Sunday, September 18, 2005

There is no need to sally forth

. . . for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. -- Walt Kelly, From the foreword to The Pogo Papers, Copyright 1952-53
I've been a Pogo lover for years, a habit I picked up when my father, who's old enough to have read the original strips, picked up a few used collections. I've got a very substantial collection, now, but I've looked in vain through his and my books for the infamous "We have met the enemy, and he is us" citation. No more. I've found it.

There's a double meaning to the title: I didn't find it by research. It came to me, nearly by chance. I wrote a post yesterday, which inspired reader (long-time or just arrived, I don't know) Sheryl Zettner to post a comment about her own quotation collection (which is extensive, and I'll mine it later).

Well, I don't get nice comments from new readers that often, so I checked out her blog (one of them, anyway) and halfway down I found this link to:This image comes from the ultimate Pogo site which includes this lovely capsule history of the use of the phrase, including the original text cited above and Walt Kelly's own recollections. So, after many years, I've found it!

Many thanks to Sheryl Zettner, my reader, and Marilyn White, proprietor of I Go Pogo, for bringing this quest to a happy conclusion. Now, I just gotta find one of those plaques or posters in my price range...


Anonymous said...

When I was little, I loved Pogo. I had a set of plastic or rubber Pogo figures, now long gone, which I called "my friends" and carried around in a brown paper bag. I think my parents must have got them through some kind of proof-of-purchase offer. I have a tactile memory of holding the bag around the handlebar of my tricycle while pedaling around our neighborhood in Cleveland. I was three.

I remember reading it, once I learned to read, in my grandparents' newspaper in Toledo. It made no sense to me, and none of the adults would (or could) explain it, but I loved the pictures.

Maybe it's time for me to pick it up again.

100 word minimum

Ahistoricality said...

The storytelling is much more sophisticated than you expect from a "comic strip": different narratives weave through each other and there are surprisingly dense classical references. And the abuse of language is timeless.

Sheryl said...

How cool. I didn't see this till some time after you posted it, but that's neat to hear. Yeah, that is a cool Pogo quote