FROM THE VALLEY: Funny How It Is Not Funny
Updated: Jun 18
By Tom Valley
“Everything is absurd but fewer and fewer things are funny.” - Alexandra Petri – Humorist, columnist, author, Renaissance gal.
With all that's going on in the world, you'd think non-serious writers (C'est moi, par exemple) would have an unlimited supply of topics to pick from. Well, in a way, we do, kind of. Unfortunately, no matter which comedic-slant we put on a subject, we're guaranteed to rankle feathers because of the diverse, super-sensitive and over-reactive society we live in.
And against common-sense, that delicate posturing results in decisions, from art to politics, being made by the few instead of the many.
Example: Warner Brothers' popular cartoon adventures with Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd have been revived by the folks at HBO. (HBO Max). However, don't expect it to be quite the same. Elmer will no longer be carrying his trusty 'wabbit' hunting 'wifle.'
Executive producer Peter Brownhardt explained, because of the times “we're not doing guns.” He added, “cartoon violence,” yes ... guns, no. That's an interesting statement based on the sheer incompatibility of the message.
Nonetheless, because of the politically-charged atmosphere regarding gun-control, Elmer will be without his usual gun. A gun, which, as you know, is what people use to go rabbit hunting – and, if you're totally oblivious, rabbit hunting is the whole premise of the cartoon. Wow! Franky, Scarlett, I'm baffled.
Furthermore, it's been announced that a giant scythe will be used to replace the Fudd-man's gun. Yup, I'm serious, a scythe. He'll be wielding one of those long-handled ginkuses with an enormous curved blade on the end.
(Which by the way, is the preferred choice of eradication for Death, the specter-in-black, who lugs one around scaring the by-Jesus out of everyone. How cool is that?! )
By all advance announcements, it seems that Elmer's musket has been kicked from the drawing-board-room due to pressure, from someone's … actually, more than one someone's … inability to differentiate a silly cartoon from reality. Ludicrous.
Analyzing this, I can only assume that the thought process was: being shot by a cartoon gun was too much. So they conjured up a perceived more-civilized approach. Namely, decapitation. Nice. Humongous, intimidating machetes being flailed around in the woods is a much more comforting, less disturbing visual. Pellet holes, no way… lifeless, gory heads rolling around on the ground, yes-sirree, Bob! Right on, dude.
Personally, my opinion is that if anything really needed to be addressed, I would have thought it would have been the tasteless gag which made fun of Elmer's speech impediment. Rhotactism is the affliction where one pronounces “R's” as “W's”. A real disorder. Kind of uncool. But whatever. (Admittedly, it's an integral part of the character. I get that, too.)
Next, referring back to the “absurd' part in Petri's quote, check this out. A shoe-cobbler - (that may sound redundant, but if I just said cobble I have friends who would have thought I was talking about a fruit pie) - anyhow, this shoe-guy was alarmed after seeing so many people not following the social distancing recommendations. So he took action.
Fifty-five year old, Grigore Lup from Romania, started making shoes which were two and a half feet-long. He reasoned that if two people were wearing his shoes and facing each other, they'd be 5 feet apart. He was selling them for $115 a pair. True!
Not to step on his toes, but couldn't someone just go to a clown store and buy the same thing a lot cheaper? And maybe even get a red-nose or water-squirting daisy thrown in with the deal? And, out of practicality, assuming the pandemic abates and restrictions are soon lifted, what do you do with a pair of two and a half foot long shoes sitting in the closet? Turn them into water-skis? Here's a better idea, what's it cost for a couple cloves of garlic? That would work ...no? Just wondering.
Do you know what feet actually are? They're devices to find Legos during the night-time trip to the can. Comedy, folks, p-u-r-e comedy.
Finally: Happy June birthdays to my wife Kathie, my grandsons Owen and Jack and my son Paul. Love you all.
I'm outta here.
And that's the way it looks from the Valley.