Mike Dawson of Troop 142 fame—whose new GN this year, Angie Bongiolatti (Secret Acres) should be much talked about— has a daughter and now an awesome comic up on Slate about Sofia the First, the Disney message and George Orwell’s fallacy of arictocracy.

I love comics.


  1. If you want to know what George Orwell thought about comics, here he is, from 1945:

    Recently a friend of mine in America sent me a batch of ten-cent illustrated papers of the kind that are known generically as “comics” and consist entirely of coloured strip cartoons. Although bearing such titles as Marvel Comics or Famous Funnies, they are, in fact, mainly given over to “scientifiction” — that is, steel robots, invisible men, prehistoric monsters, death rays, invasions from Mars, and such-like.

    Seen in the mass these things are very disquieting. Quite obviously they tend to stimulate fantasies of power, and in the last resort their subject matter boils down to magic and sadism. You can hardly look at a page without seeing somebody flying through the air (a surprising number of the characters are able to fly), or somebody socking somebody else on the jaw, or an under-clad young woman fighting for her honour — and her ravisher is just as likely to be a steel robot or a fifty-foot dinosaur as a human being. The whole thing is just a riot of nonsensical sensationalism, with none of the genuine scientific interest of the H.G. Wells stories from which this class of fiction originally sprang.

    Who reads these papers is uncertain. Evidently they are intended primarily for children, but the advertisements and the ever-present sex appeal suggest that they are read by adults as well.

  2. Re the essay on Dickens, Orwell’s argument that Dickens’ portrayal of an ideal class relationship was essentially feudal, i.e. it belonged to a time before capitalism and didn’t reflect realities that already existed by the nineteenth century. I suspect “Sofia The First” doesn’t reflect them, either.

  3. Even today’s prime time television tends to mirror what Orwell disliked in comics. Magic and sadism, that’s what the people want!

  4. The other very troubling thing about Sofia is that she’s allegedly Disney’s first “Hispanic” princess. Hispanic is in quotes there because Sofia doesn’t seem to inhabit any sort of real-world Latin American Country or even Spain itself. The show’s made of a mish-mash of different aspects of different Hispahinc cultures, which is frankly rather insulting.

  5. “Ruling class” and working class are an affect of human nature. Fortunately, here in America, we have the opportunity to struggle for the place we desire. Kindness should be on the agenda of every human being, no matter what their status.

  6. Horseshit, “ruling class” is an effect of birth and race. The only “kindness” you should expect from a ruling class is a product of fear. Fear of the working class killing them. Nothing is more offensive than an indolent ruling class offering bread and kindness.

  7. I don’t believe you believe that. Do you honestly think the average North Korean has a fair say in politics? Or a evolution there was possible? People don’t always get the government they deserve. Mankind has spent more of it’s existence under the boots of royalty than any other system and most often not by choice and lacking the ability to change. Royalty and ruling class are evil by nature and in design.

  8. I believe in noblesse oblige as a worthy ideal, and believe that the current no-obligations-to-anyone-else approach to capitalism is far nastier than traditional monarchy.

    Obviously I am probably in the minority these days…

  9. I also think that treating people (especially subordinates, including employees) with “kindness, decency and benevolence” is indeed the way to go, in whatever political or economic system one finds oneself in, and whatever changes may need to be made on a systemic level.

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