Monday, October 17, 2005

USSR: United Smurf Socialist Republic?


Remember that cartoon too many of you loved in the early eighties? The little blue stains on your TV that grew so popular they were given AN HOUR AND A HALF at their height?

Well...would you believe The Smurfs Were Communists?

No, not in the Stalinist or neo-capitalist Chinese versions, but in many ways the original, utopian way of communism can be found in The Smurfs cartoons -- both in print and on TV.

Obviously Papa Smurf as Marx makes sense, but he can also be considered a Socrates- style philosopher-king. Brainy Smurf looks very much like Trotsky (look at the pictures side-by-side), but you also have the theme of haughty, inflexible intelligence versus humble, easygoing wisdom in that dichotomy. And Smurfett resists all kinds of comparisons, in part because Smurfette is...well, Smurfette, and that's all she needs to be.

But Gargamel? There the comparisons click, with no way out.

At first, Gargamel wanted to boil the Smurfs down and extract the gold from them. It wouldn't surprise me if at first he made a fortune from melting down Smurfs into Gold and by the time the Smurfs shrank down to a group of a hundred there was nothing else he could do.

Later on it turns out that Gargamel wants to EAT the Smurfs, not kill them for gold. That can be seen as a metaphor for profiting off their labor, as whatever wealth they produce but don't keep becomes the bosses to keep. One also must keep in mnd that such a switch makes sense for a brand name that had begun to slip -- odd ideas that were passed through without thinking before were changed for the sake of reaching "the demographic" -- youngsters who got up every morning to watch cartoons.

Thing is, not does this idea have its own Wikipedia entry, but that entry is surviving/has survived a deletion attempt. After all, there's at least five different pages up on the subject (see above links) and the subject has been raised on College Campuses.

No comments: