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Source Text B

Mickey Mouse, the charming little mouse from Walt Disney, is known around the world. He is considered a playful character who often gets into trouble but inevitably comes out on top. His resourcefulness and wit are regarded as symbolising all that is best about America and the Americans (Dent 1988). While it is true that Mickey Mouse symbolises America this should not be regarded as a positive but rather a negative feature of the small rodent's character.

The fame of Mickey Mouse has spread around the world in the same way that Coca Cola and MacDonalds have arrived in even the most obscure corners of the earth. It has been promoted by the American publicity machine. This is a form of insidious colonialism that is far more evil than the European colonialism of the past. In their era the Europeans were unstoppable just as Mickey Mouse and all that follows is unstoppable. The important difference is that European colonialism was immediately noticeable and, therefore, more possible to resist.

It is true that European colonialism was not easy to defeat in the short term simply because it had behind it what was at the time the world's strongest military powers. Mickey Mouse colonialism has an equal, if not greater, power supporting its advance. However, it is infinitely more difficult to defeat in the short or long term because it becomes part of the social fabric of its colonies in a way that earlier versions of colonialism never could.

For nine tenths of the world Mickey Mouse is not, in fact, the loveable underdog who manages to succeed in the land of plenty. He is not the role model who shows children how to interact socially with groups of friends and with individuals of the opposite sex. He is, by contrast, a dictator who moulds children to social behaviour patterns which are alien to their society. He fosters rampant consumerism among nations who are economically unready for it, thus, creating bankrupted dependent client states. He also contributes to linguistic colonisation.

Despite the claims from within the United States of America it is necessary to view the effect of Mickey Mouse, and all that followed after him, in a global sense. It is clear that his role has been as a forerunner for the American colonisation of much of the world. There are many parts of the world today where culture and society have suffered irreparably as a result of this colonisation.

Extracted from: Insidious Icons of Our Times by Michel Souris 1990, page 109