From time to time I will receive an email from Mrs. JediCole that demands my attention, or at least the considerations of the Ever-Ticking Brain. And so it was this week that I received the following:
A question from the co-workers:
Goofy & Pluto
Which one is “unique”?
Is Goofy like the cop/detective in Alan Moore’s “TOP 10”?
Never one to pass up such a challenge I quickly formulated at reply. Since the question and where it led me were too good to simply end with the answer shared among her co-workers, I present it now as a variation on my recurring feature Jedi Justifications. Be sure to check out the latest installment of that feature which will appear this Sunday! And now, my response:
In the end the field is narrowed automatically by the nature of those with whom Goofy and Pluto consort. The Toon realm that is inhabited by Mickey Mouse and friends, henceforth known as the Disneyverse, is peopled exclusively by anthropomorphic animals, primarily birds and mammals. This is well established by documentation from Steamboat Willy to Three Caballeros and beyond. This designation is inclusive of the Disneyverse and not the overall body of Disney animated features and shorts. With few exceptions (i.e.; the brief alliance between the Disneyverse and the Allied Powers during World War II), the Disneyverse is entirely devoid of true human forms.
Yet each of these characters, to his own personal tastes or cultural demands, is possessed of human shame. Mickey and Minnie, representing the higher order of mammals, don far more clothing than their avian counterparts like the shameless Donald Duck. Though there are exceptions to that trend as represented by semi-nudist bovines who accessorize their nudity solely with decorative yokes. None the less, there are no shortage of animal-people who walk erect, have (in most cases) opposable thumbs, and speak some form of language that is an exaggerated English dialect. Save for one most unique exception.
Theories on the exact nature of Pluto differ from Toon anthropomorphologist to anthropomorphologist, but the general consensus is that he is no less a higher order Toon that his constant companion Mickey Mouse. Some have suggested that Pluto is an ancestral form of Goofy’s people that was revived after millennia frozen in some artic glacier. Still others consider him an unfortunate mental defective who is the victim of the draconian stance taken by Toons in the Disneyverse on mental illness. As Pluto is compelled to take on the role of a lesser being he is simply allowed to do so without any form of potential rehabilitation being afforded him. And finally there are the fringe theories that range from extraterrestrial sources to genetic engineering on an “Island of Dr. Moreau” scale.
While the actual disposition of Pluto may never be adequately confirmed, there is no doubt that he is unique in the Disneyverse.
(The above is an excerpt from Roy Disney’s seminal masterpiece Understanding Dad.)