Daffy

Daffy: (adj) silly, weak-minded, crazy

Looney Tunes.

There were four or five years in my life when I lived for them.

As I look back now, I realize how intricately these cartoons were constructed—how much money was put into the music—and also how cruel they truly were.

Very recently, I’ve noticed that there was some hidden racism in the relationship between Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

Daffy, black, was always trying to keep up with Bugs Bunny, though the rabbit seemed to have a charmed life and Daffy appeared to be born under the sign, “Please hit me.”

It made Daffy very angry.

So enraged was he that he plotted against Bugs—and the notorious bunny innocently looked on, as if he had no idea whatsoever why Daffy was so perturbed.

As a kid, I found myself rooting for the calm, easy-going “what’s up doc?”

On the other hand, I found the black duck to be inept, clumsy, arrogant and mean.

I’m sure that was not the goal of the cartoon makers.

But in an era when racism was rampant—not that different from today—the color distinction between the light gray and white Bugs and the black, almost Southern-talking Daffy, was pronounced, and dare I say, obvious.

On top of that, when you’re given a name like “Daffy,” it’s hard to overcome the profile in a five-and-a-half-minute cartoon.

So, oppressed by color, by the fact he was a duck, and that favoritism seemed to be given to the ever-extolled rabbit, Daffy found himself spending all his time frustrated, unable to get a life and be productive.

I’m always bewildered when someone is angry when another race complains about their status. They say:

“This is America, the land of opportunity–just go out and make a world for yourself.”

But as Daffy will tell you, sometimes that is difficult to do—when the Bunny is unmercifully “Bugs”-ing you.

 

Cut and Paste

Cut and paste: (adj) assembled or produced from various existing bits and pieces:

I do not think there is anything we used to do that is better than what we’re doing now.

I know, as I get older, I should be cranky about losing favorite practices, which have been swept away by trending winds.

I just don’t feel that way.

I think the human race has one endearing quality. We like to find an easier way to do things and then later pretend it was complicated—developing a story about our struggle.

Years ago, I published a street newspaper. It was a combination of news stories, commentary, cartoons and a sprinkling of creative notions. There were no home computers which could be used to lay out this newspaper simply by punching buttons and shifting keys—and if there were, they were experimental, being tested at the New York Times.

We had to cut and paste.

All we had to assist us was a word processor, on which we typed the articles, a pencil set used to draw the cartoons, a pair of scissors for cutting out the pieces so they would fit into the space provided, and a jar of rubber cement, which was put on the back of the stories so they could be glued into their proper place. Then the master was run through a printer and translated, ala Gutenberg, onto newsprint.

Two things were necessary—a ruler and patience.

The ruler was needed to put the stories down straight so they wouldn’t look crooked. And patience—because miscalculations caused the formatting of the master copy to be a-kilter.

The only salvation was convincing oneself—and I mean thoroughly—that cutting and pasting copy onto a master layout was great fun. Matter of fact, nothing had been so delightful since Belgian waffles received their first dousing of powdered sugar.

Yet I would never want to go back to that era.

I don’t think it was better.

But I do think we have many journalists, cartoonists, writers and contributors who believe all they have to do is splatter some random paragraphs onto a screen, and suddenly they’re vying for a Pulitzer.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Bozo

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bozo: (n) a stupid, rude, or insignificant person, especially a man

I’m not certain of this little piece of information, but since it’s on the Internet, who in the hell cares?

But I do believe that the original “Bozo the Clown” was produced and filmed in Chicago, Illinois. The reason I’m not certain is because during my growing up years, we didn’t have Bozo. In Columbus, Ohio, we had a character named Flippo.

Yes. “Flippo the Clown.”

Originally, the gentleman hired to play this part was given an inexpensive black tunic with white cotton balls sewn on it, and a silly flock of hair with cheap dime store makeup. He was commissioned to be the instigator of foolishness for children as he introduced favored cartoons and giddy newsreels.Dictionary B

But our clown, Flippo, had a much broader vision for his role. Rumor had it that he favored certain beverages before filming the kiddie show, and the more he imbibed in these intoxicants, the looser he became before the cameras, often throwing in adult references which clearly surpassed the scope of the understanding of the average child, only to be appreciated by mature ears.

He was very popular. He was also highly criticized by Ohio mothers who felt that he was not always appropriate for younger ones.

Flippo didn’t care. He made a multitude of appearances in small-town venues all across the landscape, always drawing a respectable crowd of followers and even a few female fans. Some of these clown admirers found themselves invited to Flippo’s changing room, where certain scandals began to trickle out to the public.

I’m not exactly sure what finally happened to Flippo, but about the time that people in Chicago discovered that Bozo…was, the audience that was watching Flippo suddenly flipped. 

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Acme

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acme: (n.) the point at which something or someone is best, perfect or most successful: e.g., physics is the acme of scientific knowledge.

NOW it’s even funnier.

As I reflect back on the Road Runner and Coyote cartoon, understanding the definition of “acme,” the little dramas portrayed onscreen between these two adversaries gain a new hilarity.

If you remember, the coyote was continually ordering some product to destroy the road runner and it  always arrived from the Acme Company. NOW I realize that Acme means the best. Top of the game. Highest quality.

Of course, the irony here is that these contraptions which the coyote used inevitably failed, backfired, and usually ended up squashing HIM into the ground.

Nevertheless, they were often quite intricate and cleverly devised, which is a lifelong warning to all of us–that putting ingenious products into the hands of imbeciles not only makes us question whether the invention was quite as clever as we thought, but also opens the door to these innovations striking back to bite us in the ass.

So it gave me pause for thought. Maybe my computer is REALLY perfect–just being operated by a hairless monkey.