Created By: TorchicBlaziken on July 12, 2010 Last Edited By: TorchicBlaziken on July 12, 2010
Troped

Stubborn Mule

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Trope
Although in Real Life, donkeys are quite effective in pulling wagons, in media, the donkeys pulling the cart are often stubborn and unreliable, and don't want to. Of course, it doesn't have to involve carts.

Comic Books
  • The stars of the Gasoline Alley comic strip, junkmen Joel and Rufus, ride around between disasters on a cart pulled (when she's in a good mood) by Becky, the mule.
Film
  • Patton. During the invasion of Sicily a pair of mules pulling a wagon refuse to move, blocking a bridge and causing a column of American troops to be strafed. Patton shoots the mules and has them dumped over the side of the bridge, allowing the column to continue.
  • In Der Schuh des Manitu (an underrated and troperrific German comedy gem) while the Greek talks about how clever his donkey, Plato, is, he steps the rails, refuses to move and gets killed by an express.
Literature
  • The original Aesop had a fable centering around one of these. It had to carry a load of salt, accidentally fell in the river, the load dissolved, no more heavy weight. Next trip it threw itself into the river on purpose. The master got annoyed and had it carry a bunch of sponges (or salt) on the third trip. It threw itself into the river again, only to find that sponges/salt get heavier when wet. Don't remember what the moral was.
  • Bad Ass, Lancre was named for the fact that a donkey got stubborn there. The village was founded by the people riding in the wagon it was pulling. Now Lancrians have to explain it to everybody.
Real Life
  • Interesting trivia from the American West. The Mormons once had a member of their leadership named J. Golden Kimbell, who was infamously known as The Swearing Apostle. His excuse? As a young man he had worked as a mule driver. "And as everyone knows, mules are twice as stubborn as any other creature on earth. And these were Church-owned mules! Church-owned mules are ten times as stubborn as ordinary mules. You had to blister them with the coarsest oaths known to man for over two hours just to get them to move ten feet. I was the best mule driver in camp, and my language showed it. I've improved a lot since then." "I am sorry about my swearing, but it is the only language animals understand. Mules and horses never respond unless you swear at them." When asked for his thoughts on mules: "There's one thing I've never been able to figure out. How Noah got two of those sons of bitches on the ark!" Since his voice sounded something like Dudley Do Right the effect was rather humorous, and false J. Golden stories have been passed around the Mountain West ever since.
Religion
  • The Bible - a prophet being hired out to curse the Israelites struggles with a stubborn mule, until the mule is granted the ability to speak and reveals that the mule was trying to protect her master from a vengeful angel.
Video Games
  • In Red Dead Redemption, while travelling through Mexico, you'll occasionally encounter a peasant leading his donkey down the road who loudly and repeatedly curses the beast in Spanish.

Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • June 25, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Puns aside, you're going to need a better title anyway.
  • June 26, 2010
    Unknown Troper
  • June 26, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    Unless it has a narrative reason, it's not a trope.
  • June 26, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    The trope seems to be "whenever there is a mule/donkey pulling something, it will be stubborn and troublesome at the worst possible time
  • June 26, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    Then how about Really Is A Stubborn Mule to twist on the simile "Stubborn as a mule"?
  • June 26, 2010
    Stratadrake
  • June 26, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ I was considering that, but too close to the phrase.
  • June 26, 2010
    Generality
  • June 27, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Stubborn As A Mule?

    Film
    • Patton. During the invasion of Sicily a pair of mules pulling a wagon refuse to move, blocking a bridge and causing a column of American troops to be strafed. Patton shoots the mules and has them dumped over the side of the bridge, allowing the column to continue.
  • June 27, 2010
    dotchan
    The Bible - a prophet being hired out to curse the Israelites struggles with a stubborn mule, until the mule is granted the ability to speak and reveals that the mule was trying to protect her master from a vengeful angel.
  • June 27, 2010
    billybobfred
    The original Aesop had a fable centering around one of these. It had to carry a load of salt, accidentally fell in the river, the load dissolved, no more heavy weight. Next trip it threw itself into the river on purpose. The master got annoyed and had it carry a bunch of sponges on the third trip. It threw itself into the river again, only to find that sponges get heavier when wet. Don't remember what the moral was.
  • June 27, 2010
    Tiiba
    Bad Ass, Lancre was named for the fact that a donkey got stubborn there. The village was founded by the people riding in the wagon it was pulling. Now Lancrians have to explain it to everybody.
  • July 2, 2010
    Rufusthedoofus
    The stars of the Gasoline Alley comic strip, junkmen Joel and Rufus, ride around between disasters on a cart pulled (when she's in a good mood) by Becky.
  • July 2, 2010
    JonnyB
    In the body of the trope under Film, it should be, "a column of American troops", not "a column of American tropes".
  • July 7, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    I like Stubborn Mule.
  • July 9, 2010
    Aminatep
    In Der Shuch Des Manitu (an underrated and troperrific German comedy gem) while the Greek talks about how clever his donkey, Plato, is, he steps the rails, refuses to move and gets killed by an express.
  • July 9, 2010
    suedenim
    Does it have to involve a cart? In Red Dead Redemption, while travelling through Mexico, you'll occasionally encounter a peasant leading his donkey down the road who loudly and repeatedly curses the beast in Spanish.
  • July 12, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    . . .I rather like the current title, actually. XP But if that's not good enough, I say Stubborn Is a Mule—it's distinct enough for tropers to not mix it up with the phrase.

    For the record, a mule is actually half-ass (it's half-assed? Geddit?) and half-horse. Not that that's important—I just found it interesting, is all.
  • July 12, 2010
    girlyboy
    Current title is a bit clunky, but not bad; otherwise, "Stubborn Is A Mule" is a good one.
  • July 12, 2010
    Sackett
    I like Stubborn Mule

    Interesting trivia from the American West. The Mormons once had a member of their leadership named J. Golden Kimbell, who was infamously known as The Swearing Apostle. His excuse? As a young man he had worked as a mule driver. "And as everyone knows, mules are twice as stubborn as any other creature on earth. And these were Church-owned mules! Church-owned mules are ten times as stubborn as ordinary mules. You had to blister them with the coarsest oaths known to man for over two hours just to get them to move ten feet. I was the best mule driver in camp, and my language showed it. I've improved a lot since then."

    "I am sorry about my swearing, but it is the only language animals understand. Mules and horses never respond unless you swear at them."

    When asked for his thoughts on mules: "There's one thing I've never been able to figure out. How Noah got two of those sons of bitches on the ark!"

    Since his voice sounded something like Dudley Do Right the effect was rather humorous, and J. Golden stories have been passed around the Mountain West ever since.
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