Is Disney Becoming too PC?
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. But if you have read any of my other Essays, you know I’m going to do it anyway!
So when is being Politically Correct really Too Much?
The simple answer is: When it ignores history.
Take Song of the South for an 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!
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.
Lately, there have been a series of commercials depicting Disney characters having bad experiences with smoking, like the aforementioned Pinocchio example. The overlaying narration suggests that smoking is bad, so this is a good use of this old footage. But should this old footage be changed, perhaps edited out of the Classic films altogether?
I ask this because of something I noticed in the DVD release of Pixar’s Shorts. One of my favorites is Knick Knack, where a Snowman in a snow globe sees a pretty girl lying on another tacky souvenir. He spends the whole picture trying to escape his globe to reach her. Why? Because she has big breasts! But in the re-release of this Short on the DVD, her breasts are gone. She is now PC. How do I know? Because I have the original VHS release, the box art of which accompanies this Essay. Not only is she very buxom back then, but she is prominently featured on the packaging.
The Point: Should the PC movement have the power to, not only ignore, but to change history? Maybe that is the true controversy!
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