Is Disney Becoming too Politically Correct?

It is interesting to me that by even asking that question, I may not be Politically Correct! To wonder if anyone has taken this non-offense initiative too far is to invite criticism. So when is being Politically Correct really too much?

The simple answer is: When it ignores history.

Take Song of the South for instance. This film is likely never to be re-released any time soon. It is apparently thought that it would spark more controversy over the racial problems of the past, and perhaps inflame some of the prejudices that still exist today. But I wonder if burying such a movie will make such controversy disappear? It’s unlikely.

    

The fact is that this film was made. It was released. It had an impact. And so I believe it should have a place in today’s society.

Take also the portrayal of smoking in Disney films. Now, I agree that we don’t need our children to see their favorite Disney character puffing away on a Virginia Slim. Can we imagine Ariel lighting up while relaxing on a rock after a hard day’s swim? Mickey pulling out a pipe on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and then breaking into a song all about the joys of smoking? Neither scenario is appealing!

Pinocchio enjoys (?) a cigar

But neither is denying that Disney characters have always been depicted as smokers if the story and situation called for it. Like Pinocchio when he was making an ass of himself:

 

Or Cruela de Ville with her iconic long cigarette holder. And we have to remember that Walt Disney himself was unapologetic about his own chain-smoking (although he did keep it off-camera.)

There was a series of TV commercials depicting Disney characters having bad experiences with smoking, like the aforementioned Pinocchio. The overlaying narration suggested that smoking was bad, so that is a good use of this old footage. But should this old footage be changed, perhaps edited out of the Classic films altogether? The answer appears to be ‘yes, as Disney is going through its Classic catalogue and removing such offending footage!

In conclusion, we might ask: Should the PC movement have the power to, not only ignore, but to change history? Maybe that should be the true controversy!

Book Review: Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South?

Author: Jim Korkis
Publisher: Theme Park Press (Editor – Bob McLain)
Type: Soft Cover
Pages: 276
Price: $19.95 US (Kindle $7.99)
ISBN: 978-0-9843415-5-9
Press Release:
Disney historian and best-selling author Jim Korkis is not afraid of the classic but forbidden Disney film Song of the South.
So who is afraid of it?
The Disney Company, as Jim explains in his new book Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South? And Other Forbidden Disney Stories, available now from Theme Park Press. In his book, Jim provides the first definitive account of the film, its history, its production, and the controversy that still surrounds it. Is Song of the South racist? Is it inappropriate for modern audiences? Why has Disney refused to release the film theatrically since 1986? Using a multitude of sources, including personal interviews with those who worked on the film, Jim examines every aspect of Song of the South’s troubled and troubling history: the problems writing the screenplay, the background of the live actors, how the animation was created, Walt Disney’s personal contributions, why the film remains controversial today, and every other aspect of the film you can’t but should see.
The book features a lengthy foreword by Disney Legend Floyd Norman, Disney’s first black animator and storyman.
Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South? isn’t just about the film. Jim also shares seventeen amazing — and equally forbidden — stories the Disney Company wishes were never told. You’ll learn about Disney’s sex education film, Walt’s plan for Mickey Mouse to commit suicide, Tim Burton’s depressed stint at the Disney Studios, Ward Kimball’s UFO obsession, Walt’s owl nightmares, the Disneyland Memorial Orgy poster, and lots more.
Jim’s authoritative but friendly and accessible style makes Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South? a treat not just for film buffs and academics but for Disney fans everywhere.

Review:

When I read books on Disney or Disney history, I usually end up learning a lot of things I already know, albeit in a new and/or entertaining way. So I’ve come to accept this and not judge a book to harshly for that fault. After all, I’ve read so many books on Disney by now that I challenge any author to surprise with me something new!
So in that regard, I have to say: ‘Thanks for the surprises, Jim!’ Mr. Korkis has put together a very entertaining book that connects all of the little bits of information you may already know about Song of the South, and adds them to a whole bunch of new stuff you don’t know. And context is everything, and is what this book delivers in spades!
If you’re a Song of the South fan (and who isn’t?) and like me are ready to march on Disney’s corporate headquarters to demand a BluRay release, you must read this book first!
But wait, that’s not all! The second section of the book (explained above in the Press Release) is just as entertaining. Suicide, UFOs and orgies. Need I say more?
Everybody says that ‘I couldn’t put it down’ when reviewing a book, but in this case, it just happens to be true! Jim Korkis is one of those writers who manages to get volumes of facts across while never losing sight of the entertaining value of the printed word.
Conclusion:
I don’t often give a book 5 out of 5 stars, but in this case, I’m going to. I can’t think of any way that this book could have been better. Pictures maybe? Actually, Jim’s writing is so colorful, pictures wouldn’t have augmented the book at all. Final words: Buy it!
I’d like to thank Theme Park Press for making me pay for this review copy
LOL – It was worth it!