"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black, cat-shaped holes in the universe."
-- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Looney New Year

(Oops!  Sorry!  The images from this blog post have been removed.)

I’m watching the Looney Toons marathon on the Cartoon Network.  There is something really comforting about starting off the new year with images from my childhood.  Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn… they’re all here.

A few minutes ago Wile E. Coyote tried his best to eat that pesky Road Runner.  Sadly, even with the help of his plethora of ACME products, he was unable to succeed.  He spread slimy green glue all over the road, only to become stuck in it himself, right when a big truck was coming.  Oops.  Hi tied himself to a rocket and tried to blast himself across a big canyon.  The rocket actually made it, but the poor coyote came untied halfway across.  After remaining suspended in the air for quite a length of time, assessing his situation, making various forlorn expressions, and holding up a sign that said “YIKES” he plummeted to the ground below.  Ouch.

Each time he got smushed, he reappeared seconds later in the middle of some new scatterbrained scheme.  I thought I remembered seeing him squished but alive, or popping back up and shaking himself back to normal form again.  But no.  Truck approaches speedily, the screen shows the cartoon stars that mean impact, and then there’s the coyote building a rocket.  He falls into the canyon until he’s nothing but a tiny speck, the screen shows the puff of dust that means impact, and then there’s the coyote putting on a ridiculous roadrunner costume.  Instant rebirth.

As I watched him fail over and over again, I wondered, what were these cartoons supposed to teach us?  If you don’t succeed, try try again?  Evil never wins?  Life isn’t fair?
And then I realized.

These cartoons were – gloriously – not trying to teach us anything.  They were simply meant to entertain and make us laugh.

No morals at the end about safety first.  No subtle lessons about accepting those who are different.  No subliminal reminders to brush our teeth and eat our vegetables.  Just unrealistic, ridiculous, and often violent humor.  That’s all, folks!

And that is why I love them so much.

(Images from:  mbtitruths.blogspot.com, xtltxclan.webs.com, and filmcomposerblog.com)

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