Sunday, June 03, 2007
Ultra-Nationalist Patriotism, Cartoon Style
My son has been obsessed with this WWII-era Warner Bros. short, "Scrap Happy Daffy." I had never seen any of these Looney-Tunes cartoons, produced as a strange, ultra-nationalistic propaganda for the US as we entered WWII. This one, featuring Daffy Duck, is not only strange but oddly jingoistic even for a cartoon -- especially one by a beloved animation studio like Warner Bros.
The thing that freaks me out the most is that the boy doesn't want to just watch the whole thing in its entirety 50 times an hour, it's that he only wants to watch one scene over and over -- the old man finally had to go off and do something and taught DJ how to rewind the DVD himself. It's the scene in which Daffy is almost defeated by the Nazi-sympathizing billy goat and he is given a "pep" talk by his American foreducks that "Americans don't give up," and "America is in to win." Daffy then summons the strength to fight and defeat the Axis!
What I found most interesting was that right before the visitation by, among other poultry, a Lincoln-esque Daffy, Daffy says "What I would give for a can of spinach now." The first time I heard that I thought, "is he referencing Popeye?" And that was even more bizarre than Daffy being this ultra patriot.