The Trickster

Preface: If I recall correctly the essay question was "in what part of American culture would you place the trickster; clowns, saturday morning cartoons, or pornography?"

In contemporary American media, where does the trickster belong? His antics give the notion that he belongs in almost every facet of the media. It would be an obvious point to state that he belongs in x-rated movies and magazines for his particularly sexual antics, but also in Saturday morning cartoons and comic strips for is comedic and childish behavior. There is a lot of sexual dialogue in this story, although it is not very x-rated or explicit, it is heavily sexual in nature in the context of modern American cultural and moral norms. Some of the stories throughout the cycle would definitely not be appropriate for cartoons or comic strips, but more suited for x-rated films.

In terms of his childish or comedic antics, the trickster exhibits many behaviors that would be appropriate for Saturday morning children’s cartoons. Chronologically, this begins when his left arm fights with his right arm. This is something that would be incredibly funny to children under the age of ten because it is not normal. To see this acted out on the television screen would be particularly humorous for a child. These antics resemble the cartoons of my childhood, which were filled with benign violence (i.e. coyote and roadrunner), that, while mostly physically impossible, were hilarious nonetheless. Another event that would be of particular comedic value to children is when the trickster envisions the tree stump as another person and continues to mimic its pointing for hours and hours on end. Trickster spoke to the tree stump as if it were another living being, therefore symbolizing his loneliness but also displaying his blatant stupidity.

Trickster was also very successful at tricking ducks into dancing with their eyes closed. This too belongs in cartoons and comic strips. Although it would not be funny to adults and maybe online mildly amusing to adolescent individuals, hilarity would ensue for those ten and under. The sheer fact that he convinced ducks to dance with their eyes closed implies the trickster’s true persuasive ability. This is comedic gold in the context of cartoons. Upon the realization that trickster was choking the ducks to death children viewing such cartoons would be in awe; in fact they would be glued to the television set while the ducks’ eyes were still closed, yelling at the screen: “open your eyes ducks, you are being slaughtered!”

Comic strips are typically tailored to an adult audience, and trickster’s antics fit this target market very well. He encounters a bulb that claims it can make him defecate and trickster does not believe this one bit. However, the bulb eventually causes explosive flatulence. Fart jokes always get a good laugh, regardless of the age of the audience, and in the context of fart jokes this is most surely one of the ultimate fart jokes created by mankind. To suggest that flatulence would cause one to be sent soaring such a great distance is quite a joke; in fact, the sheer possibility of gas propelling an individual such a distance, since being impossible, is quite hilarious. It made me laugh quite a bit (being a man, farts are particularly funny amongst my circle of friends). I just got a kick out of the fact that it propelled him so high in the air that he almost died hitting the ground; the prospect of this, while impossible, was rather humorous.

Some of trickster’s antics are very adult and fairly x-rated in nature. The fact that he removes his penis and sends it across the water to penetrate the chief’s daughter is almost right out of a pornographic movie; in fact, this would make a great pornographic film. He sends his penis across the water three times unsuccessfully, since it would arouse suspicion amongst those bathing in the water, but on the fourth try he is successful. He is enjoying great pleasure when an older woman manages to remove his penis from the chief’s daughter. It was a bit funny, but as a man, it brought about feelings of great pain since she used an awl to drill into the penis to aid in its removal. Imagine this possibility: great pleasure followed by great pain.

Additionally, the trickster performed his own sex change operation and became a woman by fashioning female organs out of the organs of an elk. This is not necessarily “x-rated” in modern terms, but it is adult subject matter. However, the fact that he managed to have children with these pseudo-sex-organs was quite perplexing. This would not be possible in real life, but in the context of this story it is very possible and he manages to cohabitate with the chief’s son and have children before being discovered for his true self.

The trickster is a very versatile character. I feel that he is a metaphor for the follies of man. Be it sex or trickery, he appeals to a variety of audiences and does it quite well. If there were a Saturday morning cartoon chronicling the antics of trickster that apply to all ages, it would surely be a hit with children. A pornographic film, on the other hand, chronicling trickster’s sexual antics would be a hit with adults (i.e. those that frequently watch pornography). The trickster appeals to all demographics, however his entire story may not appeal to all demographics. His stories belong in many facets of American life.

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