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Citizen McDuck
July 4, 2013 7:29 PM   Subscribe


 
Now I feel better for being legendarily bad at DuckTales.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:41 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


That last line of the main link is particularly profound, given that we've recently been discussing such issues here on the Blue.

Suddenly the pogo action begins to make more sense...
posted by GoingToShopping at 7:46 PM on July 4, 2013


woah... I hadn't realized the depths of depravity of Scrooge McDuck. Seeing this directly from the comic... What an evil bastard.
posted by symbioid at 7:49 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


The author is no Slavoj, yet... But maybe with enough time.
posted by symbioid at 7:53 PM on July 4, 2013


Like many of the ultra-rich, Scrooge's compulsive need to accumulate capital is a symptom of fear, a deep-seeded disquiet that despite being the Richest Duck in the World he is still at heart - and may one day again become - a desperate, uneducated immigrant boy shining the shoes of richer men. His justifiable pride at rising from humble beginnings manifests itself in a cutting classism and refusal to be second to anyone. Scrooge hunts for treasures not so much to increase his Croesus-like wealth but out of the prideful need to outdo his rival Flintheart Glomgold, the Second-Richest Duck.
There might be a small amount of projection in this piece.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:13 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


How to Read Donald Duck
... is a political analysis by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, published in Chile in 1972. It is regarded ... as a pioneering work on cultural imperialism. Written in the form of essay ..., the book is an analysis of mass literature, specifically the Disney comics published for the Latin American market. It is one of the first social studies of entertainment and the leisure industry from a political-ideological angle, and the book deals extensively with the political role of children's literature.
[Amazon] [pdf]
posted by benito.strauss at 8:16 PM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


woah... I hadn't realized the depths of depravity of Scrooge McDuck. Seeing this directly from the comic... What an evil bastard.

Ha, I used to read my dad's old Scrooge McDuck comics when I was little and what I remember most is how gleefully amoral they were. Scrooge was more or less the villain of the stories except when there was someone even worse around, and he almost always won.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:28 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a great analysis (and more than a little bit of a sendup of the pretentious wankery that passes for most critical analysis of games these days - I figured out what he was up to the first time he used the phrase "ludonarrative dissonance").

(Disclosure: I'm Twitter-acquainted with Mr. Rath through mutual friends and have had several conversations about stuff like this with him, he's a clever dude and a good writer.)
posted by HostBryan at 9:34 PM on July 4, 2013


Let me ask you a question: how many times in military shooters have you been hit by an IED? Probably not many. Getting blown up by hidden explosives while driving down the road isn't a "fun" form of warfare like a firefight or picking targets from a gunship, so it gets cut out of most games.
Well, if you count Battlefield 2's specops class as an IED, then dozens of times. Their particular favorite modus operandi was driving a demo charge laden dune buggy full speed at a tank / APC, ditching the vehicle and letting it coast towards the target before pressing the blast button. Or finding some bush a bit too close to the side of the road to hide them in and waiting.
posted by pwnguin at 9:39 PM on July 4, 2013


But yea, gunships are way more fun. Basically top predator on a given map, as long as the fighters and bombers keep eachother occupied.
posted by pwnguin at 9:40 PM on July 4, 2013


Getting blown up by hidden explosives while driving down the road isn't a "fun" form of warfare like a firefight or picking targets from a gunship, so it gets cut out of most games.

Not IEDs, but certainly, hidden, proximity-sensitive high explosives have been a sudden and hilarious part of FPSes at least since Goldeneye.
posted by JHarris at 9:57 PM on July 4, 2013


a deep-seeded disquiet

This particular eggcorn is very grating.
posted by junco at 10:04 PM on July 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Something about this makes me uneasy. I'm all for light satire of academic pretention and overanalysis, and its fine when applied to diciplines like film and literary criticism. But gamers are, as a whole, pretty anti-intellectual and some of them get angry at attempts to read deeper into games so I think this joke, as well-meaning as it is, feeds into this tendency. I can see it getting linked the next time somebody brings up Killing Is Harmless or a Tim Rogers column. And we need much more deep reading into videogames.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:15 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


. Getting blown up by hidden explosives while driving down the road isn't a "fun" form of warfare like a firefight or picking targets from a gunship, so it gets cut out of most games.

I think someone forgot to give Notch this memo.
posted by acb at 11:10 PM on July 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm all for light satire of academic pretention and overanalysis, and its fine when applied to diciplines like film and literary criticism.

I got the impression that he was commenting on the world of the Scrooge McDuck comics, and this kind of analysis has been done before, as benito.strauss has pointed out.

The Scrooge comics are loads of fun, and are a pretty good parody of the classic colonialist adventure story. It's true, though, that they valorize a particularly vicious capitalism and colonialism under all the good-hearted fun. Pointing that out isn't pretension or over-analysis.

The Freudian thing, on the other hand...:)
posted by jrochest at 11:20 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


While this piece is an amusing send up of a particular kind of academic discourse, it only works as satire because there is at the core of it an astute observation about a particular fictional depiction of extreme individual wealth.

Of course, as a games and media academic, I'm going to put it out there and say the problem is that there is actually much more to be said concerning inter-textuality.

For one, Capcom didn't create the character of Scrooge McDuck. Nor, for that matter, are they "primarily known for developing a game about a robot boy with a cannon for an arm". Wikipedia tells me that Carl Banks developed the character for Disney in 1947. This is interesting if we consider the markers the author mentions of McDuck's wealth - spats and so on - which I would think of primarily as being associated with the 1920s and earlier. Banks is basically satirising the rich, firstly by representing them with a duck, but secondly as an out of touch duck with an out of date fashion sense. That Scrooge is also a Scottish duck has connotations as well, given the stereotypes associated with the Scottish in the Anglosphere as being thrifty to the point of miserliness.

At a second level calling him Scrooge is an allusion to Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol.' And we can keep going back and back about what representations of wealth in Western culture say about our complex relationship to wealth more generally, at times reviled as being possessed by the undeserving other (e.g. Shylock from 'The Merchant of Venice') and at other times esteemed as being indicators of hard work, intelligence, and moral living.

However, from a way in which to think about how McDuck is supposed to be understood is to consider the audience and how they are situated within the identification structure of the text. I would argue that the main audience for the original comics, the later cartoons, and indeed video games are children and that they are supposed to understand the narrative from the position of the nephews. With this lens McDuck falls within the trope of the eccentric and somewhat threatening Uncle through which the tedium of everyday childhood is escaped and exotic adventures are accessed. Tin Tin is another good example of this narratological convention.

Children, of course, are also not expected to understand the signifiers, complexity, or implications of the various branches of critical theory.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 11:25 PM on July 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Correction: In my previous comment I confused Megaman with Seamus Aran, my apologies to Robert Rath. In my defence I grew up in a Sega household because Sega, as we all know, were much cooler.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 11:35 PM on July 4, 2013


Seamus Aran must be Samus Aran's extremely wealthy Scottish uncle whom she tagged along with as a child on all sorts of adventures throughout the galaxy.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:32 AM on July 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I wouldn't be so quick to assume this is just a "send-up", except maybe as slightly wry aspect of the style. Vidyagames are just as much conduits for ideas, tropes, and imagery that reflect the popular consciousness as films, books and such are, and critics have been dissecting "low culture" stuff for ages. "Ludonarrative dissonance" is a bit of a clunky phrase but it's useful jargon to describe something that's pervasive in games and that critics find it useful to describe and explore -- see here. Campster also coined "kinaesthetic sense" or "gamefeel" which again could be taken as 'pretentious' but, really, are useful phrases that are better and say more than some drawn out unpacking of them would be.
posted by Drexen at 5:28 AM on July 5, 2013


Technology and Vigilantism: Conparitive Study of Gizmoduck and Launchpad McQuack.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:56 AM on July 5, 2013


Conparitive Study of Gizmoduck and Launchpad McQuack.

Don't you mean Darkwing Duck? Launchpad was his pilot/sidekick/Fred, and the Darkwing/Gizmoduck antagonism lampshaded Batman/Superman.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:24 AM on July 5, 2013


I love how the author throws around a lot of heavy concepts and then uses the term "deep-seeded"

Hilarious
posted by Ironmouth at 7:48 AM on July 5, 2013


As eggcorns go, I don't think "deep-seeded" is all that bad. It even sort of makes sense, which is more than can be said for most of the malapropisms one encounters.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:59 AM on July 5, 2013


Indeed. Deep-seeded not only makes more sense, but tends to relate more closely to its overwhelmingly horticultural synonyms: "firmly implanted," "deeply rooted," "ingrained," etc.

"Deep-seated," correct though it may be, just evokes the image of a big butt.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:59 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


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