Our Crack Tongue & Groove
My sister-in-law returned from a family holiday in Disneyland recently. She had a lovely time by all accounts but when I glibly asked if she’d met Mickey Mouse she said, “Yeah, but I don’t think it was the real one.” Taking the warm glow of her post-holiday contentment as my cue, and with good grace in my heart, I declined the opportunity to point out that Mickey Mouse doesn’t, in fact, exist, and she would have been hard pushed to meet the “real” one. (Sidebar: I once witnessed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles switch on the Christmas lights in Newcastle – basically four blokes in big costumes – and heard an unduly cynical mother with two toddlers in the crowd comment, “I bet it’s not even them.”) Anyway: It got me to thinking about Mickey Mouse in general, imagining that he was “real” and what he’d been up to lately. Sad to say, despite the fact that he is one of the most recognisable cartoon characters in the world, he’s been totally neglecting his day job - that of actually appearing in cartoons. Think about it: When was the last time he had a hit? In fact, when was the last time he had a flop? Outside of poncing around Disneyland, he just doesn’t put in a shift anymore. I’ll go further: While I can describe the plots to any amount of Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry cartoons, I can’t name you ANY feature that stars this work-shy rodent save his first hit “Steamboat Willie” (and that’s from 1928; and it’s rubbish). Ask yourself: Have I ever seen a Mickey Mouse cartoon? WELL HAVE YOU? YOU HAVEN’T! I CAN GUARANTEE IT! Talk about trading on past glories - this chancer is trading on no glory whatsoever. He’s become a ludicrous Ronald McDonald figure who can’t even sell you a filet-o-fish. A survey in the 90s claimed that more children could recognize Super Mario than Mickey, but their positions have now been reversed, which, to my mind, shows just how evilly warped the world has become - kids valuing celebrity over those who are prepared to graft for their success. For while Mario is still putting his neck on the line, year in year out, Mickey is content to shill for Disney, his skill set encompassing the slim gamut of ‘waving’ to ‘patting stupid kids on the head’. Maybe it’s because Mickey Mouse is such a wet blanket, a complete joy-destroyer with less edge than the bozos on the front of the “Snap, Crackle and Pop” cornflake packets, that he’s shied away from making new stuff. But by doing nothing he’s become the Kerry Katona of the cartoon world, the ultimate famous for being famous non-entity, and our indulgence of him has shamed us all. RM
Next month: Tweety Pie? Twatty Pie, more like.