Rules For Rabbitals
Bugs calls a square-dance tune… [and] redefines the courtship ritual of the dance — a means of channeling and controlling sexual energy — into a fiercely homoerotic ballet.
A Slate article claiming that “Looney Tunes” cartoons were far more brutal than we remember them. James Lileks at National Review concedes the issue, upon the condition that “you’ve had your sense of humor surgically removed, and replaced with an oversized gland that produces chemicals responsible for compulsive frowning.”
What Slate completely missed, and Lileks zeroes in on, is that apparently progressives ran rampant at Warner Brothers studios. Lileks continues, pointing out that the same episode, “Duck! Rabbit, Duck!”
…contains messages that should hearten the heart of a Slate writer, for it contains a very modern message about identity. As you may recall, the plot concerns Fudd’s confusion over which season it is: Wabbit, or Duck? The signage is confusing. Daffy self-identifies as a duck, and this being the ’40s, he is locked in a fixed identity, a product of a culture that says if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it is a duck. But as we now know, “species” is as fluid as any other form of identity.
And that’s something Bugs reveals in a very subversive sequence. Daffy uses colloquial expressions to describe his mood, noting that he feels like a goat. Whereupon Bugs produces a sign that says it is Goat Season. Fudd unloads accordingly. It may look like violence. But it’s really acceptance. If Daffy says he is a goat then he is a goat. He may suffer the consequences, but Fudd has affirmed his statement of identity. Over the course of the cartoon Daffy identifies with various species, and in each instance Bugs has an appropriate placard to nudge Fudd toward accepting the fluid spectrum on which Daffy may choose to locate himself.
Half a century before Facebook’s 57 genders, Warner Brothers was laying the groundwork.
Read the entire piece, and wonder, “How many times did Bugs do himself up in drag again…?”
Speaking of groundwork…. WB cartoons clearly revealed their pseudo-intellectual worldview and love of scientific sounding formulas over empirical reality throughout the “Foghorn Leghorn” cartoons, where the title character was often shown up by the runty, bespectacled Egghead Jr. –