Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I apologize for the scarcity of posts, but 1) its the end of the semester for me and I'm taking 20 credits (including three 300 level courses), 2) I just moved to a new home, 3) I have 4 children under the age of 7.

I've been busy.

During the move, though, something special happened. Our new place has the magic that is cable TV. Normally, I don't watch TV very much (see items #1, 2, and 3, above) but I have been watching some cartoons with the kids. Anyhoo, I was able to experience my oldest son's first encounter with the Hunting Trilogy of Chuck Jones.

The cartoons called the Hunting Trilogy are the three cartoons titled Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit, Duck!. These cartoons have some importance to trivia buffs like me (they are the only three Warner Brothers cartoons to feature Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny together), but virtually every North American recognizes them as 'the ones where Daffy and Bugs argue that its either rabbit season or duck season'.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself "So his kid saw a cartoon; so what?"
Let me illustrate with a bit of dialogue;
After being shot by Elmer when he expected Bugs to get shot, the following exchange takes place,
Daffy: "Let's run through that again, shall we?"
Bugs: "Sure, Doc."
Daffy (dispassionately): "Its rabbit season, shoot him."
Bugs (also dispassionately): "Would you like to shoot me now or wait 'til you get home?"
Daffy: "Shoot him now, shoot him now."
Bugs: "You keep out of this, he does not have to shoot you now."
Daffy (the light dawns): "A-ha!" (looks at the camera) "Pronoun trouble"

Folks, this isn't 'just a cartoon', this is art. And I don't mean as in 'Fantasia is art', I mean this is good, important, you should learn about it in college art. Where Fantasia was created by a group of guys who wanted to 'prove' they were artists, Rabbit Seasoning and the rest were made by artists trying to make something they would love and be proud of. And the difference in how people react to Fantasia and Rabbit Seasoning shows this. All sorts of TV specials show you the sorceror's apprentice and talk about how 'important' it is. But you don't go to work and talk about fantasia with your co-workers. On the other hand, people watch Rabbit Seasoning all the time and talk about it with each other over the water cooler even though the cartoon was made in 1952. There isn't anything artificial about it, no attempt to be relevant - and that's what makes this 7 minute animated short so cool - the guys who made it just wanted to make the viewer laugh. And we have been laughing for 51 years.

If you think this stuff hasn't seeped into our culture, try this - next time you see two people arguing over some matter (in a friendly way) just interject "rabbit season!" - they'll get the reference. Or look at the movie Drive where two guys are arguing when one suddenly yells "Don't try that Bigs Bunny shit on me! I am not going to tell Elmer to shoot me!"

Or just look at my son, Jack. He laughed his head off at Daffy's spinning beak. And I suspect that 30 years or so from now while his kids are laughing at Daffy's beak, he will be laughing at the same line that gets me every time.

"Pronoun trouble".

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