Disney’s Effect On Society And CultureTeam Rodent
For nearly seven decades Corporate Disney has dazzled its audiences; generation after generation have been entertained through avenues ranging from movies to elaborate theme parks. While many find this massive establishment to be a significant part of American culture and welcome the Disney spirit with open arms, one man in particular looks past the hype and into his own theory of the Disney Corporation. Carl Hiaasen, a journalist for the Miami Herald, paints a witty and sarcastic portrait in this nonfiction account of a company. Hiaasen critizises the company for manifesting evil, enveloping perfection to a sickening extent, and who’s sole purpose is to inhale as much money as feasibly possible.
The book opens with Times Square-an area home to many things: MTV, Morgan Stanley, the worlds largest Mariot Hotel, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, and Peep Land, as well as the glittering new Disney Store. Hiaasen provides an interesting perspective, claiming Disney is out to “vanquish sleaze in its unholiest fountainhead, Times Square.”(2) While to some this intrusion of the new Disney Store is obtrusive, to many it is the beginning of a turn around for this otherwise less than clean, corrupt area within our society called Times Square. Hiaasen continues his bleak opinion of the company by claiming, “Disney is so good at being good that it manifests an evil…” (37) Carl Hiaasen is searching in every avenue possible to find fault in the impressive empire. Manifesting his own conceptual evil from within the company.
In the same way that Hiaasen criticizes good versus evil, or the conglomeration of the two, he also condemns the way Disney envelops perfection. He writes,
…so uniformly efficient and courteous, so dependably clean and conscientious, so unfailingly entertaining that it’s unreal, and therefore is an agent of pure wickedness. Imagine promoting a universe in which raw Nature doesn’t fit because it doesn’t measure up; isn’t safe enough, accessible enough, predictable enough for company standards. Disney isn’t in the business of exploiting nature so much as striving to improve upon it, constantly fine tuning God’s work. (37)
The interesting thing here is that these days not too many corporations are criticized for striving too high. Furthermore, wanting to improve on God’s work is a charge that has been made against art and artists throughout history.
Hiaasen also claims that Disney will likely soon devour the world; the very same way it has devoured this country, beginning with the children. Yet, targeting the youth of the world is a very popular and obviously effective marketing tool, used by many corporations. Hiaasen says, “snag the children and everybody else follows-parents, politicians even the press.”(10) Well what’s wrong with that? That’s how the marketing world works. Hiaasen continues his accusations by claiming Disney to be “a money-grubbing corporation.”(12) Larry Peterson, publisher for the FSCC, responds by saying, “No kidding Carl [Hiaasen]! But a money-grubbing corporation is not an outrage; it is a redundancy. That’s what corporations do.”
Peterson continues by claiming that “Hiaasen follows a kind of faux ‘investigative’ pattern throughout the book, slamming the corporation for being too good, too successful, then posing as the all-to-human curmudgeon.” Hiaasen is acting very much like a wet-blanket. He is whining while using an arrogantly sophisticated vocabulary about anything and everything possible. One could never be too good or too successful, a person must always strive for excellence. Success is the name of the game and the Disney Corporation has won.
Peterson also claim “Hiaasen has hit one of America’s raw nerves with his new book.” This is most definitely true. Disney has been as much a part of American culture for the past seven decades as a summer barbeque, or the World Series. It gets inside of a person whether in a negative way or more commonly than not in an extremely positive manner.
In conclusion, Disney does not “devour the world. Disney may have swept America of her feet seven decades ago but as individuals in society, we have a choice to turn away from Disney, eyes wide shut, complaining about yet another “issue.” On the other hand people can turn towards Disney, eyes wide open, allowing a smile to envelop our faces.
Film and Cinema