For those who haven’t grown up under the moral guidance of Walt Disney characters, it is easy to overlook Goofy’s role as a paradigm for lost souls who can’t cope with life’s complexities, or Minnie’s iconic status as modern woman searching for self.
Uncle Scrooge’s contribution to the American zeitgeist is more complex. To a child he is the epitome of late capitalism’s ultimate meaning. To an adult, he represents power, safety, and perhaps amorous success as personified by the image of the rich old man finding endless eroticism in his vault of money.
Nevertheless, the traditional assumptions about Scrooge McDuck are far removed from the ultimate truth, which cannot be found in the textual parallelism to the brash graphics. We must examine the relationship between the words, and whether this deceptively “simple” literature represents an exotic reality, or leads to a reference point beyond easy definition.
One must find adequate distance from Jacques Derrida to escape, with bemusement, the outdated notion of what he called “the metaphysics of presence,” while still disparaging the notion of Kant and Berkeley that the natural world is a mere mental construct.
Thus, we can see that “Scroogeness,” while indefinable as a truism, does lead to multitudinous conclusions.
An overintellectualizing element of some McDuck critiques overlooks the impact of his worldview on his nephews. Huey, Dewey and Louie’s radically unconventional upbringing in Duckburg is treated as a normative backdrop for their uncle’s foibles – quite humorous unless one wonders what impact experiencing “a raft-wrecking shark” and villains stealing the boys’ food are having on already-vulnerable prepubescent youth.
What does it do for their sense of security when a McDuck comic book entitled “Pie in the Sky” instills awareness not of Grandma’s delicious apple pies but the horrors of war and air battles in Europe, with the fierce Baron von Strudel hurling food at Scrooge.
Aside from that perhaps bourgeois concern there are deeper ramifications of the McDuck dialectic. The syncretic fusion and analogizing of originally discrete approaches is largely rejected by Scrooge, thereby devaluing and compromising once-valued societal norms.
So for a dime, a child could have incorporated into the core of his or her authenticated coherence a range of dissenting symbols and precepts.
Their dear Uncle Scrooge persuades the boys to seek wealth by mining uranium, perhaps his own twisted version of the coherence theory of truth.
Whatever it takes to fill that vault with gold and silver.