Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Creatures in Love Part I: Road Runner and Coyote

An existential desert back-drop as Coyote ponders next move
 I have a theory that the Coyote is in love with the Road Runner, but being totally inept,  he could never divert the  Road Runner’s attention away from the road. The Road Runner exists purely for the purpose of running along a stretch of desert road that lasts only as long as the running time of the story, (that is, cartoon),  but as far as Coyote is concerned, exists in eternity.  The Road Runner has an almost existential purpose of looking straight ahead, neither left nor right, in his determination to stick to his schedule of getting from one place to the next, inA a pointless journey of which only he knows its destination and purpose. The audience as well as the Coyote are well aware of this, but are compliant, in awe of the Road Runner’s determination to live his own life.

Did you ever see such running shoes?
 To Coyote, Road Runner is the prey, but Road Runner is blissfully unaware of this.  Hence the Coyote exists in a state of perpetual frustration, making a fool of himself, as Road runner shows off his superior attitude to life by constantly and easily escaping from the Coyote’s childish attempts at capture. Road Runner is modest, but also a show-off, with his expert ability to survive the travails and pointless hijinks  of the Coyote, always  at great costs to the Coyote’s physical well-being, whilst the Road Runner escapes without any injury. The well-being of the Coyote is even of less concern to the Coyote himself. He does not seem to care what happens to him, or what he does to himself, in order that he captures the Road Runner. The prize of his effort seems to be that once this has been achieved, all will be well, and the Coyote will be happy and fulfilled.

Glue on the road only worked if it was a truck
 Superficially at least, it appears that the  Coyote is chasing the Road Runner for food, but I think this is a diversionary tactic, in order  to make Coyote out to be smarter than he is.   Whether he catapults  himself out of a giant sling slot in the direction of  Road Runner; whether he positions himself in front of a giant truck only to get run over by  Road Runner; all of this points to the Coyote’s obsession with catching that which is the most inaccessible and closed off to him, thus the most inviting. Road Runner appears to be the only food supply there is.  There is nothing else in the desert available for the Coyote to eat.  A few empty tin cans are on the ground, which the Coyote kicks away in derision, knowing that his well-being is not being  provided for in the most rudimentary fashion.

Another ridiculous contraption doomed to failure
 The Road Runner is constantly oblivious to the existence of the Coyote. He is unafraid of the Coyote; he is alone in the wilderness, cut off from the Coyote and their desert backdrop in a fashion that is almost attractive in its singularity. The Road Runner seems perfectly calm and at ease. He is almost Zen-like in his acceptance of his fate as a cartoon character who exists only inso far as he is a moveable pencil drawing. In contrast, Coyote lives in a state of perpetual and constant dissatisfaction. He is not one with his environment. He constantly uses dynamite in an effort to attract Road Runner’s attention,  which leaves their desert environment in a state of mayhem, as Coyote  attempts to track Road Runner’s whereabouts,  which are always unsuccessful and ridiculous in both their rudimentary planning and execution.

 The Road Runner constantly rises above the Coyote’s efforts with a silly pointing of the tongue, but with dignity. He  silently berates the audience as well as  the Road Runner for their ineffectuality and inability to grasp his superior nature and ability. Does the Road Runner have any feelings for the Coyote? We will never know, but I think it’s certainly possible -  it’s the romantic in me.

Dynamite was often the funniest
The travails of the Coyote in attempting to capture the Road Runner exists in our collective imagination as a state of Nietzscheian  perpetual (or eternal),  recurrence. Every cartoon is exactly the same as the last. Like the trope of a horror movie that gets used by all  the best directors because they have nothing better to do than steal from the film which used the sequence originally. 

The Road Runner and Coyote also remind me of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Their love for each other will never be consummated; they don’t die but are both virgins and will never end up caring for anyone else. They still exist in our minds  after the story has been told over and over again, like a folk tale a Serbian peasant might once have told  his  children at bedtime.

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