We want to look at a cartoon world, and this raises one big question: are cartoons civilized? I’m going to answer yes, because it makes for a much more interesting conversation. =D
How’s that? Because being a civilization brings some implications worth discussing along with it. According to William McGaughey, there are 5 “levels” of civilization that rely on the level of communication, from ideographic writing to computers. Each method of communication also results in a specific institution of power, and the second level (alphabetic writing) places organized religion in power.
Now whether or not cartoons are past the second level (which I assume they are since some cartoons EXIST in the Internet, implying they’re aware it’s around), we can see firm evidence that they do have alphabetic writing.
So we know that cartoons passed through the second stage of
civilization, so they MUST have a religion. How’s a cartoon religion work? Let’s take a looksie, shall we?
Thus far I’ve been using only cartoons from the United States as examples (Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, Disney, etc.) and that’s because it’s what I know. So deal with it. Being borne of western writers, cartoons should carry the notions of their creators, namely Abrahamic religions.
Who is a cartoon’s creator? The artist of course, and this has numerous implications. For starters, a cartoon’s God is only human. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all consider God to be all-knowing and fully superhuman. After all, if we think of something, we can only do it because God thought of it first, right? Otherwise what need have we for religion? Who worships someone who can’t do as much as the worshipper?
That means cartoons are only capable of doing things that their creator has already thought of, but also to a certain degree they can only do what their creator has also given them. People dreamt about flying for a long time, but it took us a long while to get there (and it’s still far from perfect).
The most interesting point on this front is the fact that some cartoons are aware of their God’s existence in a concrete sort of way. Take the Looney Tunes classic, “Duck Amuck.” It’s a funny cartoon, yes. But it’s also chilling how impermanent a cartoon can be! Not only that, but by being the artist, the artist (God) endows Bugs Bunny with demi-god powers! Stinks for Daffy…
We’ll revisit more regarding the religion over time, but I hope this little glimpse raises some questions not only about the implications to a cartoon world, but also what sort of impact those same points might have on real people? My question: People believe in their gods by faith alone. Do we really want any more confirmation of their existence?