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 pasture land. 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
speciality 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 catch it
Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to catch it is
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
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 science.
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 reinflate, 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 Amendments
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
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
Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries.
They merely turn characters temporarily black and smoky.
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
stretch. As the head begins to fall, tension is released and the
canine will resume its regular proportions until such time as it
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 indeed.
Any bag, sack, purse, etc. possessed by a cool character is a tesseract - any number of objects of any size may be placed in it or removed from it with no change in its outer dimensions.
Characters can spin around and change into any set of clothes appropriate to the situation.
Rabbits can dig a burrow from here to there in less than 20 seconds and emerge spotlessly clean.
Movements are accompanied by funny sound effects.
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