The following quotations are from:
Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic
“Thus the child-reader has two alternatives before him/her, two models of behavior: either follow the duckling and similar wily creatures, choosing adult cunning to defeat the competition, coming out on top, getting rewards, going up; or else, follow the child noble savage, who just stays put and never wins anything. The only way out of childhood is one previously marked out by the adult, and camouflaged with innocence and instinct. It’s the only way to go, son.” 47
“According to Disney, underdeveloped peoples are like children, to be treated as such, and if they don’t accept this definition of themselves, they should have their pants taken down and be given a good spanking. That’ll teach them! When something is said about the child/noble savage, it is really the Third World one is thinking about. The hegemony which we have detected between the child-adults who arrive with their civilization and technology, and the child-noble savages who accept this alien authority and surrender their riches, stands revealed as an exact replica of relations between metropolis and satellite, between empire and colony, between master and slave. Thus we find the metropolitants not only searching for treasures, but also selling the native comics (like those of Disney), to teach them the role assigned to them by the dominant urban press.” 48-49
“Conquest has been purged. Foreigners do no harm, they are building the future, on the basis of a society which cannot and will not leave the past.
But there is another way of infantilizing others and exonerating one’s own larcenous behavior. Imperialism likes to promote an image of itself as being the impartial judge of the interests of the people, and their liberating angel.” 52
“Trusting the ducks as they did their Duckburg predecessor, the natives enter into an alliance with the good foreigners against the bad foreigners. The moral Manichaeism serves to affirm foreign sovereignty in its authoritarian and paternalist role. Big Stick and Charity. The good foreigners, under their ethical cloak, win with the native’s confidence, the right to decide the proper distribution of wealth in the land. The villains; course vulgar, repulsive, out-and-out thieves, are there purely and simply to reveal the ducks as defenders of justice, law, and food for the hungry, and to serve as a whitewash for any further action.” 53
“In order to assure the redemptive powers of present-day imperialism, it is only necessary to measure it against old-style colonialism and robbery. Example: Enter a pair of crooks determined to cheat the natives of their natural gas resources. They are unmasked by the ducks, who are henceforth regarded as friends.
‘Let’s bury the hatchet, let’s collaborate, the races can get along together.’ What a fine message! It couldn’t have been said better by the Bank of America, who, in sponsoring the mini-city of Disneyland in California, calls it a world of peace where all peoples can get along together.
But what has happened to the lands?
‘A big gas company will do all the work, and pay your tribe well for it.’ This is the most shameless imperialist politics. Facing the relatively crude crooks of the past and present 9handicapped, moreover, by their primitive techniques), stands the sophisticate Great Uncle Company, which will resolve all problems equitably. The guy who comes in from the outside is not necessarily a bad ‘un, only if he fails to pay the ‘fair and proper price.’ The Company, by contrast, is benevolence incarnate.
This form of exploitation is not all. A Wigwam Motel and a souvenir shop are opened, and excursions are arranged. The Indians are immobilized against their national background and served up for tourist consumption.
The last two examples suggest certain differences from the classic politics of bare faced colonialism. The benevolent collaboration figuring in the Disney comics suggests a form of neo-colonialism which rejects the naked pillage of the past, and permits the native a minimal participation in his own exploitation.” 54
“This strategy, by which protest is converted into imposture, is called dilution: banalize an unusual phenomenon of the social body and symptom of a cancer, in such a way that it appears as an isolated incident removed from its social context, so that it then can be automatically rejected by ‘public opinion’ as a passing itch. Just give yourself a scratch, and be done with it. Disney did not, of course, get this little light bulb all on his own. It is part of the metabolism of the system, which reacts to the facts of a situation by trying to absorb and eliminate them. It is part of a strategy, consciously or unconsciously orchestrated.
For example, the adoption by the fashion industry of the primitive dynamite of the hippie is designed to neutralize tits power of denunciation. Or, the attempts of advertising, in the U.S., to liquify the concept fo the women’s liberation movements. ‘Liberate’ yourself by buying a new mixer or dishwasher. This is the real revolution: new styles, low prices. Airplane hijacking (TR 113) is emptied of its social-political significance and is presented as the work of crazy bandits. ‘From what we readin the papers, hijacking has become very fashionable.’ Thus, the media minimize the matter and its implications, and reassure the public that nothing is really going on.
But all these phenomena are merely potentially subversive, mere straws in the wind. Should there emerge any phenomenon truly flouting the Disney laws of creation which govern the exemplary and submissive behavior of the noble savage, this cannot remain concealed. It is brought out garnished, prettified, and reinterpreted for the reader, who being young, must be protected. This second strategy is called recuperation: the utilization of a potentially dangerous phenomenon of the social body in such a way that it serves to justify the continued need of the social system and its values, and very often justifies the violence and repression which are part of that system.
Such is the case of the Vietnam War, where protest was manipulated to justify the vitality and values of the system which produced the war, not to end the injustice and violence of the war itself. The ‘ending’ of the war was only a problem of ‘public opinion.’” 56
“Disney conveniently exploits the supposed total destruction of past civilizations in order to carve an abyss between the innocent present-day inhabitants and the previous, but non-ancestral inhabitants. The innocents are not heirs to the past, because that past is not father to the present. It is, at best, the uncle. There is an empty gap. Whoever arrives first with the brilliant idea and the excavating shovel has the right to take the booty back home. The noble savages have no history, and they have forgotten their past, which was never theirs to begin with. By depriving them of their past, Disney destroys their historical memory, in the same way he deprives a child of his parenthood and genealogy, with the same result: the destruction of their ability to see themselves as a product of history.” 61-62
“Now we understand why it is that the gold is found yonder in the world of the noble savage. It cannot appear in the city, because the normal order of life is that of production (although we shall see later how Disney eliminates even this factor in the cities). The origin of this wealth has to appear natural and innocent. Let us place the Duckburgers in the great uterus of history: all comes from nature, nothing is produced by man. The child must be taught (and along the way, the adult convince himself), that the objects have no history; they arise by enchantment, and are untouched by human hand. The stork brough the gold. It is the immaculate conception of wealth.
The production process in Disney’s world is natural, not social. And it is magical All objects arrive on parachutes, are conjured out of hats, are presented as gifts in a non-stop birthday party, and are spread out like mushrooms. Mother earth gives all: pick her fruits, and be rid of guilt. No one is getting hurt.” 6
“In the Disney world, the proletariat are expelled from the society they created, thus ending all antagonisms, conflicts, class struggle and indeed, the very concept of social class. Disney’s is a world of bourgeois interests with the cracks in the structure repeatedly papered over. In the imaginary realm of Disney, the rosy publicity fantasy of the bourgeoisie is realized to perfection: wealth without wages, deodorant without sweat. Gold becomes a toy, and the characters who play with it are amusing children; after all, the way the world goes, they aren’t doing any harm to anyone within that world. But in this world there is harm in dreaming and realizing the dream of a particular class, as if it were the dream of the whole of humanity.
There is a term which would be like dynamite to Disney, like a scapulary to a vampire, like electricity convulsing a frog: social class. That is why Disney must publicize his creations as universal, beyond frontiers; they reach all homes, they reach all countries. O immortal Disney, international patrimony, reaching all children everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.
Marx had a word—fetishism—for the process which separates the product (accumulated work) from its origin and expresses it as gold, abstracting it from the actual circumstances of production. It was Marx who discovered that behind his gold and silver, the capitalist conceals the whole process of accumulation which he achieves at the worker’s expense (surplus value). The words ‘precious metals,’ ‘gold,’ and ‘silver’ are used to hide from the worker the fact that he is being robbed, and that the capitalist is no mere accumulator of wealth, but the appropriator fo the product of social production. The transformation of the worker’s labor into gold, fools him into believing that it is gold which is the true generator of wealth and source of production.
Gold, in sum, is a fetish, the supreme fetish, and in order for the true origin of wealth to remain concealed, all social relations, all people are fetishized.” 65