What surprises me the most
Is having watched Looney Tunes
As an adult, I see Bugs Bunny is in the role of Squidward.
Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian,
The Tasmanian Devil,
They are basically Sponge Bob
And Patrick, and Mr. Crabs.
It’s almost eerie in a way
That we’ve moved from the Looney Tunes
Where the characters were defending themselves
From being eaten, from their homes being invaded,
From a whole host of things and aggression.
But, Sponge Bob, Patrick, Sandy and Mr. Crabs
Come and destroy Squidward’s life over
And over, and over, and over again.
Now the home invader is Sponge Bob
And it’s ok. The person with the right
To privacy, the right to live and let live
Is being invaded by Sponge Bob.
I don’t say this to say that Sponge Bob is a bad cartoon.
I like the cartoon.
I just think it displays our modern archetype
Of the victim being the one to blame
Because they are stuffy, or whatever reason we find.
Often Squidward is innocent in every episode,
And we find a narcissistic pattern in all the characters.
Which, seems to reflect the society.
Did it build the society?
Art tends to do that better than any medium
Because it works on a powerful,
And it does…
The question is our response to it as a culture.
Do we let things continue down this path
Of Sociopathy, Psychopathy,
Criminal Negligence, etc.
Because Bugs Bunny always had justice on his side.
It seems Sponge Bob does not…
Very frankly our culture reflects this reality
By giving the Sponge Bob like people
Those haphazard, foolish,
Zealous and lustful about life
The reward, which is happiness.
We prize Sponge Bob in our modern culture
Because he doesn’t question the corruption
Around him, but rather is part of the corruption itself.
You can say Squidward is, too,
But in a sense he’s being exploited
And is in indentured servitude
At least implied a dozen times in the cartoon.
So… it’s eerie that this is our moral compass today.
And again, Sponge Bob is not a bad cartoon.
I think, though, the challenge it presents
To the former ethos is one that presents
Within its design and internal logic
A pattern of corruption that seems to celebrate
People who are overworked,
People who are exploited,
And people who are content with being exploited.
That’s the sum difference of Looney Tunes and Sponge Bob.
Looney Tunes the characters fought back.
Both are excessively violent, and display the same
Lewd sexual undertones.
That’s not the issue.
The issue is which side has justice.
And Bugs and Daffy Duck
We saw this same thing…
It’s something cartoons exploit.
It’s not something that ought to be censored.
But often, justice is a very powerful thing
And we need to at least have some semblance of it in our art
As I’m pretty sure most of our problems today
Stem from our art.
The reason why is because
They put ideas in our head
That weren’t there previously,
You can lie and say it doesn’t affect you
But you don’t know what an arm being torn off looks like
Until you’ve seen it on TV.
You don’t know what a penis entering a vagina looks like
Until you see it on TV.
I remember flagrantly in my youth
Trying to imagine both
And I couldn’t
Until I had seen it.
And that alone, with the myriad of other problems
Shows how our art is exploitative and a cultural movement needs to change it.