There are always two – not three or more – sorts of people: dog and cat people, Elvis and Beatles people… and Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse people.
I’m Donald Duck people.
Go to Disneyland in the States, and you will notice that Donald is just another character among the others, while Mickey towers above the rest. USA is Mickey Mouse country, Finland is all Donald Duck.
Obviously, the Americans love a winner; the mouse is irritatingly cheery, always optimistic, and superclever. He stands for pioneering spirits, small but fearless, quick on his feet, ever-adapting as detective, journalist, explorer, adventurer.
Donald, on the other hand, well, he’s forever on the brink of success, but eternally eluded. Just when he’s about to win big and get rich quick, he blows it. The duck is plagued by bad luck – no one ever bit the dust like Donald. That’s why we like him in Finland, that’s why I’m the defender of the luckless one. He is just like me and you – and mostly like me.
See, Mickey gets into mysteries straight away, but always comes out on top. The end is always happy. Mickey is never down and depressed. Hey, Mickey does not know life. As a hero, he’s one-dimensional, thin.
Donald, he’s full of attitude, a brilliant braggart, with the biggest of egos. That is also why Disney must bring him down to the ground. He has to be humiliated, because he is a loser and his personality is flawed. What most Americans don’t understand is that those flaws are the reason as to why he continues to fascinate me in glorious fashion. Compared to Mickey, Donald is real as rye bread. In my book, he wins when he loses.
Americans automatically distance themselves from losers. They also don’t come to terms with the fact that Huey, Dewey and Louie can be more resourceful than an adult authority.
And don’t you just hate the way Mickey steamrolls over Goofy with his superior intellect? Come on – Goofy exists only to confirm – and to show off – how bloody smart that little mouse is.
Besides, Mickey is incredibly violent. I bet he has brass knuckles underneath his gloves, because he can beat the shit out of much larger guys. In the war against terrorism, Mickey is the role model. Mickey is Obama. They are both black, and won’t back down.
Donald, well, he shouts and screams, but his shotgun will always explode in his face. After which he will fall off a steep cliff. Full body cast in the last scene.
I love Donald. We both go through life. I mean, through. We don’t glide on top of the surface of it like the mouse. To have something to say, you need to fall off a cliff once in awhile. You gotta curse and brag and be full of it. Without salt, life is a straitjacket.
Since 1980, Donald has visited me every week. He’s the link to the little boy in me, without which the world would be a considerably less memorable place. Here’s to you, Mr Duck. Your most loyal student still considers it an honor and privilege to follow your school of bad behaviour.
I owe you all, Walt.
I hope my daughter Scarlett will see the same magic I’ve always seen. She is only 6 months now, but the comics already appear in the mailbox in her own fair name…