more political correctness

Wilmer Rivers rivers at seismo.CSS.GOV
Thu Sep 23 19:48:02 CEST 1993

First, a brief aside.  Don Rosa says that at comics conventions he is
often asked:
> .. the question "Which do you do first... write the story or draw it?"
> (which I am asked very frequently), I always answer "First I do all
> the artwork, filling a few dozen pages with haphazard drawings... then
> I go back and think up a story that will fit the random illustrations.
> This usually satisfies the questioner.
Of course it does.  The fan-boy probably got an identical answer, in
complete seriousness, when he asked that same question of the creators
at the Image Comics tent.  Now on to the subject of this posting...

This group has had discussions about at least 3 instances of classic
duck material being forbidden to be reprinted, or at least required to
be altered, on account of changing attitudes towards racial minorities
(In Darkest Africa, apparently anything at all with Indians in it, and
now Voodoo Hoodoo).  I would like to bring to your attention one more
case in which a Barks story had to be edited before being reprinted
(by Disney Comics).  This was "The Terrible Turkey", a harmless bit of
fluff about Donald's going hunting to shoot a turkey for Thanksgiving
dinner.  You will recall that in the original, after many amusing failed
attempts, Donald finally shoots a bird and takes it to someone to have
it cleaned and plucked for cooking.  The punchline is that when Thanks-
giving dinnertime arrives, the person to whom he took the bird to be
prepared tells Donald that his meal will be inedible because the
"turkey" is actually an eagle!  Now in the USA, killing an eagle, even
by mistake, is a serious crime.  (I think this is true of all types of
eagles and not just the American national symbol, the bald eagle.)
Someone at Disney apparently decided that they couldn't let Donald
commit an offense punishable with a lengthy prison sentence, so they
changed the word "eagle" to "quail".  I have 3 questions. (1) Was this
done because in these environmentally sensitive times, accidentally
killing a member of an endangered species is considered a more serious
offense than the deliberate mischief and acts of aggrevated assault in
which Donald is usually involved, especially with neighbor Jones?
(2) A "quail"????  First of all, how could a bird the size of a quail
be mistaken for a turkey?  If Donald had shot a quail, he certainly
wouldn't have taken it in to be prepared as a meal sufficient for 4
people!  And even if he did, what's wrong with eating a quail for
Thanksgiving dinner (other than its small size)?  The joke about the
eagle was of course that it was much too tough, but quails are just
fine to eat.  Who at Disney Comics made such a dumb substitution of
"quail" in place of "eagle"?  The punchline to the whole story was
thereby rendered completely meaningless (unless you were familiar
with the original).  If they felt compelled to come up with a substitute
for "eagle", why didn't they use "buzzard" or some such?  (3) When this
story is reprinted in Europe, is it still an "eagle" there or does
Disney require it to be edited?  Is killing an eagle punished as harshly
in Europe as it is in the USA, and does that matter to Disney?

One final, completely irrelevant, note.  A number of people on this list
have been telling us a bit about themselves lately, and I'm getting
depressed.  Will someone please tell me (lie, if necessary) that I'm
not the oldest person in this group?  I'm 44, and I learned how to read
from following the words and pictures in WDC&S in the early 1950s.  Am
I now considered too old still to be a fan of "funny books", as we used
to call them?

Wilmer Rivers
rivers at

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