Popeye Was No Chicken on Jihadism

Guest Blog By Hillel Stavis

Samuel Huntington?  Montgomery Watt?  Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq? Andrew Bostom? Are you looking for the most perspicacious source on historical Islam?  Forget about them.  Turn to Max and Dave Fleischer, the cartoonists from the 1930’s and their epic of Islamic analysis:

Popeye the Sailor and Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves (1937)


Denied a place at the Disney table (it has been reputed that Signor Disney cared little for followers of the Mosaic persuasion), the frères Fleischer started King Features Syndicate during the depression, featuring the intrepid mariner who would prove to be Mickey Mouse’s chief rival for the next two decades.  Popeye the Sailor Man was born to one Elzie Segar (pronounced like the proverbial 10 cent CEE-gar) in the late 1920’s.  His entourage, brilliantly assembled to resemble the eccentricities that were the stuff of an American cultural stew that consisted of an anorexic girlfriend, a mooching, fat guy with the gift of gab and a lout who would take on the personae of every bully from Tojo to Hitler, whatever villain was in demand.

In 1937 (following the so-called “Arab Revolt”  in Palestine of the previous year), the Fleischers chose the Middle East as Popeye’s battleground  with the forces of darkness).   I’m not suggesting that events 9000 miles away from Manhattan had anything to do with the cartoon, but who knows?

Twelve years later, Avedis Derounian, writing as “John Roy Carlson” tried to awaken the world to the growing threat of militant Islam in his epochal, Cairo to Damascus, with its prophetic chapter entitled “Islam Uber Alles”.  Could Popeye have pre-dated all of us with his battle on the sands with his arch-enemy?”

The desert scene opens with Bluto as the classic Jihadist, Abu Hassan, at the head of the raziah (cf. Koran, Sura 8, verses 41-44 and the assignment of loot), singing,

“Your wives and children and money, too

I’ll steal them from you before I’m through..”

“When things get quiet I start a riot

When I go by…”

“Now make no error

I’m called the terror

Of every village and town.”

And, indeed, Abu Hassan proceeds to steal everything in the town from Wimpy’s hot dogs to a poor bystander’s teeth.   He then makes his fatal error by enslaving Olive Oyl.  No infidel worth his salt could abide this – as Popeye demonstrates – by thoroughly thrashing Hassan.  In the process, he calls on his never-failing, turbocharged spinach ingestion, commanding the tin can to open miraculously, by invoking,

“Open, SEZ ME!”

The local villages spared, western feminism restored, American values triumphant and Wimpy free to freeload.  What else do we need to know about combating Islam? 

If we want to be “strong to the finich”, we’d better start stockpiling you-know-what (along with Popeye’s resolve).

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