America's biggest mistake to date was not heeding Mickey Mouse and Goofy's dire warning. We first experienced a devastating energy crisis over thirty years ago. Despite clever attempts at energy conservation and political promises to gradually lessen dependence on foreign oil and other finite energy sources, we are in the midst of yet another energy crisis. It's almost as if no lessons were learned from the last energy crisis!
But, to Mickey Mouse and his best pal, Goofy, this all seems like deja vu. Right now, they are probably in their castle in California (or possibly Florida), reminiscing about the 1970s, their shared hallucination about a preachy anthropomorphic atom named Enny, and how all their displays of Yankee ingenuity were wasted on the American public. Did any president after, say, Jimmy Carter even consult this comic? Or, perhaps, T. Boone Pickens was the only person to have taken this tract seriously.
*cue Disco Donald Duck*
Come with me back to 1976, as we look with shame at some of the ways (mule power!) our current energy crisis could have been prevented. I present to you in three parts: Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy (© 1976, Walt Disney Educational Media Co.).
Note Enny's approval of Mickey and Goofy's creative conservation. Shouldn't we all be driving mules by now?
This comic's thesis is already prominent on the first page. The energy crunch is bad, and it contributes to the unpleasantness of average mice and goofs. Energy crises may contribute to the impoliteness of some citizens as they become less punctual, are more apt to make ludicrous excuses for their behavior, and assuage their guilty consciences with nosy questions and hurtful accusations. Others might seem 'not themselves': weak, wan, and lacking vim and/or vigor. That's the energy crunch, folks!
Mickey explains the energy crunch with a (guilt) trip to the U.S. Energy Bank where Goofy gets a lesson in fy-nite energy.
Mickey sets us straight: We can't wish energy crunches away.
Oblivious as usual, Goofy goofs (as evidenced by the panel where the sky turns an alarming shade of magenta) and his car runs out of gas. Goofy and Mickey trek to Otto's gas station which is deserted and boarded up. Otto's mom and pop business hasn't actually 'moved.' It was bought out by Mobil Oil. (In the fifth panel, doesn't it look like someone in the distance is yelling about the fuel gauge?)
This comic probably terrified many kids with its 'we're all going to die (and it's all your fault for ever being born)' scare tactics. But sometimes it takes a good scare to jolt us out of complacency.
Trekking through the desert heat makes Mickey and Goofy grow weary, and they stop to rest under a tree. They become unnaturally sleepy (a la Dorothy in the poppy field in The Wizard of Oz), and their sleep sounds are oddly Batmanesque (zawp, bzazz, zoop!?). Enny instantly materializes out of thin air to take them on the trip of many lifetimes. Meet Enny, the Spirit of Energies past.
Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of Mickey Mouse and Goofy Explore Energy when Enny will take us on a trip through the history of energy. It'll be better than a day at the Epcot Center!