This entry is inspired by a video clip my friend and editor sent me this morning. ECB, this one is for you! Thank you.
My generation (and those at least 10 years older than me) grew up with Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry. When the going gets tough, I have nowhere else to turn, and am at a complete loss, I indulge in old episodes of Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry. For years I cheered alongside the Roadrunner, Jerry and Tweety, categorising Tom, Wile E. Coyote and Sylvester as evil characters out to make life miserable for the small and the meek. Ah the folly of youth.
I grew up, made my set of mistakes in life, learned a few valuable lessons, and along the way, became a parent who sat through Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry all over again. Then it hit me, as I watched the episodes as a grown-up, and realised that Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester and Tom were all victims of Jerry, Tweety, and the Roadrunner.
Our instinct in life is to side with the small and seemingly disadvantaged without taking a closer look at things. We take so much for granted and misjudge the other, often cruelly. But Life has a funny way of setting things straight in its own good time. Maybe I am biased because I happen to love cats, or perhaps I don’t believe in the theory that short people always being the victims – on the contrary! Historically speaking, the people of shorter stature who changed the world (for better or for worse) include Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Emperor Hirohito, Mahatma Gandhi, Joan of Arc, and so on.
First of all, short is relative (and no, I will not use the term vertically challenged), and it is all a matter of character. The point of the matter being that sometimes society pre-programmes us to believe that the shorter people are frailer and easily victimised. Let me tell you that us short people (I am 152cm) have to fight back twice as hard, walk twice as fast in order to keep up with the long legged ones on this planet! So no, Jerry, Tweety and the Roadrunner were definitely not helpless short victims.
Life also teaches us to look at people with empathy, not just sympathy. Let’s start with Tom – all he wants is a quiet place to live, but the mouse and the bulldog make it impossible. No matter what he does, he gets blamed for everything, and Jerry is always three steps ahead of. him. Sylvester is in a similar situation, where he tries hard, but ends up making all the wrong decisions and choices. and Wile E. falls victim to his own mistakes and hurts himself more than he can claim achievements. And the others? Jerry, Tweety and the Roadrunner bask in the failure of the others, rub it in their faces, and make litte or no attempt to establish a true friendship with a lifetime companion. They show no remorse or compassion, and worst of all, will find a way to put the blame on the other.
Who said cartoons were just for children? The perspectives changed along the way and so did we. And if you didn’t see it, then you need to watch cartoons again!