I grew up with Looney Tunes, actually watching new cartoons at the movies. Yes, they actually played new cartoons before the feature movie. Bugs Bunny and the Roadrunner were my favorites. As young and unsophisticated as I was, I understood I was watching cartoons—fictional characters—and the cartoons were funny because they were exaggerated and absurd, but still revealed substantial insight into human nature.
A child, I knew you could not squash people with an Acme safe, or a piano dropped from great heights, only to have them reappear unharmed in the next scene. I knew you couldn’t fall off a mountain, dropping miles ending with a little “poof” of dust on the valley floor far below without dying. I knew if you shot someone, they were injured or killed rather than merely having their face blackened. And I knew you couldn’t cause a gun barrel to explode by sticking your finger in the muzzle when the trigger was pulled.
Still, the wild explosions, implausible physics, clever tricks and outlandish—cartoonish—violence were funny because they were clever and outlandish, and I did not try—as they say—any of that at home. Even kids were smart enough to tell the difference between cartoons and reality. Not the adults of today, as the Washington Examiner reports:
Classic cartoon character Elmer Fudd won’t be holding his famed rifle in a reboot of the Looney Tunes series.
HBO Max premiered the remake of Looney Tunes Cartoons last week, and the executive producer told the New York Times that weapons such as dynamite and other ‘Acme stuff’ will be used in the series but not guns.
‘We’re not doing guns,’ Peter Browngardt said. ‘But we can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff. All that was kind of grandfathered in.’
Let me see if I understand this: explosions, falling safes, ACME rockets, catapults, all manner of other mayhem, but not guns? Right. Well what the hell will Elmer Fudd, clad as a stereotypical hunter, be carrying?
A scythe?! Fudd can’t twy to shoot the wabbit, but he can cweave him in two? How can Fudd wind up with black face from an exploding gun with a scythe? Perhaps he can wind up covered in blood when he accidently cuts off a limb or his head? Won’t that be funny?
Character Yosemite Sam will also not be using guns as weapons, according to outlet Comic Book.
Yosemite Sam without his six-shooters, ineffectually blasting up the landscape and floor?! What’s he going to do? Have an anxiety attack and take some Valium? Consarn it!
We’re going through this wave of anti-bullying, everybody needs to be friends, everybody needs to get along,’ he said. ‘Looney Toons is pretty much the antithesis of that. It’s two characters in conflict, sometimes getting pretty violent.
Riiiiight. Because any child that has ever been bullied will be triggered by Bugs, Elmer and Sam. Someone send these people to a basic literature course. Literature—movies, even cartoons—require conflict, something that needs resolution, something that cause characters to interact in interesting, dramatic, tragic, and in the case of cartoons, funny, ways. Cartoon plots are generally simple: Elmer Fudd wants to hunt wabbits. Bugs Bunny is to smart to be hunted and plays with Fudd until he finally gives up, or Bugs delivers a particularly satisfying prank. But sometimes, cartoons deliver cultural content, like the classic Fudd/Bugs Wagnerian operetta: “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!”
It used to be said that Puritanism is the fear that somewhere, someone is having fun. Circa 2020, that aphorism best applies to wokeness, and/or D/S/C philosophy. Elmer Fudd has to chase Bugs Bunny with an instrument appropriate to the Grim Reaper. In essence, the self imagined elite, our moral and intellectual superiors, are providing Fudd with the very symbol of death—the death of humor in cartoons, and in public discourse.