Sunday, March 26, 2023

"The Money Bird"

I don't know why I'm so into these old non-Barks Western stories!  Am I like an aging libertine whose palate is so jaded that he has to venture into the realms of the bizarre and possibly illegal to receive any sort of frisson of pleasure?  Maybe!  Was it a good idea for me to make that simile?  Definitely not!  But here we are!

The first thing I have to note about this story is something that will be meaningless to ninety-nine, or more likely one hundred, percent of people reading this.  But needs must: once you've imagined ol' Tom Boldface there talking in the voice of Evrart Claire, the cheerfully corrupt head of the dockworkers' union in Disco Elysium, you will be unable to not hear him like that.

Anyway, this is Dick Moores, about whom I have written a number of times, as you will see if you click the handy little tag.  I don't know why I have such a weakness for him, but the evidence strongly suggests I do.  Do reporters typically just wander around aimlessly waiting for news to occur?  Seems like a pretty chill job.

Also, those nephews look stoned to the gills.  They're dreaming a strange dream, where nothing is gray.  Moores is very good at creating that effect. 

My old friend, Clyde Beetroot.  Donald has a lot of old friends in these stories that are then heard from never no never no more.  I do wonder about the name here, though.  That the editor is called Tom Boldface suggests that we're going for some sort of nominative determinism here, but I have no notion of what "Beetroot" could mean in that context.  Pretty weird!

I think it is safe to say that that is indeed unbelievable, in the most literal sense of the word.  It is impossible to believe.  Anyway, how does ol' Clyde know it's "genuine?"  And what exactly would it mean if it were counterfeit?  The ontological questions here are enough to set one's head a-spinning.  Also, they're all entirely meaningless.  Let's move on.

This...just occurred to you?  I mean, whether or not it's a good idea, doesn't it seem like the implications, or even the bare existence of implications of some kind, should've been obvious?  Meh.  Anyway, I do appreciate Donald's selflessness here, even if his quick-wittedness is up for debate.

"I refuse to believe that everybody can be as rich as I am."  There's just something about that turn of would be one thing if the word was "anybody;" then it would just be a typical Scroogian sentiment.  But the borderline agrammaticality of this version really tickles me.  As much as I think our plutocrats' wealth has warped their minds and made them other than human, I don't think they think quite like this.

A li'l economics lesson, as Barks liked to dispense on occasion, albeit significantly more ham-handed.  But if you think that the rest of the story is going to confirm this or refute it or address it in any way...all I can say is, BOY ARE YOU DUMB.


Right.  You know, these stories tend to be so thoughtless and goofy that there's not much point in acting all ostentatiously surprised by their twists.  It generally feels fairly performative.  But in all honesty, the mental processes involved in Scrooge's line of thinking here truly defy even a general approximation of comprehension.  "It takes brains to figure these things out!"  Brains or something.  There's a bunch of stuff that I've cut out involving him trying to buy as many peanuts as possible.  It's a little like the Barks story where he thinks fish is going to be the new currency and tries to corner the market, but much more demented.

Anyway, here's yer denouement, such as it is.  It remains good only if you keep it.  Well...okay, so we definitely saw ol' Clyde handing an eggful of it to one of the nephews, above, but let's leave that aside.  It's hard to tell what exactly the parameters of that are.  So, "it's only good if you keep it" and "as soon as you try to spend it the money turns blank."  But those aren't the only options, are they?  What if you just try to deposit it into your bank account?  You're not "keeping" it, but neither are you spending it.  And, I mean, we were told that it's "genuine United States currency," and if that's the case, doing this couldn't be illegal.  Well, what's "genuine" even mean, anyway?  What would it mean to distinguish between "genuine" and counterfeit money that comes from an egg?  This is far too complicated, and I'm far too drunk, to think about any further.

Yes, "it just proves" that.  Is this meant to be a profundity?  Is getting money just by wishing for it the ultimate dream?  I mean, I suppose it is, if you think about books like Think and Grow Rich or, more recently, The Secret.  Still, the way he says that looks faintly ludicrous.  Big "since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the Sun" energy.  Okay, we're done here.



Blogger Pan Miluś said...

There is something so off about how Moores draws beaks when they are seen from from profile here I find bizzare but in a very amusing way. Almost like Donald lacks his chin and I feels more wacky then he is with them big eyes.

Truth to be told being from Poland I wasn't expose much to Moores (in fact acording to INDUCKS aside for Al Taliaferro stories he did ink on we didn't got any stories him at all) He is a new theritory for me and I glad I can be educated by him thanks to this wonderful, marvaless blog!

I'm so happy you return with more articless. Keep them comming! ^_^ You like some mythological bird that got burned alive and return from his ashes!

March 26, 2023 at 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Achille Talon said...

I'll second Pan's sentiment re: your being back to posting! And this was another laugh-at-loud banger (helped along by an exceptionally bizarre story, of course, but the commentary was worthy of the madness of the source material).

Interesting that Scrooge has an all-blue coat here. You don't see that too often.

March 26, 2023 at 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

There are millions of money birds in Africa, but there are apparently no people in Africa to discover them and discern the limits of their magical product.... or, possibly, the local humans did figure this out aeons ago, and Clyde didn't bother to inquire. He does seem to have a gift for not thinking of the obvious!

March 26, 2023 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger ramapith said...

I'm pretty sure Elaine is right about Clyde. The money birds presumably ate US currency from 1890s robber barons until their eggs came out full of it, and since the locals couldn't easily spend the foreign currency, and/or they noticed it faded when spent... wait, that's still breaking my brain...

A moment of silence, by the way, for the first Dick Moores story I ever read. I have to admit that as a kid, I always wondered why anyone wanted to see more from him when Barks and Jippes existed...

March 27, 2023 at 1:11 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

It just goes to show how oblivious to these issues I can be that I completely missed the colonialist aspect of this story, which is surely the most important thing.

March 27, 2023 at 1:41 AM  
Anonymous Achille Talon said...

Speaking of Clyde Beetroot, I would speculate that his name is a pun on some real figure's whose last name sounded a bit like "Beetroot", though I have no clue who.

March 27, 2023 at 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess would be "Clyde Beetroot" is a play on Clyde Beatty.

March 29, 2023 at 11:08 PM  
Blogger Debbie Anne said...

Sometimes I think the only criteria that Western Publishing had for these stories was that they feature Donald Duck and if possible, Uncle Scrooge. Other than that, as long as it filled up the right amount of pages, it was good.

March 30, 2023 at 12:50 AM  
Blogger ramapith said...

Ding! Ding! Debbie, you win a cigar. Without nostalgia goggles, a huge number of these Western stories are really, unbelievably weak.

(But of course, I say this having just indicated that I'd theoretically like to reprint "The Flat-Footed Floogle" despite its being a mess. Whose side am I on?)

April 3, 2023 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I would like to confirm that many of these stories ARE quite bad (was there really ever any doubt of that?), and very few are more than middling at best. The best of them--and that probably includes these Moores ones I've been covering--aren't on the level of even lesser Barks. When I call myself a fan of Moores' work, consider it in that context.

April 5, 2023 at 12:09 PM  
Anonymous elvinjames said...

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April 12, 2023 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

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April 13, 2023 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Simone Cavazzuti said...

Hi, GeoX! I can't remember if this is my first comment ever, but I've been following your blog since you created it and man, I really love your reviews... They are so personal and precise and fun to read, I really enjoy your witty comments and I think you do your best on these non-Barks/Rosa stories.


April 28, 2023 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Hey Simone! Sorry I missed your comment. Yeah, I don't think I've seen you 'round these parts before, but your presence is appreciated. I'll try to do some more weird old Western stuff soon.

May 12, 2023 at 10:20 AM  

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