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Mahon, E. (1989). Reflection on “Remarks on the Popularity of Mickey Mouse”. Am. Imago, 46(2-3):121-124.

(1989). American Imago, 46(2-3):121-124

Reflection on “Remarks on the Popularity of Mickey Mouse”

Eugene Mahon, M.D.

Perhaps the most surprising revelation in Dr. Moellenhoff's paper (beside the fact that the author hails from Peoria!) was that Mickey Mouse was a failure at first until he developed his own voice, so to speak. The adult voice of the creator which was first used did not lead to instant popularity until it was replaced by the “falsetto” now so familiar to all of us. I will return to this particular issue later.

First a word about Dr. Moellenhoff's applied psychoanalytic skills in general. That the missiles of applied analysis would be fired from such an unlikely launching pad in Peoria at such a diminutive cartoon hero must strike one as amusing. And yet Dr. Moellenhoff seems devoid of any tongue-in-cheek humour as if he believes the sublime could never be approached from the ridiculous, so serious is his mission to defrock the rodent-emperor and show him to be without clothes. Mission accomplished, one must quickly add in Dr. Moellenhoff's favor, even if he has pursued his prey with blunderbuss rather than an appropriately petite psychoanalytic mouse trap. While it may be hard to keep a straight face as Moellenhoff pursues Mickey so doggedly, his psychoanalytic insights are not unconvincing and might be summarized as follows: “Mickey the hermaphrodite leads an action packed but nonsexual and therefore castration-free life of thrills in which the small topple the mighty. This appeals to the unconscious identifications of children of all ages and their megalomaniacal fantasies.”

What can we add 50 years later to such interpretations? Not much if it comes to the psychodynamic contents of the cartoons. Dr. Moellenhoff has covered that speculative area exhaustively not to mention humourlessly. The formal characteristics of the animated cartoon and the idiosyncratic aesthetic needs of children are areas which Dr.

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