How to Read Donald Duck is a book-length essay by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart .. Both the Spanish title Para Leer al Pato Donald and the literal English title How to Read Donald .. 41–45; ^ Jump up to: McClennen ( ), p. by Ariel Dorfman First published Sort by. title, original Para Leer al Pato Donald: Comunicación de Masas y Colonialismo (Paperback). Published Para acceder al conocimiento, que es una forma de poder, no podemos seguir suscribiendo con la vista y la lengua vendadas, los rituales de iniciación con que .

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How to Read Donald Duck Spanish: Para leer al Pato Donald is pata book-length doanld by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart that critiques Disney comics from a Marxist point of view as being vehicles for American cultural imperialism. It was first published in Chile inbecame a bestseller throughout Latin America [1] and is still considered a seminal work in cultural studies.

The book’s thesis is that Disney comics are not only a reflection of the prevailing ideology at the time capitalismbut that they are also aware of this, and are active agents in spreading the ideology. To do so, Disney comics use images of the everyday world:.

This closeness to mattleart life is so only in appearance, because the world shown in the comics, according to the thesis, is based on ideological concepts, resulting in a set dorfmann natural rules that lead to the acceptance of particular ideas about capitalthe developed countries ‘ relationship with the Third Worldgender rolesetc.

As an example, the book considers the lack of descendants of the characters.

This non-parental reality creates horizontal levels in society, where there is no hierarchic order, except the one given by the amount of money and wealth possessed by each, and where there is almost no solidarity among those of the same level, creating a situation where the only thing left is crude competition.

How to Read Donald Duck was written and published during the brief flowering of revolutionary socialism under the government of Salvador Allende and his Popular Unity coalition and is closely identified with the revolutionary politics of its era.

During Pinochet’s regime, How to Read Donald Duck was banned and subject to book burning ; its authors were forced into exile. According to John Tomlinson, How to Read Donald Duck is a “celebrated exemplar” of a genre of analyses, which focus on particular media texts with the aim to expose their imperialist nature. The writers argued that imperialism was hiding beneath an innocent and wholesome facade.

The Disney comics presented themselves as a harmless fun product intended for consumption by children, while they were actually a powerful ideological tool for American imperialism. Tomlinson points that the book offers an “oppositional reading” of the Disney comics, in order to reveal the ideological assumptions which inform dofman stories in question.

The writers argued that the stories naturalized and normalized the social relations of the Western world ‘s capitalism. Tomlinson points that the book has been widely translated. Its translation into the English language was initially banned in the United States. By the s, the book had become “a classic” of anti-imperialist cultural critique.

According to Berger, the book managed to illuminate a global situation. Tomlinson concedes that one part of the critique of Disney comics is factual. The Disney comics have been widely distributed in the Third World since the s, and they could well serve ;ato “carriers” of the cultural values of American capitalism. Mattelqrt global situation to which Berger referred to was not, however, unique to the Disney comics.

Media texts of Western origin have gained a massive presence in other cultures. Tomlinson questions whether this presence translates to drfman imperialism. There is a question of how much cultural impact these media texts have gained. Tomlinson argues that How to Read Donald Duck is a difficult book to assess. It is not a “careful” academic study.


It is instead a polemical work with a political aim. The analysis offered by the work is not crude, but it is “enraged, satirical, and politically impassioned”. The writers did not merely examine the values of Patp consumer capitalism and their ideological effects on Chilean society. They examine, refuse, and reject these values. America is presented in the book as a class enemy. But recognizes that the central notion on which the book relies is the “power of ideology” in imperialist texts.

Tomlinson examines the identification of imperialist ideology mmattelart defined by the book. Its writers examined an entire “catalogue” of ideological themes present in the Disney comics. There is an obsession with money and compulsive consumerism. The comics constantly refer mtatelart exotic lands and depict the Third World as exotic. These exotic lands are depicted as the source of wealth which is ddonald by Western adventurers, and their wealth as simply “there for the taking”.

Third World nations are depicted in terms of racial and cultural stereotypesand their peoples are depicted as infantile. Capitalist class g are depicted as natural, unchangeable, and morally justified. The comics feature anti-communist and anti-revolutionary propaganda. Women are depicted in stereotypical subordinate terms. However, he notes that donadl very nature of interpretation means that there is always room for disagreement.

The interpretations of the books differ considerably from the supposedly “naive” readings of the Disney comics’ child readers, and from the readings of most adult readers of the comics. Besides the readers, other critics of the Disney comics have seen them in a very parq light. The Disney Version was one of the first book-length and serious studies of Walt Disney and his works.

The flaw of the book, however, is that it focuses on Walt Disney as a man, and not on The Walt Disney Company as a corporation. The book viewed Walt himself as the “prime creator” of the company’s cartoons, mattrlart, theme parks, and television shows. It used the then-fashionable methods of Freudian psychoanalysis and auteur theory to offer a portrait of Walt through his products.

In contrast, How to Read Donald Duck offered an ideological analysis. It placed the Mattelary products within the context of cultural imperialism by the United States. The writers demonstrated the trajectory of Disney comics from the ” metropolis ” of the United States to its satellite states in South America.

How to Read Donald Duck – Wikipedia

Smoodin notes, however, that following the English-language version of How to Read Donald Duckthere were only few interesting additions to the canon of Disney scholarship. He attributes this apparent lack of interest in the subject to the critical practices of the era. Film criticism was heavily influenced by auteur theory, and did not view Walt Disney as a “fit subject for study”.

He was after all primarily a film producerrather than a film director. Disney’s major field of work was animationand animation was seen by film critics as the product of an assembly line.

The production of animated films required an extreme division of laborand they could not be seen as the works of a single auteur. But the critics influenced by them focused on examining the narratives of feature-length films. Animated short films were seemingly out of their scope, and often unavailable for study. There were animated feature films, but they were treated mattepart relative oddities by critics and often ignored. Smoodin noted that by the s, there was a new-found importance of Disney in the realm of film rorfman.

In part because the field of film studies itself had changed. It had been influenced by the wider field of cultural studies and emphasized the relationship of cinema to other disciplines, particularly from the social sciences. The works of Walt and his company in film and television were seen as connected to various other fields of study, such as urban planningecological politics, product merchandisingthe formation of the domestic and global policy of the United States, technological innovationand the construction of a national character.


Even writers from The Washington Post were writing articles about the Disney company and its cultural products. In JanuaryCharles Krauthammer wrote an article on how Walt Disney World represented a “triumph of discipline and simplification” and argued that it was a vision of Japan in America. Will contrasted the then-current state of Europe with its history of pogromsNazismand the Nuremberg Ralliesconcluding that Mickey Mouse represents “a giant’s mattelxrt up” for the entire European continent.

Mattelart was a professor-researcher in the Academy of the National Reality, affiliated with the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. The writers consider it was a bad idea and it had consequences. According to Mendoza, Montaner, and Llosa, How to Read Donald Duck offers a hardened ideological reading of Disney comics from a communist perspective.

Apto Dorfman and Mattelart were both Marxists. They wanted to expose this message, to unmask its evil intentions, to describe the twisted world of dkrfman work, and to vaccinate society against the lethal, silent poison flowing from the United States. They wanted to protect Chile from “the enemy of class structure”. In doanld view of Dorfman and Mattelart, the character Donald Duck is a pathological rogue. Donald is pervertedbecause in his fantasy world there is no sex, and no procreation.

Nobody is even aware of the identity of any character’s parents. The confusion over the characters’ odrfman, in their view, contributes to the sinister scheme of Disney. The depictions of the characters are, in their view, both sexist and emasculating.

Their mission was to ensure the domination of colonies by their motherlandthe United States. In the view of Dorfman and Mattelart, Scrooge serves as a capitalist symbol. The symbol is directed at children, in order to cultivate their raw and self-indulgent egoism.

It is the cruel center of this entire world, while the rest of the world is an exploited or exploitable periphery.

It excites the imagination of the readers, convincing them that there is an international conspiracy aimed at subjugating them. That a wicked ” gringo ” is working to deceive them. In other work, the book promotes yet another conspiracy theory to a gullible audience.

The stories feature products which are bought, sold, and consumed. But they do not depict the effort needed for their production. Andrae notes that the writers seem to have identified commodity fetishism in Barks’ works. The notion is that the value of products is displaced from the labor that produces them and misconceived as emanating from the products itself.

Para leer al Pato Donald

The notion goes back to the works of Karl Marx. The citizens of Duckburg are depicted working in jobs of this sector, as delivery boys, hairdressers, night watchmen, salespeople, etc. Blue-collar workers are not depicted.

The writers argued that the Disney comics present as insignificant the entire realm of industrial production and the working classdespite the fact that these are the real generators of wealth in donals society. Another argument of the original book is that Donald Duck never works out of need. He does not work because he has to pay the rent or the phone bill.

He works because he wants to gain money for his consumer needs. All characters are engaged in an intense compulsion to consume. Consumption replaces production as the focus of interest.