14 October 2006

Aku Rules

The divine Terese Catanzariti, dean emerita of foreign correspondents in Oulu, who set a standard of journalistic excellence never to be equaled in our lifetimes, once filed a dispatch about why Finns like Donald Duck and do not like Mickey Mouse. I wanted to attach it as a link, but now I am unable to find it on the internet. Bummer. It has gone the way of all pixels, I guess.

Catanzariti’s argument, as I recall, was that everything goes right for MM. People naturally defer to a guy who gets the job done without breaking a sweat. And that is precisely the reason that Finns can’t warm up him.

Donald—known here as Aku Ankka—is, by contrast, a clever, industrious, and good-natured but somewhat hapless fellow as likely to be tripped up by genuine evil or blind fate as by his nephews’ mischievousness. Life is more of a struggle for him. Now this is the kind of chap to whom a melancholy Finn can relate.

I was and am persuaded by Catanzariti’s argument, but I was not completely prepared for the dimensions of Aku Ankka’s celebrity here. You see people reading Aku Ankka paperbacks on the bus, in the kahvila, just about anywhere. I have my own supply of them in my flat.

My asunto came furnished. In fact, my landlord left many half-consumed products in the kitchen cupboards, pantry, and shower caddy, thinking that I would appreciate not having to run out right away to buy things like coffee filters and shampoo. He was right, I did and do appreciate that. I don’t mind living with his detritus. It’s a guy thing. Anyway, in the living room/bedroom, he emptied out all the drawers of the bureau save one, which I discovered was filled to the brim with Aku Ankka paperbacks, all of them dog-eared. My landlord is a very generous fellow.

But my language skills are nowhere near the level that would allow me to penetrate these things. I’ve tried—Aku Ankka in my right hand, sanakirja (dictionary) in my left—but it just isn't worth the effort. So, I’m afraid The Donald will rank right up there with pesäpallo and NASCAR as Finnish passions that I’ll probably never completely understand. I wonder how Treezycat did it.