"A Tale of Two Turkeys"
This story is untitled, but the above is what I suggested that a few years back that it SHOULD be retroactively called, as opposed to "Turkey Trouble" (or possibly "Turkey Turmoil," according to the somewhat confusing inducks page) But hey--Gladstone (was it Gladstone?) might have thought "Turkey Trouble" was the right title, but they're dead and I'm not (...yet!), so I am unilaterally changing it. Just try an' stop me!
It's actually a really solid story, packing in a lot of incident and showing more narrative sophistication than most of Barks' ten-pagers of this vintage (1946).
…did I say "sophistication?" Ahem. Well. Okay. But the dual-turkey business is remains impressive. It feels to me like more than ten pages.
Nothin' wrong with potato pancakes!
Nothin' wrong with potato pancakes!
Pretty odd that turkeys are pretty much the only well-known domestic bird that's non-anthropomorphized in the Duckiverse. I guess it was just too convenient to have one freely available for food-related shenanigans in holiday-related stories and the like. But in spite of not being anthropomorphized--well, the inevitable happens, and no one wants to eat him. I distinctly recall reading a Little Lulu story or two that used this same conceit.
You know, I don't eat meat, but far be it for me to proselytize to people, especially on the day when (if you're American, at any rate) you're no doubt busily wolfing down birds of various stripes. Still, when I think about the implications of stories like this, it looks to me as though there's a certain collective ambivalence about the ethics of meat-eating.
To wit: "You can't cook Raffles! He's a pet!" Well, yes, okay, but if one turkey is unacceptable to eat because he's our pet and we love him, it just seems difficult not to conclude that any turkey can be eaten with a wholly clear conscience. You're not allowed to murder people, even if you don't know and like them, so I don't know why that doesn't scale down. Not that our relationships with animals aren't in general exceedingly irrational on an objective level, but still…
I like how pissed off HDL are up there. Just DARE touch it!
Anyway, so now we pinball to this thing which is referred to as a "turkey shoot," though I don't know if it should really be called that given that no one is actually shooting turkeys--it's just targets. Also, again as a vegetarian, I maybe shouldn't give advice like this, but I have to note that if you're going to eat that guy, you'd want to kill him sooner rather than later. If you wait 'til he's elderly, which seems to be your plan, he's not gonna taste like much (not that turkeys taste like much anyway--back when I did eat meat, I always wondered what the big deal was about them).
…you would really think that HDL would extrapolate from Raffles and not be so doggone excited about the prospect of decapitating this other turkey. As I said, things seem a little confused here. Donald's battle and subsequent outraged "I LOVE this turkey! He's got spirit!" is the best thing in the story. Really gives some dimension to his character; you might well think he would be all too willing to go through with the slaughter.
And then: one of Barks' ambiguous endings. If Donald likes "spirit" so much, you'd think maybe he'd accept this sort of take-charge action on the part of the turkeys, but apparently there are limits (I do think that in a later story, the kids wouldn't have been so willing to give up Raffles). And yet…in spite of that, strangely enough, they don't eat the turkeys. They sell them to (presumably) be eaten, but they don't do it themselves. Out of residual affection? There may be an element of palatability here: for little kids especially, it might be upsetting to see the birds killed in the end, and it would seem awfully vindictive of the ducks. Still, if that's true, it would seem to support my "ambivalence" theory. If you don't like thinking about turkeys being slaughtered…
But regardless of motive: they don't do it. Go figure. Good luck finding a hamburger place open on Thanksgiving!
Anyway, this is my humble Thanksgiving offering. Please accept it. I should have some okay stuff for Christmas, and also--if we're lucky!--a little something special at some point in December. Stay tuned.
(And no, that wasn't meant to be the world's most obvious hint that I'm writing about the Rosa story. Though that's another thing I should do one of those days, no question.)
Labels: Carl Barks