,” I shake my head and declare. “I mean, you let us watch all these babyish cartoons but not the ones that are actually FUN.”
Of course, from experience, I know quite clearly that Mommy won’t flinch at this statement. Or budge. Not even an inch. Or a micro-inch – if that were a unit of measurement.
But still, no harm in trying.
I believe in fighting till the very end.
Uh yes, as I have mentioned MANY times before, I am quite dramatic.
Okay, so let’s start right from the beginning. If you are not yet familiar with me, I am Musa, terribly annoyed that I am still 9 and seriously hoping there was some time accelerating machine that would make me a grown-up super fast, so I wouldn’t have to keep asking Mommy for everything.
My twin brother Zayd is also 9 – but he is a more of a placid type. He won’t react, he won’t fight for anything, and he will ALWAYS be polite… It becomes a total pain in the neck.
BUT, this time, I know that even he agrees with me that we need to upgrade ourselves to cartoons like Justice League, Dracula, Oggy and Ben 10. ALL our classmates watch them, and it kind of goes without saying that Zayd and I are not able to participate in a single conversation about it.
We are allowed to watch Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam (with supervision), Thomas the Tank Engine, Scooby Doo (with even greater supervision), Inspector Gadget (strictly not the latest seasons), Transformers Rescue Bots and Mr. Magoo. And we NEVER mention this in the class, because we made this mistake a few years ago, and our classmates roared with laughter at all the “babyish” cartoons we are still watching. Now we just nod and pretend we know what everyone else is talking about.
Today, I decided to make one more attempt. Since Mommy is in a good mood, I broach this topic, hoping she would budge, maybe a bit.
“Well, Musa,” Mommy smiles at me. “I think you might have a point there. So why don’t you decide for yourself what you want to watch.”
My mouth drops open. Zayd looks equally flummoxed.
“I have a handy checklist for you,” Mommy continues. “I compiled it a few days back. Run every cartoon by this list and you can decide what is worth your time. Fair enough?”
She hands us a list and we peek at it curiously.
Zayd & Musa’s Ultimate Cartoon Checklist
- This cartoon is giving out the message that good triumphs over evil.
- This cartoon is not glorifying or encouraging people to be evil.
- Its characters are modestly dressed.
- Its characters are making actual conversation, not just grunting or making irritating noises.
- It does not contain extensive violence / fighting / people getting hurt.
- It does not contain foul language.
- This cartoon does not make me feel uncomfortable.
- It does not have adult themes that are inappropriate for children.
- I can watch this cartoon with my younger cousins without any reservations.
- It is not promoting an un-Islamic theme / holiday.
- Should I watch it? Yes / No
“Honestly, Mommy!” I am a bit bewildered. “If we are to run everything by this list, we can’t watch even a single cartoon.”
“You can watch Paw Patrol,” Zayd begins to giggle, and I glare at him.
“The idea is to eliminate all those cartoons that are promoting the wrong kind of ideas,” Mommy explains. “We let you watch some cartoons for a limited time. Watching too many even innocent cartoons would be a waste of time. And as I’ve said many times…”
“A Mumin’s time is too valuable,” Zayd and I say in unison.
“Exactly! Many cartoons like Justice League or even Superman, for instance, that used to promote the idea that good wins over evil are now blurring those lines. When you keep watching the bad guys winning, it affects you. And it also counters what we teach you in real life.”
“Ah, the anti hero!” Zayd nods.
Mommy looks a bit surprised and I quickly interject. “It’s what the kids at school talk about.”
“People can make mistakes,” Mommy explains. “Only Allah (swt) is Perfect and the door to repentance is open. But to glorify anyone’s errors under the guise of an anti hero is unacceptable. Even if they are the heroes in a cartoon, they must be shown getting some punishment for the destruction they cause.”
“So, what now?” I look forlornly at the list in my hand.
“Well, if you come across a new cartoon, you know how to judge it,” Mommy smiles. “Don’t look so upset, Musa. There will always be some good stuff that will pass the test.”
“And that will be worthy of our time,” Zayd nods.
“You can subscribe to some YouTube channels like Wild Kratts that contain awesome stuff. By the way, do you know there are some apps like Canva that let you create your own comic strips? You can use those to make your own cartoon characters that do only cool and amazing stuff. You can talk about that in the class. And ask your friends to give you ideas,” Mommy looks at us, expectantly.
“No way! REALLY? We can make our own cartoon characters?” I am so excited I actually start bouncing.
“Of course, you can. No need to be behind the times. You can actually be ahead of the times.”
Yes! That is exactly what we will be. My mind is already filled with endless possibilities.