It has been a lively month at the Walt Disney Company. Late February saw the release of the feature film Turning Red to the dismay of parents who believe that discussion of menstruation, sexualized drawings of middle-school crushes, and the phrase “I like gyrating” have no place in a children’s movie. Then, in early March, Disney CEO Bob Chapek requested a meeting with Governor Ron DeSantis to express his disappointment with Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law, which rather mildly “prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels” (namely, pre-school through third grade). By mid-month, it was announced that a same-sex kiss would be included in the upcoming children’s film Lightyear – in part as a reaction to Florida’s new law. Today, a vocal subset of employees are demanding that Disney commit significant resources to advancing LGBT advocacy; Mr. Chapek has apologized for failing to do more in the past.
In the wake of all this, it has been easy to find critics who decry the company’s actions as a betrayal of its family-friendly legacy. While this objection is understandable, it seems to me fundamentally mistaken. Whatever Disney might have been in the mid-twentieth century, the studio has not been truly friendly to families for some time now. In fact, far from being a betrayal of the company’s history, it seem to me that Disney’s recent actions are nothing more than a wholly natural extension of the corporation’s clearly and consistently expressed ideology.
Permit me to illustrate the point by describing for you the plot of a movie. You’ve probably seen it before. The central character is a bright, sympathetic, and winsome young lady. She is strongly independent, somewhat different, and most certainly special. Alas, she lives in a rigidly traditional (probably, but not necessarily, patriarchal) society that fails to appreciate her gifts for what they are; instead, she is expected to conform to the conventional standards of her community. She succeeds, for a time – bearing the weight of her traditional duties and even appearing to follow to her elders’ plans for her life – until, at last, in an ecstasy of liberation, she casts them off and embraces her true self. The resultant journey of self-actualization coincides with some menace that threatens to destroy the heroine’s society; her quest culminates when she resolves the catastrophe and saves her people. She returns home to assume her rightful place in her community and to lead it into a new, more enlightened, future.
This is, as far as I can tell, the plot of Moana – but it is also Frozen and Encanto and Brave and Pocahontas and Mulan as well; there are elements of it even in films as early Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. The familiar plot structure is the product of a governing moral vision: one that exalts the individual at the expense of community, innovation at the expense of tradition, and youthful exuberance at the expense of aged wisdom.
In short, these films are an expression of what Russell Kirk called the idyllic imagination, “which rejects old dogmas and old manners and rejoices in the notion of emancipation from duty and convention.” This idyllic imagination is broadly antithetical to the settled order required by family life – and it is no exaggeration to say that it has been the governing ethos of Disney studios for the past thirty years (and perhaps beyond).
As philosophers and poets from Plato to Dante to C. S. Lewis recognized, stories are a foundational part of a child’s education: the story reflects the author’s understanding of reality and recreates in the minds of the audience. As a consequence, very few things matter as much as the stories we tell to the young. They shape the child’s identity, his notions of good and evil, and the how he understands his place in the world.
Thus, whether or not he consciously “picks up on” a film’s message is wholly irrelevant. He will still absorb it – and all the more powerfully because he is unaware that he is doing so. And so a child raised on a steady diet of these films is conditioned to regard any constraint on his freedom of expression as an exercise of tyranny, developing a habitual mistrust for authority, limits, and tradition – especially of the local and parental variety.
Full story at Catholic World Report.
I have not bought anything — and I do mean anything — from Disney since they lowered the necklines, shortened the skirts and brought in the Mae West type characters into their “children’s” movies. Instead, I bought or buy from other decent producers of children’s videos and books — such as Veggy Tales, Catholic children’s books and movies and from other decent secular publications. I have even taken back videos and CD’s, after their first use, and gotten refunds or exchanges because the content was not suitable. Keep your receipts for awhile parents in case you need to do that AND do it. Don’t be wimps.
Whoa there, just like Ketanji can’t define what a woman is, some posters on this board can’t define what ideology is.
That’s their new woke thing. They claim they can’t or don’t understand what something is or means, which ends discussion about it in their opinion. And then they just carry on doing what they do to destroy society.
Don’t let woke win.
I realized children’s books were changing for the worse over 19 years ago. I bought a little book on the holidays for my grandson. Thinking, “What could go wrong with a children’s book,” I threw the receipt away. When reading it to him, I noticed Mother’s Day was celebrated, but Father’s Day was left out. Instead, weddings were celebrated in June. I wondered why and got the feeling it meant “fathers don’t matter”. Later, some “weddings” in June in certain books were not between a man and a woman.
We are being treated like frogs — a slow boil, so you don’t realize you’re being cooked.
I don’t know what a downward path is. Could you explain that to me. Honest question. I’m not a geometer nor do I work in construction.
It is an expression. Look it up online.
You have to be able to define woman to understand it.
Now the Walt Wokeney Company
Disney has gone completely morally bankrupt– corrupting our innocent children, all for m-o-n-e-y. I haven’t given Disney a dime, for years.
But plenty of people happily spend thousands of dollars per year on Disney merchandise, movies and resort visits.
So the problem isn’t only Disney, it’s that the culture war has been lost.
People are afraid to oppose the gay.
It is really just not an issue for most people.
If there is a show on ABC they want to watch, they watch it.
If their kids want to see Frozen, they see it.
I don’t know any company that doesn’t use being LGBT friendly to promote itself.
Check social media pages in June.
Lost and CC Comment– To follow Christ and to responsibly bring up children, is a big adult responsibility. True manhood and true womanhood, means a big responsibility. Not laziness, selfishness, babyishness, or moral corruption. So– where are the adults– with true manhood and true womanhood– and where are the sincere Christians– in America?
There was a boycott against Disney in the 1990s or early 2000s because of the “gay day” at the parks.
The comment uploaded before I could finish. There were boycotts against Disney because some of its productions were not family friendly, like Desperate Housewives.
They made a decision to extend benefits to same sex partners of employees, which was very controversial and was an impetus for the boycott.
That was 25 years ago.
A friend of mine told me she saw a trans-woman princess working at Disneyland. Who would let their child be hugged by a creature such as that?
Before Vatican II there was the National Legion of Decency.
No movie, book or recording ever appeared in theaters, stores or airwaves without their stamp of approval.
Such were the good old days, when bishops were men, shepherds who guarded and protected their flocks.
We desperately need a future pope or council to bury Vatican II and the errors that spawned from it.
We desperately need an authentic enthronement of Christ as King, not only in our own hearts, but in society at large: that every government of every nation on earth shall subordinate itself to the moral authority of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
How long, O Lord, how long…?
Mr.Bill– I completely agree with you. The day Pope St. Paul VI ended Friday abstinence– and much, much worse– ended the Legion of Decency — was a huge mistake. Worst of all, for me– was the very first day of the Novus Ordo Mass, in 1969. We may not see it in our lifetime– but every day, since the first day of the Novus Ordo Mass– I have prayed for the full restoration of our Catholic faith and morals, and for a full return of Christianity, and Christian morality, to our great country.
Before the Legion of Decency was established, the entertainment field, particularly in films, was not regulated. Hollywood producers were out after money, and many of them were morally-low people. Even little Shirley Temple (LOVE her movies!) was cast, at a toddler age, in a near-exploitative, questionable film, “Baby Burlesk.” In the 1930s, the Legion of Decency was started, to establish a moral code of ethics, for movies. We still badly need the Legion of Decency.