Response to Lecture 25 Feb 2011 – The Disneyfication of Culture

did you know Mary Poppins was a Walt Disney film? – it seems that Im the only one in creation not to know this, in fact Fridays’ lecture was a real an eye opener for me.  In fact there was so much in it that it could have been at least three lectures! Walt Disney was quite a man, striving to create  a ‘perfect’ unspoiled world whether in film, cartoon or the real world. It was interesting to hear about the Culture Industry a phrase termed by  Max Horkheimer who was critical of the mass production of ‘art’ that was happening 100 years ago.  Horkheimer saw artists as people to respect and revere. Disney would not have been popular then, as it is the perfect example of mass production. No longer was there just one artist working on something, Disney employed a variety of artists to create his animations. The Disney empire continued to grow to include production companies, studios, TV shows and networks etc to theme parks and leisure complexes and cruise ships, but what really got to me in the lecture by Hamid was how our children are being brought up on Disney values. American critic Henry Giroux is concerned that there has been very few studies on what children absorb when growing up as he says it’s childhood when values are instilled. Disney films reflect the aspirations and values he wanted so much as a child, happiness and innocence but these are set in a framework of consumerism and conservative white middle class. What a mixture. But surely there has to be some sort of a balance my children watched Disney films even Mary Poppins but they also read books, had books read to them, played make believe with blankets to make dens, sewed and painted, played instruments and listened to music.  They are all well adjusted young adults, have travelled far more than I  and do not need to be rescued from the enemy by a white, blond haired body builders, swinging through trees and certainly don’t need to flutter their eyelashes to get their own way – they’ve gone out into the world and done things for themselves.  I’d much rather my children have watched Bambi and Cinderella and in Stevies’ case Bart Simpson than have them play computer games and watch films filled with violence and swearing.

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