The existentialism of the Coyote

Here’s a short from this blog’s early days. The fellow Gary who I mention here is a good college chum, and he’s written a blog about webcomics for 18 years. Originally published 24 September 2007.

I read several webcomics every day and one of them is xkcd by Randall Munroe. I like its engineering/math/geek bent, imagine that. Last Friday, it intersected neatly with classic animation space, another favorite place of mine, and asserted that an engineer with all the supplies at the old Coyote’s disposal could have caught that Road Runner! (Courtesy

My friend Gary over at Fleen retorted:

Chuck is not a vengeful god; the Coyote could have stopped his punishments any time he wanted to if he would only leave the Roadrunner alone. It is heresy to think you could do any better, Randall Munroe! What do you think modern birds (especially the ground-running types) evolved from? RAPTORS. They laugh at your collection of ACME goods.

I’m on board with Chuck being a benevolent animator. But I think he was on a higher literary plane. As we can see in the cartoons, nothing else was alive in that desert. Given the Coyote’s innate drive for self-preservation, he had to pursue the Road Runner, even though he was going to go hungry either way. The Coyote was in his own private hell. Sartre himself could not have written better.

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11 responses to “The existentialism of the Coyote”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Love this….and wow….

  2. Theron Avatar

    Sylvester the Cat taught me the finer points about raising my son.

    1. Jon Avatar

      RR is not only a major stockholder in Acme, he is on the board of directors so anything shipped to a Wile E Coyote would have had a manufacturing defect. Always, always, follow the money.

      1. Jim Grey Avatar

        Thank you for understanding the assignment! 😁

  3. Jerome Avatar

    My high school French teacher had me read Nausea, the most depressing book I have ever read. I’ve avoided anything by Sartre since…

  4. Khürt Williams Avatar

    The coyotes problem was hubris. That’s the lesson I learned.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      A metaphor for us all.

  5. Ted Shideler Avatar

    I love this, and I’ve loved it since the first time I read your archives. What a point!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Wow, you really plumbed the depths of the archive then! They do get lonely.

  6. J P Avatar

    The emphasis on the Coyote is entirely misplaced. This is all about the Road Runner and is summed up by Descartes – I think, therefore I scram.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar


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