I confess that I’m not entirely sure what to make of Manifestoon (YouTube link), the video I’m posting about today, but I couldn’t resist putting up a link. It is a reading from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s “Communist Manifesto” illustrated with clips from old cartoons. Is it meant to be a way to make the communist manifesto more approachable and understandable? Is it meant as an ironic statement about the nature of life in postmodern society? Is it meant as a commentary on what society has become? I’ll let you be the judge.

According to Jesse Drew, the creator of the Manifestoon, his intent was to tap in to the subversive nature of cartoons. In his description of the project he writes:

Manifestoon is an homage to the latent subversiveness of cartoons. Though American cartoons are usually thought of as conveying consumerist and individualistic ideologies, as an avid fan of cartoons as a child, these ideas were secondary to a more important lesson–that of the “trickster” nature of many cartoon characters as they mocked, outwitted, and ultimately defeated their stronger, more powerful adversaries. In the classic cartoon, brute strength and heavy artillery are no match for wit and humor, and justice always prevails. For me, it was a natural process to link my own childhood concept of subversion with an established, more articulate version of subversiveness. These cartoon clips are all from different cartoons, with the exception of one or two, and reflect a broad range of the classic traditional Hollywood animations. In “Manifestoon,” the image of Mickey running over the globe has new meaning in the current mediascape in which Disney now controls one of the largest concentrations of media ownership in the world. But it could be asked, is he gaining ground, or could he be running away from the revolt of the disposessed ‘toons?

It is also possible to download an mpgeg4 copy of the file at the Internet Archive here.

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