A Cynical Look at the Mouse FactoryWalt Disney took classic tales that often were hundreds of years old and re-worked them for modern audiences. He never really claimed to do anything more than that. There are enduring themes in those fairy tales that strike a chord in the human spirit, otherwise, they wouldn't have lasted so long. The modern tales he chose followed in the same spirit.
On the other hand, a cynic can pick almost anything apart he if or she tries hard enough. Unless a tale is crafted by a computer and stripped of all personality, there will be aspects that "trouble" someone, somewhere, who has too much time to kill, too many agendas to complete, and too little confidence in the ability of people - particularly children - to evaluate "messages" on their own. "It's all about the children" is the eternal cry, as about people implement their own agendas.
It's the old Horatio Alger or Jack Armstrong story "re-examined." Is he a hard-working, diligent, ambitious young man determined to better himself for the good of his family? Or, is he simply selling out to "The Man" in order to further the oppression of, well, anyone he's able to oppress? You can go to a more fundamental level if you really want. Is a wedding a joyful celebration of life, the happy union of two compatible souls, or a devastating reduction in freedom for all concerned, with the poor woman bound into virtual servitude in an archaic, soul-destroying institution created solely for the perpetuation of male dominance? Well....
As an example from the films below, Ariel the Little Mermaid goes to extreme lengths to get her man, which many would say is a charming example of being goal-oriented, adventurous and romantic. Others, however, determined to look on the negative side, would say that poor little Ariel is simply a brain-washed young girl who is giving up her own identity for - heaven forbid - some man, and "we all know" that "no man" is worth a girl changing herself for.
It's a fun game, and can be done about just about anyone from the present and the past. Thomas Jefferson - should we remember him as writer of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the United States, or just another sleazy slave-owner? Abraham Lincoln - Freer of the slaves and Savior of the Union, or cynical manipulator who did all the right things for all the wrong reasons? There are no more than perhaps a handful of names from the past that you can't tag with some kind of negative interpretation if you try hard enough.
You can be the judge of which type of interpretation makes the most sense with fairy tales and to what your children should be exposed. The thing about most of these stories, though, is that they are significant in their own right regardless of "negative underlying messages" simply because they have been around for so long. Would you really want your child not to know the basic story of "Alice in Wonderland" or "Cinderella"? Kids might be programmed the way you want if they don't, but they'd also be devoid of cultural references that everyone around them knows, understands and can judge for themselves. "It's a Cinderella story!" - huh, what's that?
Going through life clueless about the basics of Western culture could, you know, have its drawbacks. But if the "wrong" ideas trouble you and you believe they must be stamped out, maybe that's what you want. There are plenty of books for you to burn, too.
And so, we have a collection of awesome re-worked posters of classic Disney films from TheFW.com that try to psychoanalyze simple fairy tales for children and cast them in a sinister or otherwise negative light. One or two are back-handed slaps at other popular works (one surmises that these folks take issue with things that are too popular for their taste, but just as likely they simply are having a bit of fun with the politically correct themselves). Some of the posters, admittedly, are more apt than others. There's little actually new with them, but the quality of the presentation is right up there.
Anyway, for anyone deeply familiar with these animated classics, you might get a chuckle out of some of these.
|Alice in Wonderland|
|Beauty and the Beast|
|The Hunchback of Notre Dame|
|The Little Mermaid|
|The Princess and the Frog|
|The Lion King|