May 8, 2012

But Why Are You Hunting Wabbits?

The ending's a little heteronormative, but Bill Benzon's New Savanna blog post is probably the most extensive discussion of myth logic in What's Opera, Doc? you'll find anwhere:

At this point I see a pile of questions which I'm not prepared to address. For one thing, Elmer vs. Bugs had been a staple of Warner Brothers cartoons for years. Most people in the audience would know this. But how would What's Opera, Doc? play for those who didn't know that? And what about relatively young children who had not yet absorbed the conventions of cartoons, such as the fact that, no matter how much violence we see, no one is injured?

Not only is the Bugs/Elmer conflict a known item, but it's almost always presented as an on-going conflict. Elmer and Bugs have a long-standing relationship. Elmer's not hunting any arbitrary rabbit, he's hunting this particular wabbit. It's personal, and has been for some time.

whats_opera_doc_savanna.jpg

What does it mean to be locked into THAT kind of conflict? It's as though a significant component of Elmer's identity is invested in his conflict with Bugs. That kind of conflict is steeped in ambivalence. The love duet in this cartoon was no mere act; it revealed an aspect of the relationship between Bugs and Elmer that's otherwise been completely masked in standard-issue cartoon violence and conflict.

I confess, I've wondered this too, and if showing this Bugs & Elmer cartoon first, out of sequence, is somehow going to stunt her understanding of the genre. But so far, we've seen no ill effects.

Intimate Enemies: What's Opera, Doc? [new-savanna, republished at berfrois]

1 Comment

In fact when someone doesn't know then its up to other visitors that they will assist, so here it takes place.

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