Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Friday, November 18, 2005

On Mickey Mouse, & Other Cartoon Enemies Of Fascist Regimes

On this day, November 18th, 1928: Steamboat Willie had its premiere. A mere eight years later, Adolf Hitler declared everyone’s favorite cartoon mouse an enemy of the state of Nazi Germany. I am not making this up.

For the life of me I cannot begin to fathom why Hitler, fun-loving yukster that he was, would have a vendetta against Mickey Mouse. Perhaps it was the buttons on his pants (Mickey’s, not Adolf’s)? Or the fact that he wore pants? Did the Mouse introduce some sort of subversive element to Germany, like whistling? I don’t know.

Did he just… run out of other forms of racist oppression? How the heck did that statement go down with his followers? Not that I speak much German (okay, ANY German), but I think I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall at that meeting:

“Und one final zing. Ve have to do somezing about ze subversive influences of a ruzless enemy of ze state! Schnell!”

“Uh, who vould zat be, mein fuhrer?”

“Ze infidel known… as Mickey Mouse.”

Himmler, sipping a drink, spits it across the table.

I don’t recall Stalin ever taking steps against Bugs Bunny. Or Donald Duck, for that matter.

How in the heck do you even declare a fictional character an enemy of the state? What on earth would it accomplish?

I can see the secret meetings now: Mickey hosts the committee to slip anti-nazi propaganda into his latest cartoons. Bettie Boop gets a second job with Rosie the Riveter. Meanwhile Goofy is politely asked not to assist with weapons payload, as he can’t even manage a flight of stairs without dropping everything in his hands. “Ga-hyuk. Gawrsh.”

Man. Some days it just doesn’t pay to be a cartoon rodent.


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