Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Wisdom of Looney Toons

A little more than five years ago I turned off what the late, great offbeat genius (is there any other kind?) Arch Oboler called "the Twonky" (he was also the same guy who made the first 3-D movie, 1952's rousing Bwana Devil, which was about lions eating railroad workers. Hey, if some doofi try to build a railroad through my backyard, they'll find out what "Jose Greco de la Muerte" -- flamenco dancers of death -- really are.*

Okay, I didn't turn it off completely. I just turned off the bad stuff. Modern TV gives a distorted view of life, sort of like reading H.P. Lovecraft while you have a really bad fever. I mean, who in their right mind takes Cops seriously?

I found I didn't miss television. Who wants to put distorted views into their brains? What good can that possibly do? I'm still trying to get out all the gunk put in mine by the public schools. Distortions are lies. If the truth is supposed to set us free, what do distortions and lies do to us? Enslave us, maybe?

What little TV I do watch tends to be cartoons, especially the old Looney Toons I was raised on as a kid. The stuff today on Saturday morning is just horrible. Whatever happened to Tutor Turtle and Mr. Wizard? Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman? Fractured Fairy Tales? No wonder Japanese anime is so popular, or cartoons like The Simpsons, Spongebob Squarepants and South Park. At least none of them tell me if I don't carpool the icecaps will melt.

Of all of the ones I watched as a kid, the Looney Toons of the late, great Chuck Jones were my favorite. I even liked them better than the proto-Hulk, Bullwinkle the Moose, and that miniature Rocketeer, Rocket Jet Squirrel.

Of all the Looney Toons characters, I hold the most fondness for Marvin the Martian. Mostly it's because, like him, I have short legs that move in a blur when I run, but, like him, I don't go anywhere. The only kids I could outrun in jr. high were the fat kids and the really doofy, pocket-protector-wearing, briefcase-toting ones that tripped over their own feet in the hallway. I actually saw one of these guys fall on his nose in the hall while looking at a sliderule. He's probably a billionaire today, I'll bet.

Besides the legs, I've always liked Marvin because he's a perfect example of what Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote in Leftism Revisited "Madness is often a combination of cold reason and [imaginative] fantasy severed from all reality."

Marvin is perfectly rational, but he's also insane. He's a megalomaniac who wants to conquer the Earth, and like all megalomaniacs, he has no conscience. Anyone who gets in his way and makes him "very very angry" runs the risk of wafting away in the breeze after being returned to his original atomic elements, courtesy of Marvin's disintegrator raygun, which is almost as big as he is.

In modern psychological terms, Marvin suffers from a psychotic or schizoid disorder. Dr. George Burden, somewhat humorously but still totally seriously, claims Marvin has a delusional disorder of the grandiose type. In the psychiatrist's Bible, DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), this would be diagnostic code 297.1.

I am a believer in what Alfred North Whitehead wrote: "Fundamental progress has to do with the reinterpretation of basic ideas." People in the past were as smart as we are. Maybe smarter. They just thought in a different context. They didn't have DSM-IV, but they knew a nut when they saw one.

Since Marvin is deluded, remorseless, grandiose and wants to conquer the world, what mythological archetypes does he fit? For one, he fits the Greek myth of Narcissus, from which came the modern disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In a sentence, a narcissist is someone grandiose who sees others as things.

NPD, however, is just a mild version of the much, much worse Anti-Social Personality Disorder, commonly known today as a psychopath. Psychopaths have no conscience whatsoever and see everyone as things. Murderers and serial killers are psychopaths. To the Greeks, Ares, the cowardly and conscienceless God of War would probably fit the modern definition of a psychopath. Ares would fit Marvin, because Marvin, too, is a God of War.

The disorders, to the Greeks, would run from Narcissus to Ares. From the least to the worse. Since both suffer from grandiosity, they also suffer from what the Greeks called Hubris, which can be defined as an overwhelming lack of concern for the rights of others. All grandiose people lack concern for the rights of others.

The Greeks saw the sequence as Koros (stability) to Hubris (arrogance) to Ate (madness) to Nemesis (destruction). This sequence is why Narcissus stared at his reflection in a pool of water until he died, and why Ares is such a klutz --he never wins.

If we move to the Judeo-Christian tradition, what do we find? For one, the quote from the Bible, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." This is exactly the same observation the Greeks made. "Pride" and "haughty spirit" are best translated as "grandiosity."

The story of Satan is also a description of a psychopath. Grandiose, self-deluded, remorseless, and a complete screw-up. He really thinks he can be God? Now that's deluded! Like his protégé Marvin, he'll never win. Where are the modern-day Satans like Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung? Dead. The societies they ruled? Gone.

This Koros-Hubris-Ate-Nemesis sequence is why Marvin never wins. I find this funny. There is more wisdom in a child's cartoon than in a whole department of Ph.Ds from Yale and Harvard! People who try to conquer the world never win! Did Brain (of Pinky and the Brain) ever conquer the world? Ha! Simon bar Sinister from the old Underdogshow? Nope. Any of James Bond's villains? Uh uh. Dr. Evil? Fraid not (in a telling scene in one movie, a globe of the world whacks Dr. Evil right in his nuts).

How can the people who create children's cartoons, and write pop novels about secret agents (like Ian Fleming), know so much? And be so right? And why do the people with the Ph.Ds and the books -- the "best and the brightest" -- know so little and be so consistently wrong?

What's going on here? To whom am I supposed to listen? Bugs Bunny, or the shambling, twitchy nerds of the Political Science department at Yale? The way things are looking, I think the world would be better off paying attention to ol' Bugs! What is this -- an example of the Biblical saying about those who think they are first shall actually be the last? And those who are last will really be first? Ignore the intellectual Pharisees of our time and instead watch cartoons?

Now let's take ancient wisdom and its modern reinterpretations and apply it to today. One of the main threats to the US and the world today are the neocons. They think the US can conquer the Marvin, like Brain, like Simon, like Hitler, like Stalin...uh oh. True wisdom tells us they are crackpots -- modern-day Satans hurtling toward the cliff. Bye bye! See ya! As long as you go by yourself, it'll be a much better world!

They suffer from grandiosity, self-deception, cowardice and lack of remorse. They fit perfectly the archetypes of Satan and Ares. Since they are clowns, they also are a bunch of Marvin the Martians, threatening the world with disintegrator rays. But they will lose. Ancient wisdom is against them, 100 percent.

Go up against the truth, and you'll lose every time.

So whenever you see babbling idiot of a politician or an "intellectual" on TV, see through the veneer to the truth of what these fools really are...buffoonish cartoon characters who are so dumb they can get outsmarted by a rabbit. A rabbit who knew a nut when he saw one. Unfortunately, a lot of people can't make the same claim.

*They're giant tsetse flies that in the film The In-Laws would carry children off into the sunset in their beaks.

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