Friday, June 18, 2010

Cartoon Oddities

Disney characters: a sartorial minefield

I've never understood the way Disney dresses their characters. Donald Duck stomps around in a sailor shirt, bow tie, and hat, but with no pants or shoes. Mickey Mouse, however, only wears pants and shoes. Adding further confusion is Goofy, who is fully covered with hat, shirt, vest, pants, and shoes. Minnie Mouse is also fully covered with a dress, hair ribbon, and shoes. Pluto only gets a collar, but that's because he's a dog. (More on that later.)

A few things worth noting: Donald Duck is the only pictured character without pants. However, his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie and his girlfriend Daisy are also pants-less. It seems that no Disney duck is required to wear pants. However, in a bizarre case of species-based discrimination, Mickey and Minnie Mouse always have pants. Is there a reason why mice need pants while ducks do not? It's possible that mice are merely more modest. This, however, does not explain Mickey Mouse's shirtless antics. It is more likely that ducks would have difficulty swimming while wearing pants. Plus, pants can't be comfortable if you're covered in feathers (although this would also be true of shirts).

More problems arise when we examine a few members of another species: Dogs. Specifically, let's take a look at Goofy and Pluto. Goofy can talk and has a fully-developed personality; he can even walk on his hind legs. Pluto, however, lacks all of these traits. For all intents and purposes, he's just a dog. A similar discrepancy is apparent in The Little Mermaid:  fish can sing and dance, but Max the Sheepdog can only bark.

This, of course, raises disturbing questions: Where is Disney's cutoff point for assigning sentience? Why can ducks, mice, and seafood talk while dogs cannot? Is Disney harboring an anti-canine agenda? Is Mickey Mouse's shirtlessness the result of exhibitionist tendencies? Your guess is as good as mine.


  1. "mice are merely more modest" - nice alliteration!

    All of your posts make me LOL, but this one made me LOL more than usual. It's one of my favorites, along with the frustrations of cell phones post.

    Thanks for keeping up the post-a-day habit!