Barks' European popularity - an anecdote

Halsten Aastebol Halsten.Aastebol at
Tue Jun 26 09:59:29 CEST 2001

At 23:31 24.06.01 +0000, Owen Heitmann wrote:

>Well, here comes my point (yes, I do have one). I was at a party thrown by 
>one of my University friends (in Adelaide, South Australia) on the 
>weekend, and one of the people there was a Norwegian exchange student. 
>After a couple of drinks, it suddenly occurred to me that this was a prime 
>chance to test the Ducks' real popularity. The exchange student (who was 
>around 21 years old) was about as close to a totally random Norwegian as 
>I'm likely to encounter. Also, as a friend of a friend of a friend, the 
>chance of him being a comic book geek like myself shouldn't have been any 
>higher than normal. So I walked up to him and asked directly (to avoid the 
>possibility of any leading questions contaminating the experiment) "Do you 
>know who Carl Barks is?"
>He looked at me, his eyes widened, and then with a big smile he said, "Oh, 
>you read the Disney ducks? You know Don Rosa?"
>I couldn't believe it. The legends were true! My jaw just about hit the floor.
>Sure, it's not exactly the most scientific survey in the world, but it's 
>convinced me. Just something I thought I'd share.

As a Norwegian I feel compelled to answer this. Surely the names of Carl 
Barks and Don Rosa have become rather well known during the last ten years 
due to a number of articles (some quite long) in major newspapers, 
mentioning on TV and of course articles in the comic magazines and books. 
But there is a difference between "rather well known" and "household 
names". So I think your initial assumption that there is some exaggeration 
into the picture is correct. But only some, not much exaggeration!

You talked to a male exchange student. This means your test person is 
already somewhat biased. You see:
- He's a he.
- He's a student/academic
- He likes adventure (taking part of his education in far away Australia)

Adds up to a possibility well above average that he knows who Carl 
Barks  was. If on the other hand
- he had been a she
- had no education at university level
chances are much higher that the answer to your question would have been "Huh?"

Actually for kids who have been growing up during the 90s, this will be a 
bit different because they will have learnt Carl's name through the comic 
magazines. My generation never did that.


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