5.0173 Further Pogoisms (3/91)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Fri, 21 Jun 91 16:37:12 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0173. Friday, 21 Jun 1991.

(1) Date: Fri, 21 Jun 91 00:24:24 EDT (42 lines)
From: Brian Whittaker <BRIANW@VM2.YorkU.CA>
Subject: Pogoisms

(2) Date: Fri, 21 Jun 91 09:00:30 PLT (18 lines)
From: Paul Brians <BRIANS@WSUVM1>
Subject: Re: Pogoisms

(3) Date: Fri, 21 Jun 91 09:28:37 PLT (31 lines)
From: Paul Brians <BRIANS@WSUVM1>
Subject: Re: Pogoisms

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 91 00:24:24 EDT
From: Brian Whittaker <BRIANW@VM2.YorkU.CA>
Subject: Pogoisms

Disturbed to read that Walt Kelly had denied what I thought to be the
most famous quotation from Pogo, I queried several colleagues from a
variety of disciplines (so this is an interdisciplinary and not merely
humanities investigation).

Given the quotation, which I had remembered as "We have met the enemy
and he is us" they all responded with exactly the same context I had
attached to the quotation: an episode in the colour weekend version of
the strip (as opposed to the daily, black and white, more overtly
political version) in which Pogo and his friends are searching
the swamp for the enemy (no one could remember who) and, as they
move in a circle, their leader encounters the last member of the
group. After the conventional gestures of surprise, one of the group
(none of us could remember who) uttered the famous line. Could we all
be suffering from mass hermeneutic hysteria in order to supply
exactly the same context for a non-utterance?

Interestingly, a couple of people, to whom I had not mentioned the
letter of denial, observed that in view of the changes in Kelly's
political views in his later years he would probably not have
admitted to this and other witty comments on political paranoia in
his earlier strips. These comments seemed to undercut the authority
of the letter, but I could not verify their accuracy.

At last a hermeneutic and (a)textual problem worthy of the
scholars of HUMANIST. Surely we have not stumbled on the spurious
epigrams of Pseudo-Kelly.

Does anyone have a Pogo database, perhaps on Hypercard, that would
let us do a search, cross referencing words and pictures? My
colleagues and I are in general agreement that the gang were
circling a tree when they met themselves...


Brian Whittaker
Atkinson College, York University
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------25----
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 91 09:00:30 PLT
From: Paul Brians <BRIANS@WSUVM1>
Subject: Re: Pogoisms

"We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us," is the title of a collection of
strips focussing on pollution,with a 1972 publication date. The first
chapter also uses the famous line as its title, and the volume contains
a more than usually forthright editorial introduction by Kelly denouncing
environmental pollution. Pogo doesn't utter the words in this volume,
but I also believe he did at some point. I remember a scene with
Pogo and Churchy (?) looking out over a wasted landscape while Pogo
uttered the classic phrase (a variation on "We have met the enemy and
he is ours"). It was either a splash panel in the Sunday strip or
a special drawing done by Kelly for the environmental movement.
Kelly, a life-long liberal, would probably have been appalled at some
of the uses to which the line has been put, since he fought enemies of
other sorts, from McCarthy to Spiro Agnew. He always used it in
reference to environmental problems.
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------38----
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 91 09:28:37 PLT
From: Paul Brians <BRIANS@WSUVM1>
Subject: Re: Pogoisms

I am coming in in the middle of this discussion, so perhaps this has
already been covered. But a little more research indicates that
"We have met the enemy and he is us," was first uttered in the Pogo
strip August 8, 1970, and is the last line in the collection
Impollutable Pogo. But it was not spoken BY Pogo. Here is the
dialogue from the last page (128).
Albert says, "I resolve we'll go right on with our fight against
The bats: "Woof, Yow!, Right on! Immediately!"
Albert: Bravely! Right after lunch at Pogo's Place,
kee-rect, Pog'?"
(They assemble around a picnic table, toasting with lemonade.)
The Deacon: "Here's to each and all; Bless 'em!"
Churchy: "Hear! Hear!"
Bun Rabbit: "C'mon Albert, toast up!"
Albert: "I'm still broodin' about pollution!"
Then, while throwing his cigar into the tub of lemonade:
"All them characters what dumps anything anywhere... They is
enemies of the people!"
Pogo, shocked at the cigar in the lemonade, cries, !Albert!"
and Porky--not Pogo--raises his cup and says "We have met
the enemy and He is US."

I think Kelly later gave the line to Pogo in stand-alone
cartoons he did for the environmental movement. But he
definitely originated the phrase, though not in the mouth of
Pogo himself.