Heart of Duckness

HEART OF DUCKNESS DONALD DUCK 3 MAY 2015 FINALFor some inexplicable reason, I have always assumed Donald Duck to be not unlike most of what we get from the Walt Disney Company – a sickly sweet offering that, other than its nauseating excess of sucrose, carries neither flavor nor nutrition. But recently I have discovered otherwise. Donald is, in fact, a rather cantankerous and sinister character, at least if the cartoons I have been watching are anything to go by. Early on in my research, it became obvious that Donald is suffering not only from a terrible speech impediment but also from some sort of mental illness. He seems to spend a lot of time talking to himself, has a temper so volatile as to make Russell Crowe look like Shirley Temple, and seems forever to be at war with the entire world.

Nothing in the known universe is safe when this bowtie-wearing ruffian is around. Even inanimate objects know the felonious fowl’s fury. In “Cured Duck,” the feathered fiend virtually destroys his girlfriend’s house after failing to open a window. First goes the window, then down he pulls the curtains, and before you know it, furniture and plates are flying through the air, and there’s a hole in the wall the size of a telephone pole. I believe these days such actions are what is known as “intimate partner violence,” but let’s not go nuts. This is also the short in which, much to his credit, Donald tries to cure his dreadful temper. Unfortunately, he attempts to do this with the aid of an insult machine which, by the end of the day, has him up on a tower with a scope and a rifle.

One common target for the feathered thug’s fury is a pair of chipmunks who live in a nearby tree. These chipmunks, who are presumably gay as they are co-habiting males, have squeaky voices, and are some times portrayed as wearing hot pants, seem to be a constant source of irritation for Donald, partly because they make a habit of raiding his pantry and partly because all that dance music keeps him up at night. This, however, is no excuse for his destroying their home and turning it into firewood, as he does in the rather prosaically named short “Chip ‘n’ Dale,” nor stealing their popcorn as he does in “Corn Chips,” firing peanuts at them as in “Working for Peanuts,” or trying to run them over with a locomotive as he does in “Mr. Duck’s Railway of Death.” At one point in “Corn Chips,” the feathered felon even tricks the poor creatures into shoveling the snow off his sidewalk, something which must surely break the labor laws of whichever state this dastardly mallard resides in.

And his animosity is not reserved for mere outsiders, as even his family seem to be targets. In “Donald’s Crime,” the only one of these shorts in which the true nature of this down-covered gangster’s activities is admitted to, the Dillinger of Ducks breaks open his little nephews’ piggy bank and steals their meager savings! All so he can take his gal Daisy out for a night of jazz-fuelled, cannabis-stoked debauchery! How that one got past the Catholic Legion of Decency I don’t know. In “Donald’s Snow Fight,” he commits several acts of gross child abuse, such as destroying his nephews’ snowman, treating them like bowling pins, and forcing them to listen to Chopin, yet seems to manage to evade a visit from Protective Services. But that’s stardom for you, it lets you get away with all sorts of crap– just ask Joan Crawford. Some of these actions could, of course, be merely revenge for all the mean tricks the boys – themselves obviously deranged delinquents who, I am sure, will one day enlist with ISIS or the US Army – play on him in “Donald’s Nephews,” the first cartoon to star Donald’s nephews. The problem with that theory is, he has a way of going after more innocent victims as well…

This is no better exemplified than in “Polar Trappers” in which the feathered little bastard repeatedly tries to kill, cook, and eat a penguin! Shocking behavior in any context, but coming from a fellow fowl it is hard to see it as anything less than attempted cannibalism. He uses as an excuse for this infamy the claim that a diet of nothing but beans is starting to drive him batty, but that excuse didn’t work for Armin Meiwes and I don’t see why it should work for Donald Duck. Further showcasing his inexplicable hatred for the penguin race is “Donald’s Penguin,” in which our hero not only spanks but attempts to shoot with a shotgun a baby penguin that some idiot has sent him in the mail! In “Dumb Bell of the Yukon,” this avian abomination takes his malice even further by trying to slaughter a baby bear so he can make a fur coat for his vain and consumerist girlfriend Daisy Duck! Incidentally, this Daisy is a character who, I suspect, is also Donald’s sister. Why else would they have the same surname when they aren’t even married? That’s Donald Duck for you – Disney’s answer to Jaime Lannister! But back to the bear. First, Donald kidnaps the poor creature right out of his sleeping mother’s arms, then tries to hang him by his neck! After this fails, the villainous fowl proceeds to dress himself up as the cub in an attempt to cheat him out of his inheritance. Has this duck no shame? And where the hell is PETA when you actually need them? And in “Contrary Condor” he goes about stealing eggs from the critically endangered Condor! What he plans to do with these eggs one can only guess at – make an omelet, probably. Again with the cannibalism!

His friends aren’t safe either. In “No Sail,” Donald and Goofy find themselves stranded at sea and while the latter is asleep Donald barbecues and eats his left leg! Then there’s “Mickey’s Madcap Nightcap,” in which, jealous of his rival’s skill at egg and spoon races, this escapee from a naval academy inserts rat poison in Mickey’s bedtime drink. Luckily for Mickey, his life is saved when he spills his drink after being startled by a spider singing “Sweet Adeline.”

It should be noted that the above cavalcade of atrocities is composed merely of the more notable incidents, and does not include the foul fowl’s constant refusal to wear pants, his impersonating a chicken, his growing of a half-assed beard, his donkey-abuse, his gopher-harassing, his bull-baiting, the racist views he expresses in “Donald Duck vs. The Nation of Islam,” and his spying on Goofy on behalf of the NSA! Clearly, this Donald Duck person is a maniacal menace to society and should be taken off the streets as soon as possible. Though I am no psychiatrist, in my opinion Mr. Duck probably belongs in a cage in Arkham Asylum right next to other notable cartoon villains such as The Joker and Herbert Mullin. What it would take to get a duck committed, especially a famous one, is beyond my legal knowledge, but the sooner this comes about the sooner I can go to sleep at night without checking that all the doors and windows have been locked and that my penguin is safe in his igloo.