We here at Cracked certainly aren't strangers to overanalyzing pop culture. In fact, we once suggested that the Harry Potter books imply that one of the characters was sexually assault by centaurs. But we always assumed that such humorous wastes of time were below actual smart people with, like, Ph.D.s and bow ties.
Unfortunately, it turns out that many well-adjusted, serious academics really are spending their free time running around and ruining the stuff we loved as kids with their brains. Unfortunatelier, when you actually hear their arguments, you almost want to agree with them that ...
6Donald Duck Promotes Soulless Capitalism
Aside from being an uncredited creator of Inception, Donald Duck is one of the most beloved cartoon characters in the world. But Ariel Dorfman (an Argentine-Chilean novelist/activist) and Armand Mattelart (a Belgian sociologist) have this crazy theory that the comic book adventures of a violent, pantsless sailor might actually be inappropriate for children.
Like a hysterical news story, we present this out-of-context screenshot as evidence.
According to the authors, Donald Duck cartoons might as well be the talking-duck version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. In their book How to Read Donald Duck (Para leer al Pato Donald), the Dynamic Deconstruction Duo claim that Donald and friends teach kids that a person's value is dependent entirely on how much money he or she has, and that in the pursuit of money, there is no room for things like family or love, only for blind self-interest.
"He knew no weapons but to pay for what he wanted. While pantsless."
Why It's Not That Crazy:
Have you ever noticed that there aren't any parents in Donald Duck cartoons and comics? Scrooge, for example, is Donald's uncle, who in turn is an uncle to Huey, Dewey and Louie, a first cousin to Gladstone Gander and a boyfriend (but never husband) to Daisy, who herself has three nieces, April, May and June (because fuck it, picking out baby names is hard). That means that the world these characters live in is essentially devoid of any real families and populated solely by orphans. Without parents and nepotism, each duck is left alone to constantly compete against the others for wealth and status. That's basically an ideal stage for, yes, really sad nightmares, but also capitalism: If you start with what you believe to be a completely level playing field (in this case, a world without parents where everyone starts out with the same chances in an orphanage), those who are strongest and smartest, and work the hardest, have the best chance of succeeding (where "succeeding" here means "making all of the money in the world").
"And while you're at it, see if you can't bump up the Mouse's copyright a few years."
The anti-capitalist characters in Atlas Shrugged are portrayed as spineless, worthless moochers. Likewise, Donald is depicted as an eternal loser because he can't hold a steady job and is always in debt to his uncle. Scrooge, on the other hand, is the richest duck in the world, happily spending all of his free time becoming even richer. In DuckTales, every single episode is basically about Scrooge and the nephews hunting for treasure or protecting Scrooge's money or diving into giant swimming pools of coins (something that almost certainly would have happened in Shrugged had it not been cut to make room for 25,000 words about the tensile strength of railroad tracks).
The comics aren't any better: In Dorfman and Mattelart's analysis, the entire plot of 75 percent of the comics centered around the ducks looking for money and gold. The other 25 percent were about "competing for fortune," which is apparently considered different.
"Maybe start by handing over that crown."
In Atlas Shrugged, extraordinary people demonstrate their extraordinariness by making all of the money in the world and sharing it with no one. The conclusion reached by the end of the novel is that anyone who isn't a superman should either worship the supermen or stay out of their way, and if the unfortunately average people die in the process, oh well.
This must be where Scrooge differs from Shrugged, right? It's not like Scrooge would ever be that heartless, right? What's that? Scrooge acquired his wealth by conducting genocide in Africa? Oh.
"Of course my culture is worth squat! How did you know?"