CARTOON LAW I
Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of
its situation. Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further
pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until
he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of 32
feet per second per second takes over.
CARTOON LAW II
Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter
intervenes suddenly. Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on
foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only
a telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion
absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of
motion the stooge's surcease.
CARTOON LAW III
Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation
conforming to its perimeter. Also called the silhouette of passage,
this phenomenon is the specialty of victims of directed-pressure
explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that
they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a
cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often
catalyzes this reaction.
CARTOON LAW IV
The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater
than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the
ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it
unbroken. Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to
capture it inevitably unsuccessful.
CARTOON LAW V
All principles of gravity are negated by fear. Psychic forces are
sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away
from the earth's surface. A spooky noise or an adversary's signature
sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a
chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a
character who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never
touch the ground, especially when in flight.
CARTOON LAW VI
As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once. This
is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a
character's head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of
altercation at several places simultaneously. This effect is common
as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled. A 'wacky'
character has the option of self-replication only at manic high
speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.
CARTOON LAW VII Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted
to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot. This trompe l'oeil
inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is known that
whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to trick an opponent
will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space. The
painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow
into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of
CARTOON LAW VIII
Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent. Cartoon
cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might
comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed,
accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be
destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self pity, they
re-inflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify. Corollary: A cat will
assume the shape of its container.
CARTOON LAW IX
Everything falls faster than an anvil.
CARTOON LAW X
For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance. This
is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the
physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of
watching it happen to a duck instead.
CARTOON LAW XI
Cartoon characters never need to go to the hospital to receive first
aid. Upon emerging from a huge scrap, the losing character will
invariably be covered in crossed-over sticking plasters and
bandages, and quite often be walking with the aid of a crutch.
CARTOON LAW XII
Cartoon characters do not obey the traditional laws of hair
re-growth. Whatever the damage to a character, whether it be having
all of its hair frazzled by an explosion or its fur shaved by a
lawnmower, in the next scene the hair will doubtless be fully
CARTOON LAW Amendment A
A sharp object will always propel a character upward. When poked
(usually in the buttocks) with a sharp object (usually a pin), a
character will defy gravity by shooting straight up, with great
CARTOON LAW Amendment B
The laws of object permanence are nullified for "cool" characters.
Characters who are intended to be "cool" can make previously
nonexistent objects appear from behind their backs at will. For
instance, the Road Runner can materialize signs to express himself
CARTOON LAW Amendment C
Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries. They merely turn
characters temporarily black and smoky.
CARTOON LAW Amendment D
Gravity is transmitted by slow-moving waves of large wavelengths.
Their operation can be witnessed by observing the behavior of a
canine suspended over a large vertical drop. Its feet will begin to
fall first, causing its legs to stretch. As the wave reaches its
torso, that part will begin to fall, causing the neck to strech. As
the head begins to fall, tension is released and the canine will
resume its regular proportions until such time as it strikes the
CARTOON LAW Amendment E
Dynamite is spontaneously generated in "C-spaces" (spaces in which
CARTOON LAWs hold). The process is analogous to steady-state
theories of the universe which postulated that the tensions involved
in maintaining a space would cause the creation of hydrogen from
nothing. Dynamite quanta are quite large (stick sized) and unstable
(lit). Such quanta are attracted to psychic forces generated by
feelings of distress in "cool" characters (see Amendment B, which
may be a special case of this law), who are able to use said quanta
to their advantage. One may imagine C-spaces where all matter and
energy result from primal masses of dynamite exploding. A big bang