June 5, 2011
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Bugs Bunny represents one the great icons the U.S.A. has given the world. He evolved in the golden age of cartoons in the late 1930s and 1940s through the artistry of Chuck Jones and the insuperable voice of Mel Blanc. The authorities of the repressive regime under which I lived tried to suppress him as symbol of capitalistic imperialism. We knew better. Mr. Bunny served no master, either capitalistic or communistic. He is heir (hare?) to the great American tradition of Tom Paine, H.D. Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Twain — with a little P.T. Barnum thrown in. My young teenage friends and I used to watch him broadcast from a bootleg station early in the morning before school on the one black and white television (with rabbit ears) in our village. Bug’s take-no-prisoners, anarchic American humor and no bullsh*t sarcasm kept our spirits going when all seemed lost in the dark days of totalitarian rule. It’s not too much to say he kept freedom alive for us.
It’s sad then that the legacy of Bugs Bunny and Loony Tunes cartoons (when shown at all on television) are sanitized bowdlerized versions edited not to offend anyone. Where is the razor-sharp sarcasm and smart-aleck retort worthy of Jonathon Swift? Are furtive mouthbreathers like Beavis and Butthead and buffoons like Homer Simpson all we have left? Have the fascists of political correctness prevailed? Say it’s not so! Bring back the original, unedited Bugs Bunny cartoons featuring Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck celebrating the full, innocently seditious glory of Americans taking on their own (and the human race’s) constipated sense of self. We need them more then ever.