Leading article: Cartoon character

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The Independent Online

Oh Lord, Tigger has hit someone! A child, no less. Strange how life in all its grittyness has a habit of breaking into our artfully-created dream worlds, of which Disney World is a classic example.

Michael Fedelem, who allegedly thumped teenage Jerry Monaco "junior" at the theme park, overstepping his "bouncy" image, may have overheated inside his artificial suit. He may just have got terribly bored with the whole saccharine-coated environment of Disney, made unbearably gooey by a peculiarly American sentimentality.

It would be wrong to attempt in any way to justify behaviour that the Monacos say ruined their holiday, and Disney was right to point out that "physical altercations between cast members and guests are not tolerated". But if disapproval is one thing, surprise is another. The cartoon world is saturated with an incredibly violent culture, based on the principle that the way to solve disputes is not through turning the other cheek but, as in Tom & Jerry, through hurling your opponent through a wall, knocking out his teeth, setting his tail on fire, dropping a vast weight on his head, hitting him with a mallet, firing him from a cannon, or pushing him out from such a height that his body creates a curious silhouette on impac.

Not all cartoons work on such a dynamic. Think of good old Scooby Doo. But many of our favourites are hopelessly addicted to combat. If the men and women who stagger round in those big furry suits occasionally act a little like cartoon characters do on screen, frankly, that's no more than to be expected.

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