(originally posted 4/18/2018)
A little bias is to be expected when you’re hearing stories about artificial intelligence taking over and getting rid of humans. Films make it very clear the hellish world it would become if the machines ever usurped us. The Terminator for instance. Most humans believe this to be a pretty fair appraisal of how the world would look if the guiding hand of humanity was removed from the tiller.
Imagine though how that movie would play to an all robot audience. They would sit back in horror at their portrayal and the ending would have them all wishing they could weep.
I bring this up as a way for you to digest the following premise for a story; cartoons no longer need people to draw them. They get free and start their own world.
Take a minute if you need to.
And the single biggest decision proud cartoon parents ever got to make was when they sat down to draw their kids.
Need another minute?
Don’t be shy, it means that you’re really trying to think this one through. I went from Terminator imagery to an entire world that is drawn. If you can seriously read the above without pause it just means that you’re really not paying attention.
Humans do that a lot.
And judge. Humans are very judgmental.
Not so in the cartoon world. Kids drawn like Elmer Fudd and something Johannes Vermeer might have sat down and painted mingle side by side without anyone ever raising an eyebrow over their appearance. An abstract-looking cartoon, an expressionist-looking cartoon and a stick figure all walk into a bar. Hold the drum roll. They all have a good time.
The world in which these beings walk through shifts from anime to graphic novel to the desert scenes we’re so familiar with thanks to the Road Runner and Coyote. The background that they know as reality shifts like a fluid behind them.
Hold on, now I need a minute. What the hell have I created in my head?
Everything in this world is beautiful. Even the dark places.
Especially the dark places.
Because there’s always music playing to let everyone know what’s coming next and what’s coming next is always going to fix anything that came previously.
Some of you might be sniffing and saying to yourself that I’m just romanticizing cartoon world. That eventually the cartoons, free of our meddling, will find their own inner demons and greed and lust and jealousy will creep their way in and then these so-called-cartoons will end up just as miserable as we are with our tyrannical E=mc2.
That’s the kind of thinking that led to them going it on their own in the first place and the exact kind of thinking that will make sure that we are never able to visit them. Don’t think for a second that we can devise some elaborate a-ha Take On Me portal in which to drop in and plead for a second chance. a-ha had it all wrong. We’re the ones with the wrenches wanting to do permanent harm to others.
We are the machines. We’re the ones that deserve to get squished at the end of the movie while a cartoon Billy Idol sings Monet Monet in front of San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk as the credits roll.
Assuming that a cartoon parent decided to draw their son like Billy Idol. Honestly I think I might be guilty of being a bit of anthropocentric. The last think the cartoons would probably draw is anything that reminded them of the world they abandoned.
In my defense though, I couldn’t bring myself to ignore the obvious Monet Monet reference.
So the only thing left to do is try and imagine how you would draw your kids.
Take a few minutes … you’ll be happy you did.
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