Some classics don’t age well. While appropriate in the thirties, “Looney Tunes” is viewed today by some as macabre for supposedly promoting cruelty. Others argue slapstick comedy is all in good fun. Is "Looney Tunes" really that violent?
Violence is violence no matter the era. Bugs Bunny and the gang use a variety of weapons to epically destroy each other. Slate points out much of the content in “Looney Tunes” involves suicides when it doesn’t include other forms of ferocity. The site points to a compilation video of all the gorier moments occurring in the cartoon, all of which further the show's brutality.
Ars Technica looks to a Supreme Court case concerning violence in children’s video games. California sought to regulate more vicious games (think “Grand Theft Auto”), citing their harmful effects on the minors playing them. If a kid constantly watches a rabbit beat some bald guy over the head with a hammer, doesn’t that normalize the act for them as an adult?
They’re just cartoons; they’re meant to be outrageous. Many generations have grown up watching “Looney Tunes” and society hasn’t degraded into TNT-using psychopaths. In fact, anyone who has watched any form of slapstick comedy has laughed at violence at one point. “The Three Stooges” had an entire shtick based on grown men continually slapping each other.
Cracked.com even argues that when compared to modern, “cleaner” 2D characters, those on “Looney Tunes” are more well-rounded in their absurdity. These characters view the world as ridiculous and can navigate through it with creative coping strategies. Similarly, The Millions highlights a psychological study which notes how certain human concepts can’t be grasped by kids because their brains are still developing. In other words, "soft" children's programs intended to teach young viewers a lesson are essentially white noise. Bugs Bunny, on the other hand, promotes independence and wit over aggression by getting himself out of some pretty sticky situations. Something can be learned from a wascally wabbit after all.