Cartoon Law I|
Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its
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
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 catalyses
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
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 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.