My Hero is a Looney Tune
Roi J. Tamkin
Heroes nowadays are a dime a dozen. Whether it’s a celebrity role model, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, or just your dad, people who perform extraordinary feats are around us everyday. A fireman who rescues a life or a citizen who gives food to the homeless are both heroes. But as we move forward in our technological information age, what is the relevance of an “everyday hero”? What role should a hero perform in contemporary society?
Ultimately, a hero must be someone who is timeless and influences another person to act in a similar fashion. My hero transcends time and has universal appeal. My hero is an icon to all Americans who see this world as a place of opportunity and to always come out on top. Although he’s essentially an American version of Loki, the Norse god of mischief, I speak of my hero, Bugs Bunny.
Bugs Bunny is the number one rabbit, known worldwide for his rascally and wily antics. He is the star of one hundred seventy-five animated films, with one Academy Award for the 1958 cartoon Knighty Knight Bugs . He first appeared as a bit-player as a hyperactive rabbit in the 1938 short Porky’s Hare Hunt . He returned as a co-star in 1939’s Hare-um Scare-um . Tex Avery finally made Bugs Bunny a star in his 1940 cartoon, A Wild Hare . For sixty years, Bugs Bunny has been entertaining children and adults through World War Two, prosperity, recession and basketball-playing space aliens. His TV series, The Bugs and Tweety Show has been the highest rated Saturday morning show for thirty years. With cable, he now stars on two more shows. Plus he has starred in four feature films. In 1985, Bugs Bunny was awarded his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
My childhood years were spent watching his six minute cartoons on Saturday morning. For me, Bugs Bunny opened up a world of imagination. A world where characters had anvils dropped on their heads and dynamite exploded in their faces, but no one ever died. I knew real life was not full of anvils, sledgehammers and red sticks of TNT. But Bugs made my world fun. Mischief was playful. Comedy became the most important thing in my life. Making people laugh brought me friends. The cartoons taught lessons to children. Violence was never an answer to solve problems. Bugs never carried a weapon, but whether it was a shotgun-toting Elmer Fudd or a pistol-wielding Yosemite Sam, Bugs always came out on top without a hare out of place. I also learned that wearing pants only led to being stripped to one’s polka dot shorts and being ultimately humiliated. Bugs never wore pants. Obviously, nudity was superior to wearing clothes.
But it is as an adult, reviewing his cartoons, that he has become my hero. Beyond the moniker and the accent lies the real truth of what Bugs Bunny stands for as an American Icon. Bugs Bunny faced every challenge with intelligence and a sharp wit that ensured he would succeed every time. To succeed in the face of adversity is a lesson for adulthood. Do not shrink away from every trail we face. Use your brain to stand down your enemies. As a role model, Bugs was sharp-minded and extremely confident. Bugs was much more cerebral than other cartoon characters. He was able to see the entire picture, evaluate the situation and turn it around so he always come out ahead. Another thing I learned was that nudity and cross-dressing were acceptable as long as it meant winning.
We need to look no further than Bugs Bunny for a hero in our contemporary society. Confident, intelligent, unpredictable, cagey and above all funny. A hero, an icon, a savior for our generation.