Do you hear that? It’s the sound of the dead, desiccated husk of my childhood idealism blowing away on a warm desert wind…
Not too long ago, I tried to watch the pilot episode of the original Transformers cartoon on Netflix Instant. You know how some children’s cartoons actually operate on multiple levels, so that adults can find something entertaining in them, too? This was not one of those cartoons. This was an unrepentant 1980’s toy commercial stretched out over about 22 minutes without the actual commercials.
In an unrelated incident, my random wanderings through Wikipedia in the cause of avoiding anything productive or income-generating led me to some recaps of the old series, now known as Transformers: Generation 1 to distinguish it from all the subsequent canon-destroying cartoons and live-action sludge that followed. I stopped watching the Transformers cartoon after the second season in 1986, not coincidentally the same year I started junior high school. Therefore, I missed a rather, ahem, colorful character they added in season 3. I Googled this extensively because I refused to believe the description of a new human character, “the dictator Abdul Fakkadi of the desert nation of Carbombya.”
I dare say I need to repeat that for incredulity: “the dictator Abdul Fakkadi of the desert nation of Carbombya.”
TFWiki.net describes this fictional nation as follows:
The Socialist Democratic Federated Republic of Carbombya is a kingdom located in the Sahara Desert region of the continent of Africa on the planet Earth. It has a coastline, with foreign ships that venture too close to it often being fired upon. This intensely xenophobic state is ruled by Abdul Fakkadi, and apparently derives most of its wealth from particularly fine oil. The people are often heard swearing on the lives of their mother’s camels and so forth. This is of course
hilarious offensively stereotypical.
Its city of Carbombya City, population 4,000 (and 10,000 camels), is presumably the capital.
(See also Transformers Wiki at wikia.com.)
It’s a kingdom with a socialist, federal republic system? With a dictator? Um, got it…..
The symbolism is pretty obvious. Clumsy, even. This was 1986, of course, when American esteem for Arab nations was certainly even lower than it is now. I can totally picture the writer who conceived of this character and country, who I am certain has never even seen a book on political science. I’m sure he laughed at his own cleverness as he spilled Cheeto dust onto his anti-Gaddafi t-shirt.
Yeah, something like this.
Photo credit: ‘Carbombya Marker’ © 1986 Sunbow Productions, Marvel Productions, and Hasbro, via tfwiki.net; ‘Khadaffy Duck’ by vintageretrowear, via defunkd.com. You had best believe I’m claiming fair use on this bullshit.