Cartoon Metaphysics: The Trickster, The Teacher, & The Eternal Struggler

I. The Trickster

Bugs Bunny holds truth in the balance. He’s always in your face with it. Someone’s coming to get him, Bugs Bunny meets the enemy in the field of battle through surprise and subterfuge and sabotage.

Bugs Bunny will keep eating his carrots, asking Gd’s first question of Adam:

“Eh, [nom, nom, nom], what’s up, doc?”

A trickster. A survivor.

Perverse deviant.

Defiant hero who always saves the day.

He is Hershel of Ostropol. He is Joha.

He is Anansi. He is Brer Rabbit.

He is Coyote. He is Chango.

He is the Baal Shem Tov.

He is Harriet Tubman.

He is Mark Twain.

He is the soul of every rock and roll heart.

By many names goes the trickster, always outsmarting and outdoing whoever needs outsmarting and outdoing.

While his enemies gear up to hunt him down, Bugs is always on the move challenging their very perception of reality, short-circuiting recognition of actuality.

He changes the world as we know it.

When Elmer Fudd comes along and tries to play his game, Bugs never loses confidence and just ups the ante, dissolving one frame of reference for another as easily as that thief of hearts gaslights a nation.

Bugs Bunny doesn’t play your game. He changes all the rules at whim and makes you play by his standards.

While the goal of the hunter is to win, the goal of the hunted is to survive.

Elmer Fudd will always hunt and Bugs will never run out of carrots.

II. The Teacher

Gd is Lucy and we are Charlie Brown.

We keep coming back hoping this will be the day.

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It never is, but one day she’ll finally decide we’re ready to actually kick the ball.

We work ourselves up to it. We can see our foot connecting with the ball.

We can feel the power of gravity being momentarily defied and the bounce deeply reverberating through our instep, satisfying and nostalgic.

We can see our fulfillment. We’ve trained for it. We’ve practiced. We’ve visualized.

Next time around, we will kick that ball. And it will go the distance.

But it’s not all up to us because holding the ball is the Judge.

Gd is Lucy with a reassuring smirk and we are Charlie Brown dizzy and loose-necked.

We keep falling and we keep getting up.

We keep coming back, against all sense and hope.

We always come back and try again.

Ultimately, we know we can do it.

But Lucy has her own agenda.

III. The Eternal Struggler

No matter what, despite all appearances, Wile E. Coyote has been lucky for quite a while. The Cartoonist keeps drawing and keeps letting his story repeat itself in all of its variations time and again despite his stupidity and creative self-destruction.

We love to watch him. We wonder, “How will the Road Runner trick him and get away this time? How will the idiot screw up this time?” In the end, his death defying falls and crashes are cured with mere wraps of gauze and perhaps a crutch. We worry not, because next time we see him he’ll be fine, ready to go again, chasing the Road Runner like the dream pacing our every waking step.

Why doesn’t he give up?

We know why, don’t we?

We know why because we know Wile E. Coyote all too well.

Despite everything, we keep chasing. Life is the struggle. If the Road Runner was ever caught, Wile E. Coyote would cease to be. Damn it all and run into that wall.

Some gauze and a crutch will fix you right up to get back at it again.

The Cartoonist demands it.





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