A cartoon is not a frivolous thing. It can look like a silly drawing or a caricature of life. Upon first glance, it seems to only exist on either a screen or a piece of paper. Sometimes, it even says witty things or does something stupid or endearing that can make us laugh.
Cartoons have been around for so long–on television, in movies, in the newspaper funny-pages and even on T-shirts–that we take them for granted. We don’t always take them seriously.
But consider. A cartoon is an archetype. It is an idea given form. In fact, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to even state that it is a Platonic Form: living glyphs essentialized to the point of becoming as close to pure concepts as is humanly possible … which of course is a misnomer.
Because cartoons aren’t human at all.
Some of them are wise-talking humanoid animals. Others are parodies of human beings that somehow possess their own sense of agency. There are even some that are inanimate objects given life. Often, the really old cartoons exist in very self-contained two-dimensional pocket-dimensions: in a mythological cycle of trickery, mayhem, and fun-loving nose-thumbing at fate.
And the really old cartoons can’t be destroyed. They can’t be smashed by falling anvils or mallets. They can’t be burned by fire or exploded by dynamite: at least, not for very long. They are used to dealing–and receiving–massive amounts of physical damage, and then coming back for more. And we’re not even talking about the ones that have a supernatural way of avoiding the damages of their enemies altogether just to–through some twisted fluke of fate–make them fall into their own traps.
They are like living rubber or silly-putty that just keeps bouncing back. A human being isn’t like that. When human beings fall, they break.
It’s not too much of a stretch to say that cartoons are beings that are psychopaths or sociopaths by human standards: in worlds and cyclic realities where neither human physical and psychological standards even apply. They come from the same heightened mythic state as faeries, and gods; as legends and archetypes: in a place where slap-stick is not only futility and invincibility, but where the ridiculousness is the superhuman and the sublime. Some people might call this state a perpetual hell, or a utopia. But mostly, it just is and they just are.
In the end, you can’t destroy a cartoon because you can’t destroy an idea. Because even if you break the projector, or the television, or snap the DVD, or rip up the papers they are still there–pure ideas–in your head, mocking you, holding an oversized mallet in one hand as they stand in the darkest corner of your mind, knowing more than they do, doing more than they know, just waiting for that punchline: where you finally have to laugh at yourself.