i’m davey dammit

9/20/11

Our office assistant Laura has a dog named Dave, who has gone through a number of medical procedures lately (including canine chemotherapy) that has left him occasionally spaced out, and yes, it’s hard to blame him. Today, as he gazed up at me with a particularly mournful look, I instinctively put on a deep Southern drawl and said, “Aww, Davey, it’s okay. God is everywhere!”

My wife, who missed out on all kinds of seminal American experience whilst at her poncy grade school in Scotland, not only orders Big Macs at Wendy’s, but has also never seen “Davey and Goliath”.

I should admit that I’ve probably seen every “D&G” ever made, because they were shown randomly on the Dr. Max Show, a cartoon show hosted by grumpy old Max Hahn after school on the old WMT-TV station in Eastern Iowa. I know what you’re all thinking: yes, WMT actually was one of the only broadcasters west of the Mississippi with call letters starting with “W”!

Anyway, Dr. Max showed all the Bugs Bunny classics with a few terrible “Popeye” episodes mixed in, but once or twice a week we’d get a “Davey and Goliath”. I think they subconsciously reminded me of the claymation Rankin-Bass Christmas specials, so I soldiered through them, even though they were hopelessly boring. Plus, Davey was always in some fuckin’ trouble or another, either getting lost in a cave, keeping money that didn’t belong to him, or plunging into saturnine despair when he grandmother died.

The shows were unapologetically Christian, with frequent references to gospel. Back in the ’70s, when we were latchkey kids frequently alone in the house at the age of 8, folks figured “D&G” worked well enough as morality plays in lieu of actual parenting, and didn’t sweat the religious angle. I never gave it a second thought.

Until today, that is, when I did an impression of Goliath for Laura’s dog, and realized: in this day and age, there is no WAY that show would EVER be shown to kids outside of a special church presentation. The uproar from lefty agnostics accusing the TV networks of brainwashing their precious brood would be deafening, and I WOULD BE ONE OF THEM.

It comes to this. The culture wars have been so scorched-earth and ruinous that neither side has any interest in enduring the other. I will be happy to admit my knee-jerk response to the domination of Christianity in our government (and vast swaths of our culture), and I will cop to overcorrecting, and painting with a grotesquely large brush.

But I will say this: the sickening cant of the Bachmans, Palins, Ashcrofts, Brownbacks, and Santorums of the world has solidified the progressives’ lifelong duty to keep church and state separate. Put another way, if evangelicals and religious, right-wing Republicans weren’t such dicks, I would have no problem with the occasional episode of “Davey and Goliath”. Even the one where Davey accidentally locks himself inside a freight train.

0 thoughts on “i’m davey dammit

  1. C

    Cute entry!! I watched it too. I think it was on Sundays, and there was NOTHING else for kids on Sundays. The religion thing is funny…in my public school, we sang Christmas & Hannukah songs at our holiday assembly ever year, and some of the songs were all about Jesus, and no one complained even though our school was like 50 percent Jewish. I loved those songs. Wouldn’t happen today.

    Reply
  2. Salem

    The aesthetic of that animation, the way they moved, the textures; it was oddly pleasurable, hypnotizing. Of course, I only had three good channels unless I held the dial between two channels, which is where I think I saw the Banana Splits and Lancelot Link.

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  3. Megan

    Yes! I’ll always remember Davey and Goliath along with Highlights magazine in the doctor’s office, especially the Goofus and Gallant cartoon. I miss those innocent days when Christian propaganda seemed relatively harmless and knew its place.

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  4. Laura

    I’m honored Dave made the blog, but you may be giving him too much credit – he probably thought you had food. He thinks everyone has food. It’s the reason he’s so loving.

    Reply
  5. kent

    Davey & Goliath was definitely Christian, but it mostly focuses on right action as opposed to naked proselytizing. It was made by Art Clokey, the man behind Gumby, and his wife did the voice of Davey! I never thought of them as boring, though. They had a unique combination of un-ironic goodheartedness with surreality.
    And you were very young and on the tail end of a cultural sea change. Before about 1970, the parts of the US that weren’t batshit fundamentalist or Mormon were all vaguely Christian. Jews & Muslims just had to grin & bear it. Even if you weren’t church folk, it was vaguely comforting spiritual background noise. D&G was on TV as part of the country’s ambient Christianity. I don’t think most people were offended by it or even thought about it much.
    As opposed to now, where there is such a thing as militant atheists, and an evangelical movement who seem ready to fight a shooting war with anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs. This feels kind of sad & crazy-making, but it’s actually a return to the roots of the United States, which was founded in the middle of a cold-and-occasionally hot war between the Catholics & Protestants. However bitter and rancorous things seem now, it doesn’t have a patch on the way things were in 1800.
    The only thing that kept the US back then from self-immolation over religious divisions was that it was a big and mostly empty country, where you could be a week of bad road away from the people you hated, and growing enough food to eat was way more important than the culture wars. Now we’re all packed together and groping for a way to get along with people with whom we violently disagree.

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  6. Mark

    oddly enough, D&G was shown here on the PBS affiliate early on Sunday morning. It was like pre-Sunday school. There was another companion show called Jot. I suggest you comb the innertubes for it. At any rate, this was before we moved out of this city, late 60s early 70s. I think they’re cancelled.
    For those who don’t know, Adult Swim ran a great parody of D&G type shows called Moral Orel.

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  7. Bob

    In the Columbia County of the early-to-mid 60’s, kids were watching Uncle Jim Fisk and Glendora (Channel 6), The Old Skipper (Channel 10), and Little Lenny (Channel 13). All were avowedly secular, and their shows had that we-just-built-this-set-20-minutes-ago look to them. I think I recall seeing Davey and Goliath on Sunday mornings, but never sat through more than a few seconds of it. The religious nature of the show was obvious, indicating to me that it was nothing any self-respecting kid would watch for entertainment.

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  8. John Galt

    > … Put another way, if evangelicals and religious, right-wing Republicans weren’t such dicks, I would have no problem with the occasional episode of “Davey and Goliath”. Even the one where Davey accidentally locks himself inside a freight train.
    So what you’re saying is that your intolerance toward anything even remotely religious is the fault of the right. Dr. Freud might have a diagnosis for you.

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  9. wottop

    Don’t forget, the separation of church and state is to keep the government from controlling the practice of religion, not the other way around.
    Democracy says that if enough folks want adultery to be illegal, then its illegal, even if it is based on a moral view.
    For the record, those dicks never have and never will speak for me. I am a Christian and will not apologize for that. Those morons on the right proof text their way through the bible to explain their own failings.

    Reply

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