My daughter's really into Donald Duck right now, so I've watched about five thousand Donald Duck cartoons on youtube in the last week or so. Believe it or not, they all seem to follow a similar formula: Donald does something to piss off some kind of woodland creature, then they get revenge on him.
In the past week, I've seen Donald fall from a 30 foot tree, plummet from several cliffs, and be exploded countless times. As I was watching him run his sled into a tree stump masked by a snowman, I couldn't help but think of my patients who ended up with serious brain or spinal cord injuries because they hit a tree on the ski slopes. As Donald made impact with the tree, I winced as I thought about broken bones, halo vests, intubation, central lines...
But none of that happens in the cartoon. Obviously. Slamming into a tree at 60 MPH definitely is an annoyance to Donald, but the only thing he appeared to damage in the accident was the winter coat he was wearing. (The winter coat was destroyed virtually beyond repair.) When a bunch of ants pushed him off a 100 foot cliff to get at his picnic basket, he yelled out in fury and climbed right back up the cliff to get revenge on those ants. When ten sticks of dynamite explode in his face, he just adjusts his beak and moves on.
Yes, I know cartoons are not supposed to be realistic, but this is really beginning to bother me. It disturbs me not just as a mother who wants my daughter to know the consequences of violence, but also as a doctor who has seen countless veterans with severe permanent brain injury from IED blasts. I need to see Donald experience the consequences of his actions in some way. I mean, they don't have to show him on a ventilator, but if he falls off a cliff, at least show him limping a little in the next scene.
And for the record, a second head bonk is NOT a cure for brain injury.