Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gimme a Break!

I'm about to go off here. Be warned.

Seems some folks are getting all twisted into knots about the latest Disney animated feature film, The Princess and the Frog. Apparently, there's some real concern about the movie's inclusion of elements of New Orleans voodoo in the plot. Twitter tweets and blog posts by worried parents are burning up the web because people are scared that Disney may expose their babies to satanic influences with this film.

Oh brother!

Okay, I'm going to step back for a moment and say this: If you, as a parent, are truly concerned about the messages to which your children are exposed, kudos to you for being vigilant. I commend your efforts to filter the experiences of childhood in an informed and responsible way. More parents need to be on the ball about this stuff, as far as I'm concerned. I'd love to see more parents paying attention to what their kids read, watch, listen to, and put in their mouths.

But hear me out...

Do not tell me there is no racism involved when parents decide *this* is the movie they need to watch out for. I'm talking about parents who have more or less accepted Disney films as wholesome fodder for their precious young'uns until now.

A little history for your consideration:

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - White witch queen banishes, then later casts spell on beautiful stepdaughter out of jealousy. Step daughter goes and lives with seven dudes in a remote locale. Mighty shady. And wouldn't the plural of dwarf be dwarves?
  • Pinocchio - Italian wooden puppet boy comes to life via magic. Hmmm...methinks a little Stregheria might be involved here. Just sayin'.
  • Fantasia - All kinds of wizardry and witchcraft going on in this flick. I won't comment on the obvious consumption of mass quantities of hallucinogenics that took place at the animation studios.
  • Sleeping Beauty - More jealous white witch action.
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks - Not a DIY home show.
  • Mary Poppins - Now tell me she's not a witch. Homegirl can fly fergoshsakes!
  • The Sword in the Stone - Anglo-Saxon witchcraft at its finest. Merlin is the man!
  • The Black Cauldron - Ummm...yeah. No comment necessary. More white people dabbling in magical stuff.
  • The Little Mermaid - Underwater white (okay, GREY) witch this time. Added bonus of a scantily clad female protagonist.
  • Beauty and the Beast - More European magic/enchantment/witchcraft. Yawn.....
  • Aladdin - Ahh, finally, some multicultural magic goin' on. Evil Middle Eastern dabblers in devilry. Come on folks, Robin Williams as a djinn! Oh, and another scantily clad leading babe.
  • The Lion King - Guess it's okay if it's animals screwing around with soothsaying, conjuring, etc.
  • Pocahontas - Here come the pagan native North Americans. Okay, no medicine men in this one, but there is a benevolent talking tree spirit... Main girl also uses the same fashion tape to keep from busting out of her duds as her buddies Ariel and Jasmine above.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Uh oh. Catholicism and magic. Look out!
  • Hercules - Polytheism, all wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy Disney flick!
  • Mulan - Politically correct Asian ancestor reverence and talking, singing/dancing dead folks. And cross-dressing too!
  • The Emperor's New Groove - Indigenous South American mojo. Oye!
I think by now you see what I'm getting at. Disney has a long history of incorporating a little magic into their "magic". So back to my original point. If it's not racism, why then are people whose home DVD collections include a number of the above titles getting their knickers in a bunch about The Princess and the Frog?

Just wondering...

***And in case you couldn't figure it out already, I have shared all the above films with my daughters. And yes, there has occasionally been some discussion of the more occult elements involved. That's my job as a parent, right? Or should I just be plopping them in front of the DVD player and assuming it's the film studios' responsibility to make my parenting choices for me?

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