With considerable regret, I must confess to deleting Disney, their products, works and ways from my personal media consumption. I’ll not be trashing the various DVDs of classic Disney or Disney/Pixar movies that I own – but I definitely will not be purchasing any more of them, or streaming and watching any future Disney productions, buying any Disney-licensed merchandise for my grandson, or visiting any Disney theme parks. It would appear that the corporate masters of Disney are more interested in being woker-than-thou and selling their products to a Chinese audience anyway.
Ah, well – life moves on, and apparently so do those media corporations, who appear to have decided that our common or garden-variety American fanship is no longer desired, being apparently too déclassé for words. Certain classic movies now judged to contain problematic content come with a warning, and in fact, one of their classics – Song of the South has been locked away nearly forever, although for decades before the current outbreak by the Woko Haram. So much for letting viewers themselves decide what is potentially offensive and deciding not to watch. In this, Disney joins a number of other entertainment, media and professional sports institutions who have decided to dissolve the people and devote themselves to … whatever. A foreign audience, the respectful regard of their fellow upper-caste wokeists … and what comes next?
I’m inexpressibly saddened by having to make this decision as a consumer. I grew up in Southern California, where going to the original Disneyland was a magical and much-anticipated excursion. I went to Disneyland with the grandparents (they also took us to Knott’s Berry Farm, the local and relatively low-key competitor to Disneyland in Anaheim) with my Girl Scout troop, for high school Grad Night, and then with my then-toddler-aged daughter, about a decade later. I would have liked to take my prospective grandson to Disneyland – but Disney and California have become inimical to me in the last few years. I very much doubt that I will set foot in either of them, ever again.
As for Disney media; every Sunday evening, after our family acquired a television set, the Sunday evening broadcast of the Wild World of Disney was on our schedule to watch, unvaryingly. (This epochal Hayes family event occurred in 1968, for those who keep track of such things: we children were only allowed to watch on Friday and Saturday from 7:30 to 10:00, and on Sunday from 7:30 to 9:00, which meant Disney and some other half-hour-long sitcom to fill in the time. I recall that for most years it was the series The Mothers In Law – probably other half-hour sitcoms filled in the time later on. (For me, unless it was broadcast within the frame of those limited hours, I only experienced 1960s and early 1970s TV programming through summer reruns, or visits to the grandparents.)
Granny Jessie took JP and I to the movies at some of the once-grand theaters in Pasadena, maybe twice-yearly: this was our special treat in the summer and when we came to stay for a week after Christmas. Those movies were almost always a Disney production; wholesome, innocuous, sanitized of anything conventionally controversial, and if based on a classic historical or fantasy adventure, bearing only the merest coincidental resemblance to the original text. Disney movies were “safe” for kids; it is in my mind and memory that the child stars who appeared in them at that time also seem to have emerged as relatively well-adjusted adults, no matter if they continued in the acting business or went off to other fields. (James MacArthur, Hayley Mills, Annette Funicello, Kurt Russell, etc.) This is in stark contrast with a later, post-Walt starlets, of whom Miley Cyrus is the most awful example.
No, something has happened in the Kingdom of the Mouse – latterly sometimes termed as Mauswitz or Duckau. It’s something that I no longer want to expose myself to, or in turn, my prospective grandson. Disney management is exploitive, awful, and dare I say it – un-American. Which saddens me, because it was once something fun, affirming, patriotic, even. Comment as you wish, on this transient pop culture item.