James Lileks, in his Star-Tribune column (registration required), explores one of our culture’s unanswered questions:

Why are Trix for kids? Why can’t the rabbit have some?

Now, having grown up with Saturday morning television, I’m sure I’ve seen more than my share of these thirty-second passion plays (or are they only ten or fifteen seconds now?) in which the Trix rabbit is prepared to pay any price, endure any hardship to achieve his dream… only to have those hopes dashed at the 27-second mark.

I’ve seen at least one commercial in which the rabbit does get the cereal. He eats it, it’s every bit as good as he thought it would be, and he asks for seconds… But, of course…

At the moment, Trix is having a birthday promotion in which, after all this time, you, yes you, can give the rabbit a spoonful of Trix. (Like Lileks, I found it unsatisfying that the rabbit never did eat the Trix I gave him… but perhaps he was just shy.)

So, why does the rabbit put up with year after year of denial with no more than a wistful sigh?

Personally, I think of it as a metaphysical event. There is only one Trix story. It’s been presented thousands of times, but the rabbit and the kids don’t experience it thousands of times… only once. Each new cartoon is a new beginning. No history, no trauma, no memory.

Well, I know, that’s not the real reason. This, and this, is the real reason. (Found it at Hooray for Captain Spaulding.)

(Was I the only kid who found it unsettling when he disguised himself as Bugs Bunny? And it almost worked? So it’s not all rabbits who can’t have Trix, just this one. That seemed unnecessarily cruel.)