Do your kids recognize Wagner or Rachmaninov themes? Do they have a grounding in post-WWII culture and politics? Do they understand the tensions between American crassness, and the refined, more ancient mannerisms of Europeans? Can they quote, “That creature has stolen the Aludium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator!” in the correct falsetto? If not, then your kids are going to be working for my kids one day.
Wait! Before you write angry comments or click the Back button, it’s not too late. You too can invest in your children’s future, as I have.
Simply order at least two of the four-DVD Looney Tunes Golden Collections, and start looking up the definitions of perspicacious, jocose, and sagacity to use in your holiday brag update letters.
While your little Cindy Lu Who stares open-mouthed at parodies of opera, or shrieks with glee any time Daffy Duck gets his bill shot sideways by Elmer Fudd, she will be developing advantageous knowledge. Witness…
Cold War dynamics, not to mention adult one-up-man-ship:
Russian circus bear (apply Russian accent): “Oh ya?! I will dive 5000 feet into a block of cement…on my head yet!” Bugs: “Hey, that’s a pretty good trick, doc. But I’ll go first.” When the Russian hits the cement block, the hazards of military threat escalation become apparent.
The cost of war…
Sam: “I’m going to blast you to smithereenies!” Later…“I’m a Hessian, without no more aggression.” The white flag means surrender. Your kid is ready for honors history class and will know when to fold ‘em in Yo’ Mama insult joke fights.
Large, loud Rooster, hiding in a bin: “Heh, I say…heh, heh. That boy will have to use a slide rule to find me in here.” Your kid now realizes that computers did not exist at one point, and that some people can do math without pushing buttons. Later, after being found (impossibly) in an entirely different place: “But, but Boy! I’m over there!…Nah, I better not look. I just might be in there!” The theory of multiple parallel universes! And Descartes’ philosophy of “I’ve been dug up, therefore I am.”
From Bugs Bunny’s misdirected trip to Scotland, one learns about other places and people of the world, e.g.,…
1) golf is big in Scotland, 2) they speak differently there, 3) there are bagpipes and kilts on men (which Americans feel strangely about), 4) a good score in golf is a low one, 5) auctions sometimes create unwary victims, 6) there are La Brea Tar Pits in California, 7) rabbits tunnel underground for long distances. A treasure trove. In other episodes, you can also learn all manner of ethnic stereotypes prevalent 50 years ago (and posit associated modern day sensitivities).
The importance of proper use of language…
Rabbit: “Do you want to shoot me now, or wait ‘til you get home?” Duck: “Oh no you don’t! I demand that you shoot me now!” Blam! Duck: “Ah ha. Pronoun trouble.”
The art of film…
Daffy’s transporting homage to Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood (“Yoikes and away!”) manifests the Golden Age of movies, without exposing your dear one to Errol’s 1938 standard, and reveals to her the stylistic continuum running from there, through Looney Tunes, to The Princess Bride’s man in black, which I’m sure is de rigeur in top film schools.
I could go on and on.
Seriously, sit down a few Saturday mornings with your kids and some Looneys. Explain what they are seeing and hearing. They will learn about music, history, culture, politics, geography, smart humor, and the legitimate value of good ol’ slapstick. They will even sing with you… “Kiwl da wabbit!”
And that’s all that I wrote for you…TA HAVE!
(points for the first to ID that last reference)