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Boxing the Octopus: all content copyright 2008 Colleen Thompson and Joni Rodgers all rights reserved.
This weekend it's all about the Easter Bunny, but this EW photo gallery of pop culture rabbits got me thinking about the use of bunnies in literature and film. In addition to the obvious biggies--the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, Beatrix Potter's Peter and brethren, Pooh's pal, and The Velveteen Rabbit--you've got the creepy use of rabbits in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, the pot-boiled bunny in Fatal Attraction, and the freaky lepus in Donnie Darko.
What is it about rabbits? They couldn't be cuddlier, but shift the lights and music, and (as with clowns) they quickly make the leap to creepiness. Is it the hunchbacked silence? The weirdly cleft lip? (Think about it when you bite the head off that pink sugar cousin of the Marshmallow Peep tomorrow morning...with those beady little eyes following you across the room...)
My all-time favorite rabbit moment in literature or cinema: "What's Opera, Doc?", the send up of Wagnerian splendor starring Bugs and Elmer Fudd. I loved this cartoon when I was a little girl. The first time I saw it, I was so taken with it, I got my big sister Diana to help me search through the gigantic bins of record albums upstairs at the public library for the source music. We found Wagner...and Puccini...and Verdi...and my lifelong love of opera was born.
I have an odd recurring dream about this Bugs Bunny ep from time to time, and I have all sorts of theories about why. Perhaps my subconscious is telling me to lighten up. Or perhaps it's reminding me of the fundamental elements of story that remain unchanged from Die Feen to das Fudd. Or maybe it's something far deeper about the psycho-sexual ramifications of the cross-dressing Bugs. Or maybe it's something about the smallest, silliest seed growing into a lifelong passion.