10:10 pm, Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

You know those duck/dog Disney cartoons from the 80s and 90s? (Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, etc.) Isn’t it weird how they always totally bypassed the issue of race (or species, I suppose)? Literally, it’s never mentioned. But the characters are obviously aware of it; their last names usually reflect it (with the notable exception of Duckworth) and they have unwritten rules concerning acceptable attire (ducks may go pantless but dogs can’t).

In some ways, you could say that these cartoons promote segregation — the cities are usually overwhelmingly duck (Duckburg) or dog (Spoonerville) and the two races never intermarry. There’s definitely a subtle message in these shows: Keep to your own kind. But these rules (laws, perhaps?) don’t apply to all races; ducks frequently pursue relationships with parrots. (Well, I think they’re parrots; they have beaks rather than bills.) Consider Fenton Crackshell (duck) and Gandra Dee (parrot) from Ducktales. Or, even better, Herb and Binkie Muddlefoot from Darkwing Duck — they’ve actually had children! Proof positive that ducks and parrots can interbreed. But despite this, parrots seem to be slightly inferior; they’re usually relegated to unimportant positions like secretary or, at best, crackpot inventor. Meanwhile, ducks are portrayed as having all the real power: They’re millionaire business tycoons (Scrooge), superheroes (GizmoDuck), or respected scientists (Ludwig von Drake).

Now here’s something that’d be cool: A comic book that dealt realistically with the issue of race in the Ducktales universe. The first issue could open with a dog getting beaten in an alley by duck-supremacists. Then flash forward twenty years — he’s working at a police precinct under a duck captain with a bad temper who partners him with a dog-sympathizing parrot detective. Together they try to bring down the Scottish mafia secretly funded by Scrooge McDuck. Eh? Someone should totally write that a hundred years from now when the copyright expires.

Anyway. I’m back in Pullman. Have to write yet another paper tonight for that DTC/Engl class. Man, the English department here sure is obssessed with rhetoric. I’ve heard “ethos” so many times the word has become almost meaningless to me. Argh.

3 Responses to “#849”

  1. amy:

    this was seriously your best post ever! i rofled and shared it with friends!

  2. hjo3:

    lol, thanks! I was afraid I’d be alienating people with that stuff :P

  3. BRB:

    I know we talked about this with each other the last few days, but in retrospect it isn’t as odd as I initially thought — what with the species segregation and all. Consider its source, the infamously bigoted Walt Disney.