Today’s biting LI/HI is about a subject we know was an important part of many of your childhoods.
Selena: Walt Disney, the dude, was an interesting and resourceful fella. I have respect for the man behind the mouse. I also have tons of respect for the digital artists and computer whizzes who make Disney’s visually breathtaking animated movies. Having known a few, I even respect those poor saps that have to spend their summers wearing giant costume heads at the Disney branded theme park experience. The rest of Disney, however, can get bent. Here are my reasons why Disney is terrible.
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- Disney, second only to marketing genius George “Screw You, Fans” Lucas, is a certifiable master at separating parents and guardians from their money. Disney will merchandise anything, and charge three times as much for it as any other retailer. Children, not yet being gifted with the simple beauty of a cynical streak, eat that shit right up.
- Name five strong female Disney characters. How many of them are human? How many of them existed before 2000? How many of them are in movies that pass the Bechdel test?
- While they have shown some improvement, Disney has a terrible history of alienating LGBT individuals.
Crystal: When I was in second grade, I finally learned how to swim. Why? Because I was a redhead and since I was a redhead, I could be a mermaid like Ariel (the logic made sense to my eight-year-old self). Ariel was my idol at the time. I can hear the feminist gasps. Don’t worry, I didn’t grow up thinking it was okay to give up your life for a man. Nor did I grow up waiting for some prince to wake me with a kiss or thinking that every beast had a charming man inside him, if only I could love him enough. While the Princess culture that Disney admittedly perpetuates is concerning to many, I think that as part of comprehensive childhood media consumption (that also includes superheros, dinosaurs, and every other awesome thing out there), it’s not harmful. Other reasons I just love Disney:
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- The Walt Disney World resort in Buena Vista Florida created the tourism industry in Florida. Before Walt bought all those orange groves, Central Florida was just the swamp that snowbirds flew past on the way to Miami. Today, Florida is the number one tourist destination in the world, with a $67 billion impact on the state (source). Do you really want to put all those people out of work just because you hate Princesses? For shame! (Just kidding.) The Disney Parks ethos is also one of the most well-regarded customer service training programs in the world.
- The 1990s golden age of Disney Animation brought life back into the movie musical, a genre that hadn’t been in vogue for nearly two decades. With talented Broadway composers like Tim Rice, Howard Ashman, Alan Menken, and Stephen Schwartz, not to mention pop legends like Elton John and Phil Collins, I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that their films inspired a whole generation of singers and musicians.
- Without Disney, we wouldn’t have Miramax (which formerly existed under the Disney umbrella) or Pixar. No Up or Finding Nemo or Toy Story 3 or Brave. Nor would we have the movie of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? which is a damned national treasure.