Monday, August 6, 2012

Why Do We Have No Sympathy for Coyote?

While people often cheer on the perceived underdog, why is it no one ever roots for Wile E. Coyote?

The coyote makes us uncomfortable.  Like many of us, the coyote is the dupe of consumer culture.  His solutions are always technological.  He doesn't train for months so that he can catch the roadrunner.  He doesn't study or consult.  He goes to the the giant ACME OUTLET MALL and buys some piece-of-shit consumer item that promises more than it delivers.  A rope, a crane, a catapult, a trap -- whatever it is -- never works.  The bomb always blows up in Coyote's face.

Meanwhile, the roadrunner seems to be the ultimate carefree hippy zipping through the desert.  Beep Beep.  We discover, however, at the end (6'24") of Episode #23 ("To Beep or Not to Beep") that the technology bought by Wile E. Coyote to catch the roadrunner is built by the roadrunner's own manufacturing company.  Way to go roadrunner!

If only the guns sold to the coyotes of society would blow up those same coyotes before they do harm to others.   


  1. I never thought of it that way. They might have been made about the time the artists and writers realized that there was a hippie movement to connect to. I always found those cartoons annoying but they got costar billing on the Warner Brother's cartoon show of their day. At the time, I thought underdog and arrogance were part of it.

    1. The original characters of the roadrunner and coyote were made between 1949 and 1966. "To Beep or Not to Beep" was made in 1963, before the full flowering of hippies.

  2. I always rooted for Wile E. Coyote. I always thought the Roadrunner was a pretentious little s***. If Coyote was guilty of anything, it was hubris but didn't mean that he did not have the right to fresh produce.

  3. "Lawsuit: Wile E. Coyote v. Acme Corporation"

    Thank you to Drew Mathers (Principal Consultant at Almost-Painless Computing) via LinkedIn for this important legal document.

  4. Wile E. Coyote* (Carnivorous vulgaris) is truly the martyr of the cartoon world: he is always suffering for other people's mistakes and sins. The horrors visited upon him by the shoddy QA of the Acme Corporation are legendary and were the subject of his lawsuit against said corporation as recounted in "Coyote vs. Acme"-

    As just one example, from the suit: "As Mr. Coyote gripped the handlebars, the Rocket Sled accelerated with such sudden and precipitate force as to stretch Mr. Coyote's forelimbs to a length of fifty feet."

    In his autobiography "The Coyote Gospel" ( ) he claims that he actually is a martry in the religious sense and has taken all the suffering of the cartoon world upon himself in order to appease the cruel god of the cartoon world: the Cartoonist.

    He does not always fight the Road Runner (Accelleratii incredibus) and has gone a few rounds with Bugs Bunny. In those cartoons, except the one ("Hare-Breath Hurry") where Bugs substitutes for the Road Runner who has sprained a giblet, Wile speaks with a posh English accent and has various stationery identifying himself as a "Super-Genius".

    In "The Adventures of the Road Runner" (1962) his obsession with the Road Runner is analysed by a pair of boys who are watching a series of Road Runner cartoons on TV. They also comment on the prevalence of violence in cartoons and the possible effects of said violence on impressionable youth such as themselves.

    *Not to be confused with Ralph Wolf, whose job is to fight a sheep dog. In that series both characters punch into work via a time clock at the start of each episode

  5. I believe there were many of us of my generation that cheered for Wile E. despite the fact we knew the Roadrunner was destined to come out on top. We also knew that no matter how horrific Wile E.'s setback would bem he would return to do battle. To me he did not represent evil or the dark side but rather sincere, genuine and willing to work for what he believed. The Roadrunner represented the opposite, of course.

    For many years I have admired the survival skills of real coyotes and was quite intrigued by the following article in the May 17, 2012 Scientific American: Coyotes Are the New Top Dogs; Coyotes are champions of change and have evolved in clever ways to take advantage of a human-dominated landscape;

    Good post Lil.