Brexit is nuts, so is Trump, but Bugs Bunny is the perfect cipher for our times

Bugs Bunny (Warner Bros)

Bugs Bunny (Warner Bros) - Credit: Cover Images

That the entire Brexit Project may now lie in the domain of Elmer Fudd would be what Bugs would make us question.

The Trump administration is being compared to a Bugs Bunny movie; a Cheech and Chong film, or a 'dumb-ass comedy' (Robert de Niro). As with Star Wars, I got the point of Cheech and Chong right from the beginning, so Up In Smoke, their first film, is the only thing I've ever seen of their work.

Unfortunately, the great de Niro may be known to future generations only through the 'dumb-ass comedies' he's been making lately. Let's hope this doesn't happen. Maybe there should be a 'Preserve The Robert de Niro Film Legacy' movement. I'll get a placard and join that march.

Bugs Bunny is another matter.

There is not enough space to devote to this genius of insouciance, a character who can make a baby and an old man laugh together. To call Bugs chaos is wrong. It is we who are chaos. Bugs is sense; the logical outcome of things; The Big Question Of Life. And that we humans understand what's happening around us.

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I hate anthropomorphism in relation to animals. For me, animals, especially wild ones, are what they are and should be left to be that. Lewis Carroll's White Rabbit ('Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!'), a worrier who Alice follows down the rabbit hole, was our chief idea of crazy chaos before Bugs came along. The White Rabbit frets. Bugs just stands back and lets it all happen.

In his first real movie as the Bugs he came to be – A Wild Hare – he challenges the reality of hapless hunter, Elmer Fudd. Fudd approaches the rabbit hole, puts a carrot beside it, and waits for the inevitable. Bugs reaches out, feels around and snatches the carrot. He eventually winds up playing with Fudd's shotgun; asking him what's a 'wabbit' and finally uttering the question of our time: 'What's up Doc?'

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Michel Barnier, chief EU negotiator for Brexit, may have been asking this very question as he sat across from his opposite number, David Davis, for round two of their talks. There have, of course, been all sorts of conspiracy theories about why Davis' picture was taken while he seemed to be unprepared. Maybe the reason that he seemed not to be prepared is that actually he wasn't – compared to Barnier. Bugs would ask this. While chewing a carrot.

That the entire Brexit Project may now lie in the domain of Elmer Fudd would be what Bugs would make us question.

That the Trump Presidency is a coalition of political opportunists; True Believers; shysters / hucksters; and downright, old-fashioned evil is the world that Bugs could expose and would.

He would show us that politics is becoming the preserve of the 'senex' – the old man, wise or not, benign or not; surrounded by The People. Bugs would lean against a tree asking us what it all means... how has it come to this in a time when youth has seldom been so powerful.

Bugs, with his Bronx / Brooklyn accent, voiced by the late, great Mel Blanc, continued throughout the Second World War years to break the rules by asking the unasked and the unanswerable. If you answered a Bugs Bunny question properly, then you'd have to change.

Trump launches a 'Made In America ' week. Most of his own goods are made elsewhere. He restricts immigrants. But applies for special visas so that he can bring over many to work in and for his various businesses. He is trying to shut down the press, yet feels free to rail against individuals, businesses, entire nations, on his Twitter account. 'I'm making a new Presidency!' he rails and the hapless Fudds who voted for him and still support him – less than 40% of registered voters (a record low) – scream in joy.

His eternal campaign is where we all are now. What we expect and maybe what we now call politics. This leaves no space for policy; for real thinking.

Bugs wouldn't be an illustration of Trump World. He would have it – lock, stock and barrel. While chewing his carrot.

Fudd calls Bugs a 'silly wabbit'. But Bugs is a hare. They do what they do alone.

Maybe that's why society got him in the McCarthy, rightwing 50s when he was tamed, even made an opera star in What's Opera, Doc?, in which Bugs is chased through a series of Wagner Operas: Der Ring des Nibelungen, Der Fliegende Hollander, and Tannhäuser.

There is a storyline in which Fudd chases Bugs around until Bugs finally dies. Fudd breaks down and carries the dead hare off in the direction, presumably, of some sort of Fuddian Valhalla.

But suddenly, Bugs raises his head, looks at those of us watching and asks a quintessential Bugs question: 'Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?'

Brexit is nuts. So is Trump.

Bugs, leaning against a wall and munching his carrot asks us all the question of our time: 'What's up Doc?'

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