The Reference Is Lost
If you’ve seen a lot of Bugs Bunny cartoons, and you have, because you grew up in America in the last hundred years, there were probably several moments when you, in your youth and/or lack of cultural awareness, were completely mystified by an on-screen reference. You could tell by the pacing and presentation that it was meant as a joke, but its specific meaning was completely foreign to you, leading you to forget about it and just move on and laugh heartily when Bugs did something else, such as violently maim Elmer Fudd with a shovel. These classic Looney Tunes were released in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s for an adult audience. The result: old cartoons are frequently stocked with jokes and references mystifying to adult cartoon lovers in 2012.