Mutt and Jeff go to Hell

The Infernal Dream of Mutt and Jeff

I don’t know exactly when the film was made but as I watched it, I found myself plunged back into a time when the great stock market crash of 1929 sent the economy into free fall. For a lot of people the world had literally gone to hell, they were left with nothing. I thought of the words of great media theorist Walter Benjamin who said that cartoons expose the fact that what passes as civilization is barbarism. They show us an impoverished world of violence and sadism because that is really our world. This is not naturalism but realism. Perhaps “The Infernal Dream” traces plummeting stock prices, economic collapse. Perhaps it is not a dream at all, just life in the Depression. Perhaps we are still living there, along with Mutt and Jeff, right now.