Jun 10, 2007

A Few Thoughts on Disney and American Culture

I just started reading The Mouse that Roared, a collection of essays by Henry Giroux that examines the influence of the Disney Corporation on American life. In particular, I am both fascinated and repelled by the planned private town of Celebration, Florida, Disney's attempt to design the perfect American community.

Now, my children grew up watching those Disney videos, and I recall being choked up at Old Yeller, so I admit to a certain sentimentality toward some aspects of the Disney canon. Still, there is something inherently creepy about this as-yet unincorporated corporate community that more resembles The Truman Show than it does Beaver Cleaver's Mayfield.

I have never had the urge to purchase or rent a Disney vacation home, although I have been to DisneyWorld and Epcot Center a few times. I suspect, though, that I might find it difficult to de-Disneyfy myself, were I of such a mind; it is well nigh impossible to escape the tentacles of this corporation built on catering to a desire for escape.

More after I finish reading this book.


Stephanie said...

That's a book that might have to go on my hit list (i.e., to read).

I too have hot/cold feelings about Disney. I truly enjoy some of their work, but some of it makes me gnash my teeth (like a cleaning teenager?). The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 really impaired my ability to respect Disney's handling of American/world culture.

It was a punch in the gut to all fans of classic literature; or, perhaps that's merely projection.

And, as for the wider cultural aspects, the flavor of Amway seems to have imbued this entertainment company with a sense of lifestyle-making that I find distasteful irregardless of who's doing it; it's the whole groupthink mentality. It's scary.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Disney anything is definitely an acquired taste, as are the prices.

However there was an awful lot of good in Disney's early works, especially his nature study projects.

Then enters the creepy stuff:

Disney's alleged association with Communism and that whole Waltsicle thing. . .