October 14, 2015
After you drop that first anvil on someone's head, it always gets easier
As this article by Tom Klein at Cartoon Research shows, the issue dates back to Dr. Alberta Siegel's pioneering research into the relationship between violent cartoons and child development, initially centering around a 1941 Woody Woodpecker cartoon called "Ace in the Hole."* Klein continues his look at the issue here and here, and I'd encourage you to check all three of these articles out, as well as this story on the relationship between violent cartoons and - Stanley Kubrick!
*Not to be confused with the 1951 Kirk Douglas/Billy Wilder movie of the same name, about which there was nothing cartoonish.
Personally, I've never felt that watching Wile E. Coyote being flattened by another Acme anvil, or seeing Bugs Bunny put one over on Elmer or Daffy or Yosemite Sam, had the slightest adverse effect on me. If anything, I think the introduction to classical music that Looney Tunes cartoons provided far outweighed any ill effects that might have existed. I'd wager that most of you grew up watching these cartoons - what do you think?