New York Times Interview: How Right Wing Radio Duck Was Done

Below is an archived version of an interview with me about the making of my viral remix Donald Duck Meets Glenn Beck which appeared on the New York Times website in the Technology section on October 6th 2010.

Interview: How Right Wing Radio Duck Was Done
Published: October 6, 2010

Thought making mash-ups was quick? Well, think again: It took Jonathan McIntosh three months to produce Right Wing Radio Duck, the viral video that has an out-of-luck Donald Duck falling for Glenn Beck’s rhetoric (embedded below). The hard work paid off, and the video has clocked some 517,000 views since it was published on YouTube this weekend.

McIntosh even received some recognition from Beck himself, who called the clip “cool” and “some of the best well made propaganda I have ever seen” on his radio show this week, only to promise to look “into the funding of this gentleman” to see whether McIntosh was “federally funded.”

We had some questions of our own, so we went straight to the source and asked McIntosh about his work:

How did you come up with the idea of combining Donald Duck and Glenn Beck?

“After hearing a handful of Glenn Beck’s diatribes on the radio he really started to remind me of a paranoid caricature, something right out of an old Disney cartoon — even Beck’s often xenophobic rhetoric about America being “cannibalized” or about “the violent Mexicans” seemed to perfectly mirror some of the unfortunate racist stereotypes used in the classic Disney cartoons.

The current economic recession, unemployment epidemic and skyrocketing foreclosure rate also reminds me of the tough economic times Donald used to face back in the old shorts from the 1930s and 1940s.

So since I was a childhood fan of those classic Disney cartoons, I wondered what might happen if our beloved, but down-on-his-luck, Donald suddenly discovered Beck’s voice coming from his radio.”

How long did it take to produce the clip?

“It took me about 3 months in total to complete this project. The first two months I spent collecting, reviewing and transcribing clips — usually a couple [of] hours a day. This last month I spent intensively story-boarding, scripting and editing the footage and audio clips — usually for about 8 hours a day.

Ironically, like Donald, I also recently lost my job and so I unexpectedly had extra time to finish this video.”

How did you find all the sources?

“Well, I have been casually collecting a handful classic Disney cartoons for a while because I was a childhood fan, but for this remixed narrative to work well, I had to scour the Internet to get a few of the more rare Donald cartoons (especially the ones from the old Wonderful World of Disney TV specials like “Duck for Hire” from 1957 where Ranger Woodlore tells Donald that there just aren’t any more jobs). In the end, I collected and looked through all of the old theatrical shorts for both Mickey and Donald from the 30′s through the 60s (of which there are quick a few).”

Are you concerned about this being taken down?

“No, not really. I suppose it is possible that the media companies might try to have the remix removed but I believe it is a strong example [of] a “transformative work” that constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material.

Even Glenn Beck had to admit on his radio show that although he was unhappy with the ‘incredible propaganda against him’ the remix was ‘of course fair use’.”

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