Our hero rips down the road at blinding speed, kicking up a vapor trail of sand that lingers in the hot heavy air of the Nevada desert. He’s running for his life you know… being chased by a relentless predator who wants to eat him for lunch. He suddenly stops on a dime in front of a stone wall, painted to look like the road disappearing into the horizon. He ain’t fallin’ for it.
He turns to face the predator, barreling down on him at breakneck speed. He literally has his back against the wall, but demonstrates defiance in his last seconds on this earth. He sticks out his tongue, sadistically mocking the predator and his stupid trap, then turns and runs impossibly into the painted scene. The predator tries to put on the foot brakes, but his momentum carries him straight into the now solid wall, flattening his snout like a pancake. But does he give up? No! Does he lay down and die? No!! He pulls out his face with a loud “sproing!” and then walks off to plan his next attack with his ACME catalog and seemingly endless supply of coyote currency.
Saturday morning morality was not always so cut and dried. Was I supposed to be cheering for the Roadrunner, who had super speed and enough intelligence to avoid the perpetual traps that were set for him? Or was I supposed to admire Wile E. Coyote… who never gave up, even after suffering humiliating defeat after defeat in his attempt to get some food. I mean… maybe he had a coyote family back at his cave and little cubs who were starving too?
Perhaps this cartoon was more sophisticated than we thought. Was Chuck Jones showing us the futility of chasing after something we know we’ll probably never get? (But wait… don’t give up because your next bright idea might just work.) Or was he just trying to make us feel a little bit better about our own pain? (Gee I had a rough day, but at least I didn’t fall off a cliff and crash in a tiny puff of smoke at the bottom of the canyon.)
Whatever the director’s intent, I think the Roadrunner cartoons were really about the entertainment value of humiliation. It’s the same magnetic trainwreck effect that drives the popularity of reality contest shows like American Idol today. Humiliation sells. But is it really just harmless fun to watch the poor untalented coyote candidates get mocked by the roadrunner judges and sent home crying? Can’t we just start the show after the good ones are selected?
As the lines blur between hero and villain, between civility and cruelty, I ask… who do you identify with more – the gleefully talented Roadrunner, or the tragic Wile E. Coyote?
Me? I gotta run. I’m hungry and I can’t find my ACME catalog.
David, this was a truly great article…. I had no idea the depth of your dimensions dude! Your a wiz with a keyboard and have the imagination & creativity to back it up, putting your thoughts into words that draw the reader in.
Have you ever thought of writing for Helium? If you haven’t heard of them yet I suspect that you will really enjoy what you find….
It’s free and a great tool for writers such as yourself…. I’ll send you an email invite now….
Keep writing my friend….
As I read your blog, I immediately compared the American public with the road runner and the Obama led congress with Wile Coyote. Right now, Congress is in full pursuit of of the American people and trying to ram a socialist agenda down the throats of the American people. This includes the Stimulus package, cap and trade and nationalized health care.
Hopefully, the American public can disappear into the painted wall and come out the other side unscathed by the Wily Coyotes. Hopefully an aroused pupblic will set some traps and catch the wily coyotes, such as Pelosi, Reed, Frank, Schumer, Kennedy and Obama, and utilize the Courts to send them to a different venue (gray in color).
To answer your question, I side with the road runner.
I have to say that I”ve watched many Roadrunner cartoons in my day,and the most I’ve ever come away from it was, its was funny. Because it was a CARTOON, thats all it was. I grow up thinking Cartoons was made to get you to “laugh”. There was no moral values or reality base to them. I understood that anything was possible in them because they weren’t real.. they were CARTOONS. TV has become soon overpowering that we have forgotten it was invented to “entertain” us.
That’s why I choice to watch TV for two reasons. First is the News, mainly for the Temperature, and to hear “what they say is going on in the World”, with an understand ear that knows its only one side of a story. Second reason I watch is to be “Entertained”.
That’s why I generally just watch Movies. In movies anything is possible and your taken to all kinds of worlds,stories and characters. And at the end of the Movie, there’s only one thing that cross my mind is ” was it entertaining”. nNews
George, you make a good point. But where’s the fun in accepting something at face value? Don’t you ever wonder WHY you are entertained? Maybe I’m just getting old. You seem to still be in touch with your inner child 🙂
No I never ask WHY, because that would mean it had reality. Todays TV has gotten everyone into the reality concept. People have become programed to watching the lives of others thru Reality Shows. By viewing the actions of others with shows like, The Bachelor, Hammertime, or and the one about the couple with the 8 kids…it allows people to pass judgement on the life of others instead of they self. And what a coup for the TV industry, why pay Professional Actors, just put a group of mismatched people together in one House and watch the DRAMA unfold….
ME.. I don’t want to call in my vote, or interact live with the program I’m watching, No I just want to laugh and be entertained..
George I really miss you at Tracy Toastmasters 🙂