Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dolan and Dadaism

There's a meme-based webcomic floating around the internet called Dolan. It consists of poorly drawn Disney characters speaking broken english (possibly because it originated on a Finnish image board). It's generally centered around Donald Duck, with his named misspelt as "Dolan". In these comics, Dolan is often seen raping, murdering, and defecating in peoples' food. Below is one of the more tame comics.

A lot of people find these horribly offensive, downright juvenile, or they just don't get it (or all of the above). But somehow, on some level, a lot of people find them very amusing. I think it's interesting to look at them from an art theory standpoint. Memes have become a kind of "art 2.0". Anyone with MS paint and an internet connection is able to create their own Dolan comic, and many websites have their own meme generators. While it's not exactly fine art, it is a form of expression.

When i see a Dolan comic, i'm reminded of the Dada movement. Dadaism was a cultural movement that arose, around the time of WWI, out of anti-war sentiment that rejected the prevailing standards of the time through various art forms, creating "anti-art". Dadaism was anarchistic, and set out to ridicule the meaninglessness of the modern world. Dadaist art works were created with the intention of offending and challenging peoples' standards preconceptions.

To say that all that can be applied to Dolan comics might be reading too much into it, but it's the anarchistic and challenging nature of the comics that made me draw the connection. The comics, for the most part, seem to be very deliberately made to be as offensive and tasteless as possible. I think that's also what gives them their dark appeal. In a world where we're supposed to be becoming more and more civilised every day, i think that the innate human desire to tear things down is stronger than ever, and i think that the Dolan comics are just one of many symptoms of this.

Another outlet of this, i think, can be seen in the current obsession, in the US at least, with zombie apocalypse scenarios, but I'll cover that in a future post.


  1. I thought the first few I saw were funny, but after awhile they get a little tired and forced.

  2. I'm not that interested in these "comics", probably just not my thing.

  3. I agree with you Mike. They do lose their shock value, and a lot of them seem to miss the point now.

  4. Some of them are hilarious

  5. its a push shocking but not all too funny

  6. Dolan is TOTALLY DADA. I never thought of that before, but you are absolutely spot on. I really enjoy both DADA and Dolan. Hilarious!

  7. Chip, seriously, you're right. I'm surprised i didn't noticed the connection before. Looks like history like to repeating itself.

    1. Thanks Ray. I think causing offence is a form of rebellion that will never go away.

  8. dolan si my favrit web camc cuz it funee 2 me. sum duks jst wnt 2 wtch tha wrld bnr