Tag: Disney and History

How My Child Proves He Isn’t Corrupted By Disney by Annie Persico

This may or may not have been me all week. That may or may not be a representation of my mom comforting me in the upper left hand corner as I expressed my true disappointment in the lack of iconicity discussion around the subject of Disney and instead a discussion of what was up with Disney’s portrayal of history and it’s damaging effects.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

On to the real issue at hand, How My Child Proves He Wasn’t Corrupted By Disney

As most Disney haters are known for presenting all the reasons that Disney is corrupting our youth, I’ve decided to prove just how much Disney has NOT damaged my child. Listversehttp://listverse.com/2012/11/22/top-10-ways-disney-corrupts-children (along with countless others) presents a list of the Top 10 Ways Disney Corrupts Children. To be honest, I understand how some of these themes in Disney movies can be seen as harmful to children, but as I mentioned in class there’s some parental responsibility when you expose your child to ANYTHING so the blame can’t be placed solely on Disney’s shoulders. I may not touch on every one of the 10 “evil corruptions” of Disney for the sake of length, but I’ll touch on two that have been pointed out and proved to be wrong by my own seven year old.

IMG_6903Poor “corrupted” kid

Historical Inaccuracies

“Perhaps one of the most obvious points critics have grilled Disney over are historical inaccuracies in their few films which are actually based on real events.”

OK…I’m going to combat this one by saying that ART, which Disney movies are, are allowed to take poetic license as much as any other form of art. We don’t all think Picasso’s version of the Spanish Civil War is true to life, do we? To assume that every child is taking the Disney Canon of Animated Films and believing in them as the literal truth is to accept that every child is a moron- something I’m just not down with. Instead of looking at the historical inaccuracies as damaging, I’ve always taken them as an opportunity to educate my son on the history that INSPIRED the film. When Ryan watched Pocahontas and asked if it really happened like that I told him “quite honestly no, Pocahontas was actually 10 when that happened and she married a different English settler” and then I took him to a museum to show him some Native American Culture. Obviously I’m not getting into all the atrocities of the settlement of the New World with a 7 year old, and neither should Disney. But if I choose to sterilize history for a seven year old, what is wrong with Disney choosing to do the same? We have a whole national holiday based on a friendly dinner between Native Americans and Pilgrims and Disney didn’t start that… just sayin’.

These movies are geared towards children, not history majors. Please raise your hand if you are going to show your child accurate historical portrayals of violent events in our past. Oh no one is, you’d rather let them see at least an aspect of history that opens up a questioning of the events you say? Oh maybe you should put a Disney movie on for them, they’re great conversation starters.

Skinny People are THE ONLY Pretty People

I guarantee there will be a blog post about how harmful the body types portrayed in Disney are- and I’m not saying they aren’t, NOONE in the world could ever have a waist as small as Meg’s from Hercules…unless they were two years old. But maybe, once again, kids aren’t as judgmental as we think. Maybe I’ll kids aren’t looking at skinny princesses and thinking that’s the beauty ideal.

True story:

I take my seven year old to Disney over spring break, we meet Merida from Brave and Ryan straight up says to this beautiful girl dressed up as Merida, “ya know, you’re a lot prettier in real life, your too skinny in the movie.” Now aside from Ryan blatently commenting on a human’s weight (which we had a later conversation about) I was proud of him for telling this “Princess” to her face that he didn’t think her super exaggerated skinny self was what he was looking for. Bravo kid, you aren’t a judgemental little jerk who defines your views through television.

“corrupted kid” tells Merida she’s prettier with some meat on her bones

Maybe I have a well adjusted kid, I don’t know. But I refuse to let an Animated Film define my sons point of view of the world. I see the problems in Disney movies, the portrayal of skinny princesses and the fact that all of the parents are dead, I see the historical inaccuracies but I choose to use them to my advantage. I have conversations with my child about the things I expose him to. Maybe, just maybe, the corruption isn’t coming from Disney, but from parents who refuse to have honest conversations with kids thinking that they are all idiots and don’t understand the difference between Art and real life.  When my child proves his “corruption” (cause what kid doesn’t eventually show some signs of corruption?)  I’m not blaming it on Disney. If he fails world history, I’m not going to blame that on Disney either. And if he decides he wants to date a skinny girl or a curvy girl or a frog princess, I’m not going to blame that on Disney either.

With that being said, I’ll continue to give thousands of dollars to a Mouse to take him on vacation to Disney World after I put the monthly college contributions in the bank AND I’ll continue to let him watch movies where cats dance across pianos and dogs share pasta because I know he’s smart enough to ask me a question if he has one and I’ll take the responsibility of answering it, not leaving it to Disney.

Disney owns what? Historical Inaccuracies and Media Consolidation by Brittany Cozzens

As with Barbie, American Icon Walt Disney has created a worldwide network of 9203904_1people wishing to be in a fantasyland forever.  Through massive parks such as Disneyland and Disney World, to movies and their beloved characters, and even a Disney themed town, Walt Disney created something more than just a place to love, he created a place where dreams come true.

However, after reading Mike Wallace’s “Mickey Mouse History and Other Essays on American Memory” I began to see that “The Happiest Place on Earth” is just a successful money pit created from false happiness that consumers are ever so willing to invest in.

This false happiness comes from the Disney imagineers invention of creating a Disney realistic society when at the parks- it becomes a place that is  “utopian in nature, where we carefully program out all the negative, unwanted elements and program in the positive elements” (Wallace 137). As someone else in class Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.30.13 PMpointed out that though Disney may be full of historical inaccuracies, it wouldn’t be as popular or sell as much if it included the negative moments from our histories past. While this may be true, the problem arises people, especially young kids, growing up thinking those historical inaccuracies to be true.Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.31.57 PM

But just what is the reach of the Disney brand and its inaccuracies? With further exploration I came to find that not only is Disney a family favorite but also is one of the worlds biggest and most loved media conglomerates. The Big 6 as they are know control 90% of everything Americans see, hear and consider important. That’s right; GE, News Corp, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, and yes Disney pretty much rule the media world and how you get all of your information. But what all does Disney own you might ask- ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Miramax, Marvel Studios just to name a few. Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.21.37 PMIn an almost $276 BILLION dollar business, Disney has major say in not only what your children watch for fun but also everything else. Being such a large monopoly, it is scary to think that a company that prides itself on creating a new type of history, void of anything deemed negative that is integral to our nations history, is also the same company that rules the airwaves, TV stations, and so much more.Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.21.57 PM

Disney- the happiest place on Earth, media conglomerate, monopoly, and more apart of your life then you will ever know.


History; As a Whole, It Wasn’t Very Happy by Calvin Thrall

Disney World markets itself with the (arguably brilliant) slogan “The happiest place on Earth.” While walking around the bright and clean streets of The Magic Kingdom, smelling the $8 elephant ears and listening to the cheerful and familiar music playing through PA speakers, one would be tempted to agree. Why is it that Disney World manages to be so goddamn happy all the time? What separates it from the dreary and unpleasant realities of our day to day lives?

DisneyWorldPicIn his essay entitled Mickey Mouse History, Mike Wallace provides an answer, sort of. Wallace points to the fact that, in order for Disney World to instill in its visitors a sense of enjoyable nostalgia about past times, imagineers must first whitewash the past. Gone from the rustic streets are the impoverished and the ill living without medicine, gone are the enslaved Africans, gone is almost any negative imagery at all (besides, as Wallace points out, the comical Disney villains present on various rides). What’s more, the imagineers truly believe that this sanitization of bygone eras actually captures more accurately the essence of those times.

You know, because Americans are inherently good – they occasionally just make silly mistakes like slaughtering and enslaving millions of people. Right?

Disney will never be able to present a comprehensive history of any topic, ever, because of its refusal to depict unhappy or unsavory events whatsoever. And that’s fine, because it doesn’t really pretend to be a historical site, nor does it pretend to be a place of education. And when you consider its status as a vacation spot for families (specifically familes with young children) you really can’t blaim them. Young children don’t want to feel that they’re being manipulated into learning when they set out to have fun (a truth that is exemplified in the attached image), and few people of any age would likely consider being taught about the horrific realities of America’s past as “fun” or “relaxing.” Disney World is only able to manufacture it’s “happiness only” zone through shutting out unhappiness in all forms, and because so many parts of human existence are unhappy, the “happiest place on Earth” feels distinctively artificial. When one exits Disney World after a trip to return to the “real world,” there’s almost a level of culture shock involved. Disney World is not a place people go to experience human history, it’s a place people go to get a taste of something that the world has never known: total peace, love, and happiness.