How to Read Donald Duck by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart
Trade Paperback – Pluto Press – Jan 2020 – 192 pages
First published in 1971, How to Read Donald Duck shocked readers by revealing how capitalist ideology operates in our most beloved cartoons. Having survived bonfires, impounding and being dumped into the ocean by the Chilean army, this controversial book is once again back on our shelves.
Written and published during the blossoming of Salvador Allende’s revolutionary socialism in Chile, the book examines how Disney products reflect capitalist ideology, and are active agents working in this ideology’s favor. Focusing on the hapless mice and ducks of Disney, curiously parentless, marginalized and always short of cash, Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart expose how these characters established hegemonic ideas about capital, race, gender and the relationship between developed countries and the Third World.
A devastating indictment of a media giant, a document of twentieth-century political upheaval, and a reminder of the dark undercurrent of pop culture, How to Read Donald Duckis once again available, together with a new introduction by Ariel Dorfman in which he writes:
“It is that joy in liberation, that alegria, that spirit of resistance, that I wish to share with America, as the book that Pinochet’s soldiers could not liquidate or Disney’s lawyers stop from entering the United States finally finds its way to its new home, deep into the land that invented Donald Duck and Donald Trump. Is the same country that gave me such a warm welcome as a child, and perhaps may now equally greet with open arms this critique of oppression and it certainty that we don’t have to leave the world as it was when we first encountered it.”