Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Looking Ahead

 I was just reflecting on how Pained with a capital P conservatives must be that Walt Disney and its corporate tentacles are now solidly in the "woke" camp. For so long, the House of Mouse was a bastion of so-called Family Values, and now that's all being turned on its head. Announcements are no longer made at the confluence of the Rivers of America that begin, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls." Now they ask for attention from "Dreamers of all ages." If that's not a threat to our society as we know it, I would like to know what is. 

How about holding on to things that are passed and didn't embrace the world as we know it in the first place? That would be a threat. The Disney closet is full of skeletons like Song of the South, the crows in Dumbo, and the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp. How they chose to deal with situations like this initially was to simply ignore them. But in order to make timeless stories and art, you have to be willing to reframe. Or edit. 

I give Disney credit for attempting to reconcile what will be, in 2023, a one hundred year run as an entertainment company. That kind of longevity is rare, and at times makes them a target. It wasn't too awfully long ago that liberals winced wen confronted with the Disney vision of Pocahontas and other less-than-woke properties. Fast forward a few years and you've got Turning Red, the story of a Chinese-Canadian honors student who must deal with her own self image as she enters puberty. Oh, and how she deals with her first period. 

Well, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. How about that?

Then there's the bigger picture. The one in which Disney owns most of what we watch on screens big and little. There was a kerfuffle recently when it was announced that Chris Evans would voice Buzz Lightyear in the this summer's Pixar release. Why not Tim Allen, who had been the voice of Buzz for the past twenty-seven years? Was it because of his politics? I guess you can't be a conservative and be the voice of a cartoon character in Disney's world anymore. 

Or maybe they had a young guy who would be voicing the person, not the toy. That young guy who just happens to have been Captain America for more than ten years. And while we're at it, how many people have played Batman in the past few decades? And Star Wars? When did they start letting African American women into that galaxy far, far away? It was my son who suggested to me that the battle between the Empire and the Rebellion was an allegory to the Viet Nam war. And in this particular model the part of the Rebels are not played by Americans. 

Am I going to insist that there is nothing political about any of these choices? Not on your life. There is far too much money at stake for this to be an exclusively artistic group of choices. If those choices are made while looking forward, in attempts to include more voices, then I will go ahead and have my mouse-eared cake and eat it too.  

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