Made By Acme

January 20, 2006

I grew up on Saturday morning cartoons. From the age of three to about fourteen almost every Saturday morning was devoted to cartoon watching, which comes to about 572 Saturdays wasted. Well, maybe they weren’t strictly speaking wasted, and there was a three-year period when I also played soccer on Saturday mornings in the winter. I still managed to squeeze in some cartoon-watching time on those days, even if most of the morning was spent running around a soccer field wearing shorts and a short-sleeve polyester shirt in 30-degree weather. That was actually my parents’ idea. They didn’t think sitting in front of the television for six hours every Saturday was healthy as getting pneumonia.

But I digress. My earliest cartoon memories are of the Flintstones and Jetsons. The Flintstones were all right, but much funnier when it was just Jackie Gleason and Art Carney and not a bunch of smart-alecky dinosaurs. And am I the only kid who wondered why the Flintstones bothered with those foot-powered cars when walking would have been easier? The Jetsons, on the other hand, was just disturbing. I don’t want to imagine what post-apocalyptic horrors on Earth forced everyone to live in mile-high flying Plexiglas bubbles, gave teenage girls gray hair, and turned pre-pubescent boys into blonde versions of Peter Lorre.

But I digress. The best cartoons, of course, were the classics: Bugs Bunny, Daffy, and Elmer Fudd. My favorites were the Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons. In college I even wrote a paper comparing the plight of Wile E. Coyote to the existential Everyman figures in works like Camus’s "The Myth of Sisyphus" and Beckett’s "Act Without Words". This proved, first, that Chuck Jones was such an unbelievable genius that he could take really depressing philosophy and turn it into comedy, and, secondly, that I was just smart enough to turn comedy into depressing philosophy but not smart enough to know this was a bad idea.

But I digress. I can’t seem to find the old Warner Brothers cartoons on Saturday mornings anymore. This is probably because they’re all available on DVD, but also because several years ago there was a big out cry over Bugs Bunny promoting violence. This makes him inferior to, say, all those saccharine cartoons from the mid-1980’s that were designed to promote stuffed toys, sugar-coated peanut-butter Blitzies (the only breakfast cereal to have to be stored in toxic waste dumps), or those imported Japanese cartoons that only promote seizures and Quentin Tarantino films.

But I digress. The sad thing is that Saturday morning cartoons aren’t just limited to Saturday mornings anymore. They’re on all the time. At the risk of sounding like the 2,000 year-old man, kids today just don’t appreciate what things were like in my day when Saturday morning cartoons were something special. These kids probably wouldn’t appreciate getting pneumonia either. I’m just smart enough to be depressed by this but not smart enough to make it funny.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don’t know what to feed it.

I had amnesia once — or twice.

Protons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic.

All I ask is a chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.

What is a "free" gift? Aren’t all gifts free?

They told me I was gullible…and I believed them.

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he’ll never be able to merge his car onto a freeway.

Two can live as cheaply as one, for half as long.

Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.

One nice thing about egotists: they don’t talk about other people.

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.

If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?

Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, and I’ll show you a man who can’t get his pants off.

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