Donald Duck, Hero of the Proletariat

Every once in a while I read something that is just bizarre. This is the case with an article in today's Wall Street Journal, in which writer Susan Bernofsky documents the huge popularity of Donald Duck in Germany.

The article comes with the unsurprising, as German parents apparently met comic books with the same hostility as parents in the United States:

The initial response to the Donald Duck comics in Germany was mixed. German kids loved them; German parents worried that this “trash literature” would interfere with children’s development. Of the 300,000 copies of the magazine Micky Maus printed in 1951, only 135,000 sold. But just six years later, the monthly journal had been replaced by a weekly, which by the late 1960s was appearing in an edition of 450,000 copies.

However, the article also documents the bizarre:

Not only young kids were reading it. Micky Maus became popular entertainment among a newly politicized generation who saw the comics as illustrations of the classic Marxist class struggle. A nationally distributed newsletter put out by left-leaning high school students in 1969 described Dagobert (Scrooge) as the “prototype of the monocapitalist,” Donald as a member of the proletariat, and Tick, Trick and Track as “socialist youth” well on their way to becoming “proper Communists.” Even Frankfurt School philosopher Max Horkheimer admitted to enjoying reading Donald Duck comics before bed.

Donald Duck as hero of the proletariat? I suppose that makes sense. After all, Scrooge McDuck is certainly the ultimate example of bourgeois decadence: