Monday, January 29, 2007

The Freakishness That is The Disney Universe

Disney is so pervasive in our culture that rarely does one step back and take a look at the main characters, and the weird setup of the world they inhabit. Since I am bored out of my mind when forced to watch the endless stream of Disney Channel junk (thanks kids, love ya!), my mind has often wandered to the abilities and limitations of the animals which have come to represent this company. My thoughts on this vital matter follow below.

To wit, we all know Mickey Mouse, the signature icon of the entire organization. Mickey, along with his wife (?) Minnie, both are clearly not typical mice. For starters, they each walk upright, on two legs, which most mice couldn’t do for more than a few terrified steps before crashing to the floor. They’re fully clothed as well, Mickey sporting an odd ensemble of shorts with suspenders with no shirt, while Minine has a more gender traditional pink polka-dot dress, with matching big ass bow in her….well, I can’t call it hair, since these two both appear to be hairless. Let’s just say the bow sits on the spot of her head where a human who had hair would logically place it. The big thing which separates these two from the rest of their species is, remarkably, the power of speech. High pitched, annoying speech, but speech nonetheless.

That ability seems to be the great divider among animals in the Disney world. The resident ducks, Donald, Daisy and what apparently are only Donald’s nephews Huey, Looie and Dooey, all have the ability to speak, albeit in an almost unintelligible squawk. The fact that he has nephews means he must have a brother or sister, whom, logically, would also have the walking upright/speech capability as well. To my knowledge, this individual, along with his or her mate with whom these little brats were produced, is not known. The fact that this special group of ducks never seem to wear pants is yet another puzzling aspect of the (now frozen, apparently) mind of Walt Disney. Would it have killed him to cover up the lower halves of these animals, since he already put shirts on them, or is this some sort of bizarre symmetry with the shirtless Mickey? Strange decision indeed Walt.

The one species where things really get weird, though, is dogs. Is Disney’s Universe, the canine pecking order is clearly established: If you can speak and walk on two legs, you are superior to all other doggies. Those barking on all fours are left to play subservient roles as pets. Goofy falls into the former category, and despite being dumb as a bag of hammers, he holds a clear advantage over Pluto, who can be nothing more than the loyal pet of the freakish talking mouse. Goofy apparently has procreated at some point as well, as a son emerged in later years. This puppy has the double bonus of not only inheriting his Dad’s speech/walking ability, but not being cursed with his father’s limited intellect. The mother of said child is unknown, at least to me, and I do not have the energy to Google it. The fact that Pluto and Goofy appear to be of the same breed must drive Pluto crazy, as he knows he is clearly smarter than dumbass Goofy, yet can’t articulate his thoughts beyond a series of powerful barks and awkward points with his paw. Another dog, who tends to play the villain role, is a bulldog named Pete. Pete too is one of the blessed ones, not only having the walking/talking thing mastered, but also, thankfully, opting to wear trousers. Pete has a pet bulldog, which is just plain creepy and is tantamount to slavery, right? Pete’s pet dog, whose name escapes me and really isn’t relevant, plays the role to the hilt, and is clearly subservient to his “master”, even though, like Pluto, one speculates the pet might be at least as smart as the owner, if not more so. If Mickey had a mouse for a pet, wouldn’t that be sort of weird? Same dynamic here, and it is just plain ugly.

Other cartoon characters also employed the speech/upright walking paradigm, specifically in the Loony Tunes world. The difference there was that whenever Bugs Bunny interacted with another animal, that animal was on somewhat equal footing, since it also possessed the human like characteristics. In Disney’s land, clear lines are drawn within the same species.

What this all says about Mr. Disney himself is unclear, at least to an armchair psychologist like me. My entirely non-expert opinion, though, is that the guy clearly had some serious issues, mostly regarding pants. Maybe when they thaw him out and reanimate his corpse, we can get some real answers. Until then, we can only speculate.
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