The Walt Disney Conundrum

16 Mar

March 16, 2011

The New York Post (Their motto: We call ourselves a newspaper no matter what you say.) ran the following story without attribution. Is it true? Is it made up? I don’t know. Please read the “story” while I go back to the dictionary and look up the definition of journalism.

Here’s a story of the blind leading the blind.

A sightless Briton was devastated when his beloved seeing-eye dog also went blind from cataracts.

But his despair was short-lived, because a social-services agency gave the guide dog his own seeing-eye pooch, so the trio of companions can walk through life together in love.

Picture it. A blind man is walking down the street. He is holding the harness of a seeing eye dog, which in turn is holding the harness of another seeing eye dog in his mouth and is leading both the blind dog and blind man safely to their destination.

Far more likely is that the blind man, being attached to his seeing eye dog, kept him and walks with him but also holds the leash of the new seeing eye dog. I seriously doubt the first dog walks the second.

However, this brings up a very troubling issue. It brings up The Walt Disney Conundrum.

Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, right? There are plenty of cartoons where Mickey Mouse walks Pluto around on a leash. He wears a collar, chews on bones, walks on all fours. He is a dog.

But Goofy is also a dog. He is a typical cartoon anthropomorphic dog. (I spelled that right the first time and didn’t even need the spell check, pat on back.) He talks, he walks upright, he wears clothes, he pals around with Mickey and Donald. He is an idiot, granted, but if I hold that against him I’d also have to hold it against 95% of everyone I meet when I walk out my door and I simply don’t have the energy.

So if Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, what happens if Mickey asks Goofy to walk Pluto for him? It brings up a whole host of ethical, moral, and genetic questions.

Is Goofy a superior dog? Is Pluto an inferior dog? Do they relate to each other in any way as fellow dogs? Do they communicate? Can Goofy bark and be understood by Pluto? Can they procreate? And what would the offspring be? Human-ish like Goofy or canine like Pluto? Or somewhere in between?

If Goofy were to walk Pluto on a leash, or worse, train him to obey commands, is that an issue of slavery? Is it morally right for an intelligent dog to treat a canine dog like a, well, dog? Is it akin to human mistreatment of the mentally disabled?

Can Goofy disobey “no dogs allowed” signs? Why is he allowed out without a leash? Could Goofy legally take a dump in the park if he cleans it up? Does he eat dog food?

If it is simply a matter of intelligence should Goofy and Pluto be considered the same genus? And what about Goofy’s intelligence? Should his stupidity make him legally inferior to Mickey? Could Donald Duck file a discrimination lawsuit on Pluto’s behalf? If Goofy is a dumb “person” but Pluto is a smart dog, does that actually make Pluto a better dog? If Goofy got a jog as a security guard and Pluto a job as a guard dog would they be equals?

And then there is the clothes issue, which is endemic to Disney. Goofy wears clothes. Pluto does not. Do intelligent dogs have to wear clothes or does Goofy have an evolved sense of modesty that is beyond Pluto? Mickey Mouse wears shorts and shoes but no shirt. How does he get into a restaurant with a policy of “no shoes no shirt no service”? And then there is Donald. Why doesn’t he have to wear pants? And that suit- who really believes he was ever a sailor?

This is all very troubling.

7 Responses to “The Walt Disney Conundrum”

  1. JRD Skinner March 16, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    I’ve been trouble by this as well – there are definitely some weird class issues going on there.

    Is Goofy’s son, Max, the result of a Mandingo-style situation?

    It always struck me odd that Mickey wore pants but Donald wore a shirt – sort of like an ’80s cop film where the hero goes to the fridge wearing only shorts and the lady he’s been wooing walks out in his shirt.


    • bmj2k March 16, 2011 at 12:59 am #

      Sooo, what are you suggesting about Mickey and Donald?


      • bmj2k March 16, 2011 at 1:03 am #

        BTW- that’s your next Flash Cast right there.


        • JRD Skinner March 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

          Ha! I’d find it hilarious, I’m not sure how the ladies would feel about it however.


  2. Thomas Stazyk March 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Did Goofy and Pluto ever appear simultaneously in a cartoon or movie? It would be enlightening to observe their body language. In any event, given that the Baby Boomers grew up on Disney cartoons is it any wonder there is so much weirdness out there?


  3. Mac of BIOnighT March 16, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    I don’t understand how you guys can worry about classism when there’s a lot worse going on: Donald Duck eats chickens, turkeys, and – dare I say it? – ducks. Now, that’s cannibalism. His going around without pants is definitely mild compared to this.


    • bmj2k March 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

      This Disney thing goes deeper than I thought.


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