Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cannibalistic Humanoid Under-appreciated Ducks

Did you ever wonder why Pluto is Mickey's dog, but Goofy, who's also a dog, is on a more or less equal footing? (This what you get when I wake up with insomnia.) When I was a kid, this used to bug the hell out of me. I count it as one of the triumphs of my life that I was eventually able to learn the answer straight from the mouse's mouth, as it were. Once I was working for Disney animation I had to climb a surprisingly long way up the chain of command to find out; eventually Jeffrey Katzenberg himself told me. And, as is the case with most things Disney, there's a certain twisted logic to it.

It seems that, among the various sentient beings of the Disneyverse, (by which I mean those created by the studio, not purchased as outside properties such as Baloo the Bear or Winnie-the-Pooh -- who's also a bear, come to think [I prefer to read into this merely the fact that I'm typing this at 6 AM]), anyway, among the inhabitants of Duckburg (and before you ask, I have no fucking idea if Mickey lives in Duckburg or the neighboring hamlet of Mouseville [which I believe I just made up]. For all I know, he lives in Secaucus), so anyway, the way it works is simply thus:

It doesn't matter what kind of animal you are in a Disney cartoon; if you are bipedal, can talk and wear clothes, then PETA be damned; you can own "lower" animals and do with them as you will.

This answers a lot of questions. Goofy, for instance, is nominally a dog. But he's bipedal (albeit with horrendous posture), wears clothes (sort of; interestingly, he's one of the few inhabitants whose ensemble includes pants), and speaks a colorful patois of English. All of which evidence his canine antecedents while simultaneously showcasing his cultural and evolutionary superiority over Pluto, who's also a dog, but who goes on all fours and wears naught but a dog collar (and to all those with fingers poised gleefully over their keyboards who live in West Hollywood, the Castro District, or other places like them -- you're only muddying the waters; shut up).

As I said, this clears up a lot of questions. But it also opened -- for me, anyway -- a veritable Matryoshka of Pandora's boxes. None of which I intend to go into now, save to note that I'm still not at peace -- and most likely never will be -- with the horror I felt as a seven-year old when I opened an Uncle Scrooge comic and witnessed the entire McDuck clan -- Scrooge, Donald, Daisy, and the trifecta of nephews -- sitting down with drooling beaks, utensils firmly gripped in feathered fists, and napkins knotted around wattled necks, to a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

6 comments:

Rebekah said...

Your insomnia is tremendously entertaining. I had wondered about the Goofy-Pluto thing, too ...

Robert said...

Hi Michael, I found your blog after searching you on google. i am a huge fan of your Star Wars novels. They are absolutely fantastic. After reading some of your blog posts I find that you are also hysterical and extremely normal. It is very refreshing to find that their is a great person behind the books I enjoy so much. I wish you the best in fighting this terrible disease.

pirateking202 said...

Michael,
I just saw (again!) 'Perchance to Dream' from Batman:The Animated Series on Hub. Saw your name in the credits & realized that I've been reading your stuff since Byron Preiss' "Weird Heroes". Yeah, we are that old. I wanted you to know how much I have enjoyed your work in the past and support you in your struggles, healthwise, in the present. Keep writin', keep fightin'. You are one of my all time faves...

Ash-(at)-wellfoughtbottle.com said...

Hey Michael - Sorry to do this in your blog comments, but I'd like to get in contact with you about http://savethescifi.com. If there's a contact form on your site I'm somehow missing it. Any way you could drop me a line at ash-at-savethescifi.com ? We'd like to discuss something with you if you'd spare us a few moments.
-Ash

Craig said...

Michael, I just wanted to let you know that your work on Gargoyles and B:TAS was a huge influence on me. Both shows fostered my love of serialized storytelling, comic books, and classic literature, and inspired me to write. Looking back now, the Gargoyles episodes I remember most fondly are almost invariably the ones that you wrote and/or story edited. I watched my grandfather succumb to Parkinson's, and I can't imagine how scary it must be to experience the disease first-hand. Best wishes for many more fulfilling, happy years, and please know that your work continues to inspire others.

Frank said...

Hi Michael,

I just wanted to say thanks for all of the great work you've done over the years. I am truly impressed by how many of my childhood favorites you helped bring to life. On behalf of myself and the millions of other daydreaming children whose lives you helped to enrich: Thank you.

Frank