Scrolling through the TV guide the other night, desperate to watch something other than another reality-based program, I became practically giddy when I saw that Peter Cottontail was on the schedule. I haven't seen the cartoon classic since I was young, perhaps only a few years older than Robby. I have fond memories of watching it with my Nan and Pop after Easter dinner. Thinking of myself thirty years ago, wearing a frilly dress and sitting crossed legged on the floor at their house, I was suddenly hit with pangs of severe homesickness. I miss them both so much!
Excited to pass the Peter Cottontail tradition onto Robby, I
popped a big bowl of popcorn and curled up on the couch next to him.
While I recognized some of the characters and the theme song, I quickly
realized that I had forgotten the entire plot. My excitement morphed
into frustration when I realized that the villainous rabbit was "Iron
Tail," a vengeful bunny who hated all children because he lost his
fluffy tail and was forced to live his life with a prosthetic made out
Seriously! This is another reason why amputees
struggle with societal perceptions. Iron Tail was so angry that he had
to live with a prosthetic that he vowed and worked towards ruining
Easter for everybody. The unspoken (and granted probably unintentional)
message: Amputees are angry because their life is horrible.
to be clear, Iron Tail did not have a noticeable limp when he was
hopping on screen. He was able to sit on his prosthesis without any
grimaces or complaint and never once did he complain of phantom tail
pain. Considering that the tail was much heavier than the fluffy cotton
original, he was bouncing around as if it was as light as a feather. His
prosthesis did not seem to be impeding his ability in anyway!
of enjoying the cartoon, Robby and I spent the hour trying to figure
out why Iron Tail was so miserable. According to Robby, he had a
"tricked out tail that was much better than the boring kind every other
bunny had" and that he should be happy. Considering that the lack of a
tail didn't seem stop any of his vengeful plots, I failed to understand
why he was purportedly miserable with every aspect of his life. As far
as I could tell, Iron Tail was certainly not relegated to the status of
"disabled bunny," as he was able to steal the basket of eggs with ease.
realize that I have developed a gripe with a child's cartoon from the
early 1970's. I wish that I had remembered the plot to this cartoon
before cuddling with my son to create a memory. Thankfully Robby is
astute enough to question the role of the amputee bunny, but I am
saddened that children around the country simply watched the cartoon and
accepted the unintentional message that life without a limb is an