Sunday, February 15, 2004

In one of the cartoons of the "Duck Season/Rabbit Season" variety, there is a scene where Bugs Bunny dresses up as a lady to fool Elmer Fudd. One kiss is all it takes to make Elmer stumble off in a lustful stupor and blast Daffy Duck with his shotgun.

Where to begin.

First, let's look at the actual events. Bugs kisses Elmer. Immediately, Elmer's hunter's hat stiffens on his head, as if...engorged and swollen with blood. This, naturally, is accompanied by a "!BOING!" on the soundtrack. Elmer's eyes widen and he stumbles stiffly over to Daffy. His shotgun immediately goes off in Daffy's face. Elmer stiffens even further with the burst, then relaxes and looks sated. "I need a cigawette," he says. That last part is merely conjecture.

A pretty simple masturbation/come shot scenario, right? Feh.

Let's look at the motivations here; Elmer, thinking it's wabbit season, desires Bugs. And who wouldn't? He's a movie star. Charming. Witty. And a master contortionist. And that tail!

But Bugs is too good for him. He foils Elmer's every attempt at seduction by shotgun. So Elmer shoots his load on Daffy. Daffy Duck is to Elmer Fudd like the submissive girlfriend, quiet, possibly pregnant, who says things like, "Can I get you anything," and "I'm sorry I made you yell at me." The girlfriend who stays at home and does the laundry while her man goes to the office and pursues that young babe in the sales department.

But it goes further than that.

At the heart of things is Elmer's unrequited desire for Bugs. All through the cartoon, Elmer makes desperate, clumsy advances on Bugs. But Bugs purposely deflects him to Daffy, each time managing to inflict agony on the little black(!) duck, but without doing the dirty work himself. And with each attempt, Daffy tries even harder to direct Elmer back at Bugs, continuing the cycle. As the spiral continues, a pattern is established in which Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck both use Elmer Fudd as the proxy in their combative S/M relationship, thus avoiding responsibility for the guilt they feel over their desires.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen

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