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I have an iPod dream

Justin Tardiff | Friday, January 20, 2006

There is nothing as blissfully anti-intellectual as the late night cartoon comedy block (because the anime it contains is to be avoided) on Cartoon Network known as [adult swim].

The most well-known show, and also my personal favorite, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” features a genius box of French fries, a trouble-making milkshake and a lovable mentally handicapped wad of raw meat, all living under one roof in Jersey, next to the outstandingly irritable and libidinous Carl, clothed in a wife-beater and blue sweatpants.

This is basically the format of [adult swim] cartoons. There is some crazy situation with eccentric characters from which hilarity (usually) ensues. There is rarely a conventional plotline or message. The best way to describe these shows, in all truthfulness, is “dumb.”

This, however, is not really the case with a show new to both [adult swim] and television itself: “The Boondocks,” adapted from the politically- and socially-charged comic strip by Aaron McGruder that is syndicated in about 350 American newspapers.

Over break, I was fortunate to catch the Martin Luther King Day episode, entitled “Return of the King.”

The premise of the episode is this: when MLK was shot, he slipped into a coma, but failed to die. He comes to in the present day, and moves to Chicago, where the main characters, Huey and Riley Freeman and their grandfather Robert, live.

It turns out that Robert and MLK were brothers in the civil rights movement (Robert was sitting next to Rosa Parks, but she got all the attention). Through their relationship, Riley, a politically aware “urban youth,” meets and immediately accepts Dr. King as a comrade-in-arms, asking him to head up America’s first black political party.

MLK, however, has been branded by the media as anti-American for believing his country should turn the other cheek to al-Qaeda. In addition, he has basically been forgotten by those he nearly gave up his life for.

The most memorable line of the show, in my opinion, is MLK saying, “I’m not sure if I need a 20 gig iPod or a 40 gig.”

There is so much truth revealed about our society in that simple line. There are so many social injustices left in the world for our generation to face, yet how often do we find ourselves more concerned with the type of iPod or video game system we should buy? Even MLK’s famous dream hasn’t been fully realized, and not enough people seem to realize that. It is ironic that the progress we have made in the past 40 years has blinded us from the problems we have in front of us.

We are all guilty, to some extent, of not picking up where Dr. King left off.