Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people, do what we will to stamp out the trend. So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly. It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle.

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 (1913-1973) American animator and cartoonist [Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr.]
The Pogo Papers, Introduction (1953)

This looks to be the origin of the famous Pogo phrase, "We have met the enemy and he is us," which Kelly introduced in that shorter form in 1970. Both are inspired by Oliver Perry's report on the Battle of Lake Erie (1813), "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

Added on 15-Feb-21 | Last updated 15-Feb-21
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1 thought on “<i>The Pogo Papers</i>, Introduction (1953)”

  1. Mark Morey

    One if my favorite passages, so much more eloquent in the book that contained the sequence that took on Joe McCarthy than the way everybody thinks of it now, as an Earth Day greeting card.

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