- “Are you a Duke or a Dimwit?”
- ― Advertisement[src]
Dimwit & Duke, or sometimes Duke and Dimwit by the public, are popular children's characters promoted around Columbia, which are actually propaganda teaching tools to promote patriotism and the laws established by Comstock.
- “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
- ― Elizabeth[src]
The Founders knew they had a better chance of disseminating their ideology if individuals were conditioned on those beliefs from a young age. With this in mind, they sought to create child-friendly propaganda to raise the children of Columbia on principles like obedience, diligence, and nationalism. The end result was Dimwit and Duke.
The duo are depicted as aspiring boy scouts in the Earnest Eagle organization, and are polar opposites of each other: Duke is resolute, handsome, and clean-cut with blonde hair while Dimwit is portrayed as lazy, feebleminded, and more homely with a big nose, dirty face, messy brown hair, and buck teeth. In each episode of their escapades, Duke, the "good" example, performs a certain task selflessly and correctly, whereas Dimwit, the "poor" example, fails to do the same task out of irresponsibility and indolence.
The pair proved to be a popular and successful tool of the Founders. Dimwit and Duke reached iconic status and would soon be utilized beyond just their propaganda playlets. Much like how the Little Sisters were used to promote the Gatherer's Gardens in Rapture, Dimwit & Duke were used as decorative figurines for many Columbian businesses.
- “Oh, I loved those stories when I was a kid. But they are...they are a bit...off-putting.”
- ― Elizabeth[src]
- Main article: BioShock Infinite
Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth encounter multiple references to Dimwit & Duke on their journey throughout Columbia. While the ex-Pinkerton agent thinks little of the twosome, Elizabeth confesses to enjoying their antics as a young girl. However, as an adult she admits they're a little disconcerting. She also expresses surprise that Booker is not familiar with the characters, with Booker suggesting their popularity did not extend beyond Columbia.
They encounter the propaganda playlets in the Arcade, where Elizabeth, despite her stated discomfort about them, is excited to see the newest arcade cabinet, noting that its release had been delayed several times. They're more prominently seen in Main Street of Soldier's Field where large figurines can be seen on the roof of Founders Books and Toy Soldiers, plush dolls line the souvenir shelves, and actors perform as the characters live on stage.
Some background conversations while wandering around Soldier's Field denote that Dimwit merchandise was difficult to keep in supply. This indicates that parents of Columbia feel their children are acting more the part of Dimwit than Duke, or that Dimwit enjoys unexpected popularity from consumers because of (instead of in spite of) his differences and imperfections when compared to the sanctimonious Duke.
Quotes from the Ultimate Songbird EditionEdit
- Are you a Duke or a Dimwit? Duke hears Billy's daddy spreading nasty lies about Father Comstock and reports it straightaway to the police. Dimwit hears his own daddy criticizing his own ward president and says, "I'm too busy fishing to pass this on. Maybe tomorrow!" Remember, boys and girls, don't be a Dimwit.
- Dimwit hides from the night sky with apprehension, but Duke has nothing to fear from the Songbird.
Transcript: Are you a Duke or a Dimwit? Duke cleans his father's rifle every Sunday without being asked. Dimwit shoots mice every afternoon and puts the old man's rifle back dirty. Remember, boys and girls, don't be a Dimwit.
Transcript: Are you a Duke or a Dimwit? When Duke sees a suspicious-looking character, he reports him to his authorities straight away. When Dimwit sees a suspicious-looking character, he ignores him, and focuses on his new scooter. Remember, boys and girls, don't be a Dimwit.
Transcript: Are you a Duke or a Dimwit? When Duke hears the Columbian Anthem, he stands at attention and sings along, proud and clear. When Dimwit hears the Columbian Anthem, he just says… "That song again? I'm too tired to sing!" Remember, boys and girls, don't be a Dimwit.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Dimwit and Duke first debuted in the BioShock Infinite Beast of America trailer on an advertisement overlooking the beach for Battleship Bay and promoting an ice cream parlor.
- Their use as propaganda tools is quite similar to Rapture's Jim and Mary Public Service Announcements.
- Elizabeth comments that the "Flawless Flintlock" tale of Dimwit & Duke is the newest in the series and was delayed three times. This is an in-joke about Infinite, as it is the newest in a series and was delayed three times (the first being the delay from 2011 to October 2012, the second from October 2012 to February 21st 2013, and the final delay from February 21st, 2013 to March 21st).
- Dimwit and Duke were heavily inspired by the long-running Goofus and Gallant comic series featured in the Highlights children's magazine. Started in 1948, the comic taught basic social skills to children by chronicling the adventures of the dimwitted Goofus who was self-centered and lazy and the selfless Gallant who frequently thought of others before himself.
- Some background conversations while wandering around Soldier's Field denote that Dimwit merchandise was difficult to keep in supply. This indicates that parents of Columbia feel their children are acting more the part of Dimwit than Duke, or that Dimwit enjoys unexpected popularity from consumers because of (instead of in spite of) his differences and imperfections when compared to Duke.
- If Booker fires any weapon around the performing stage in Soldier's Field or shoots any of the nearby citizens, the Dimwit and Duke actors on the stage will get in a cringing position as well. Booker can even shoot the actors if the player so chooses.
- Peter the Parasite and Ryan the Lion are the Rapture equivalent of Dimwit & Duke.
- ↑ Conversation between Booker and Elizabeth by the theatre in Soldier's Field:
"Look! Duke and Dimwit! You know...'remember, boys and girls, don't be a dimwit!' How could you not know that?"
"Must be somethin' particular to Columbia."
"Oh, I loved those stories when I was a kid. But they are...they are a bit...off-putting."
- ↑ Ken Levine on Twitter