A Study in Culture
Okay, stay with me on this. It's a bumpy road, but I promise there is a legitimate conclusion with evidence here. You just... you gotta stay with me, okay? I've seen a lot of culture portrayed in media. From films to books, comics to video games, fictional cultures abound. But... and I mean this with all seriousness, one of the most fascinating and logically consistent cultures I've found represented in fiction are... well... these guys.
Rabbids. Wait! Come back! Listen, I know what you're thinking. "Ooo... Rabbid. Lol, they're so random." Yes! That's what I thought, too, but then I embarked on a cultural expedition, if you will. What I have discovered is that they are NOT random. They follow a bizarre, but consistent logic. They have rules in their society. Have the dreams, goals, and ambitions. And you know what? They are a great lesson in how to make a culture right.
1. They share a cultural desire
A carryover from their video game origins, the Rabbids seem to think they're from the Moon. They live here on Earth, but have a fascination, nay, an obsession with getting to the Moon. Billboards will stop them in their tracks. They have invented advanced technological transports in attempts to get to the Moon. It's hard to explain, but when you watch their show (there's three seasons on Hulu,) you can see a trial and error system that, besides being kinda goofy, does make some sense. They don't go at things in completely random ways. They learn from the latest failure, adapt, and make a completely new screwup that, somehow, holds a weird logic to it.
2. They are a gender fluid society (and role fluid, really)
Gender doesn't often come into play with Rabbids, but when it does, they tend to default to male. Unless they have a wig. Any of them. Regardless of previous behavior. A typically masculine Rabbid will, upon realizing they have donned a wig, adopt feminine characteristics and be treated as such by the rest of the clan. On one occasion, the "female" of the group was giving a tour to a newcomer to their junkyard village and tripped, sending her wig flying onto another Rabbid. The "new" female took a second to realize the situation, shrug, and take the newcomer's hand and continue the tour, leaving the "former" female lamenting the loss of their role and status.
But that's not all! Through the use of permanent markers, they adorn themselves with "tattoos" that change their role and rank in their society! The affection of glasses can confer "smart" status upon a Rabbid, granting them the adulation and respect of their peers. They, for the most part, don't even seem to be able to tell one another apart. A pair of best friends was separated, a third Rabbid stole one's clothes, and replaced him without missing a beat!
Their society is based on emulating human society, not as it is, but as they understand it. Long hair means girl. Glasses means smart. They change and adapt fluidly.
3. They don't pretend, they become
In other shows, characters might goof around and pretend to be cops or cowboys or astronauts. Whatever. Rabbids don't pretend. When they take on a role, they are that thing. Their entire group acknowledges them as such and respects the authority or expertise that would come with such a position.
Again, this has to do with the emulation of human society, but still, it is a strict and consistent cultural rule. If a Rabbid looks like a cop, he is a cop to all the other Rabbids. If they drop the hat, they lose their authority. If they draw on a villainous mustache, they become evil. If they don a superhero cape, they become brave.
Bizarre, but consistent. It's... well... it's like Alice in Wonderland. And I don't say that lightly! I have an 1896 copy of Alice, the Annotated Alice, and the Complete Works of Lewis Carroll. I shoot down reboots and adaptations of Alice left and right. But, honestly, the logic in Rabbids is kinda reminiscent of the logic in Alice. It's weird. It seems completely drug induced. But if you give it a chance, look closer, and pay attention, it follows consistent logic.
So why all that hub-bub on Rabbids? One, I love Rabbids, but two, I think they are a great example of a well-thought out culture. I'm not suggesting your next story involve a village of psychotic murder rabbits, but look at them and why they work. They're not just "discount Minions," they're an incredibly complex, strangely logical society. They just happen to be dumber than rocks.
Be Rabbid to Each Other.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.