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Animating Youth: the Disnification of Children's Culture

By: Henry A. Giroux [Socialist Review 24:3 (199 !" ##. 23$ . Re#rinte% as &A 'isney(acao 'a )ultura *n+antil"& in ,o-a( ,a%eu 'a Silva an% Antonio .lavio /oreira" e%s. ,erritorios )ontesta%os (Bra(il: 0o(es" 199 !" ##. 49$11.2

,3e notion t3at A-erica is at war wit3 -eanin4 3as ta5en on a -uc3 4reater si4ni+icance in t3e last +ew %eca%es. ,3is can 6e seen in t3e 3eate% cultural 6attles t3at 3ave 6een wa4e% in current %e6ates over w3at s3oul% 6e tau43t in sc3ools" #resente% in t3e -e%ia" %is#laye% in -useu- ex3i6itions" an% 3ouse% in #u6lic li6raries. Beneat3 t3e so calle% &culture wars& t3ere exists serious %e6ates an% con+licts over -ore volatile issues involvin4 national i%entity" a6ortion ri43ts" cultural %i++erences" +a-ily values" sexual orientation" an% t3e -eanin4 o+ #u6lic li+e. As i-#ortant as t3ese stru44les are in ex#an%in4 t3e #ossi6ility +or #u6lic %e6ate an% social criticis-" t3ey 3ave o+ten %iverte% attention away +ro- anot3er cultural s#3ere in t3e 7nite% States" t3e terrain o+ c3il%ren8s culture. )3il%ren8s culture is a s#3ere w3ere entertain-ent" a%vocacy" an% #leasure -eet to construct conce#tions o+ w3at it -eans to 6e a c3il% occu#yin4 a co-6ination o+ 4en%er" racial" an% class #ositions in society t3rou43 w3ic3 one %e+ines onesel+ in relation to a -yria% o+ ot3ers. )3il%ren8s culture as an o69ect o+ critical analysis o#ens u# a s#ace in w3ic3 c3il%ren 6eco-e an i-#ortant %i-ension o+ social t3eory. :3ile yout3 culture" es#ecially a%olescence" 3as 6een" a stron4 co-#onent o+ cultural stu%ies" c3il%ren8s culture 3as 6een lar4ely i4nore%" es#ecially t3e worl% o+ ani-ate% +il-s. An exa-ination o+ c3il%ren8s culture unsettles t3e notion t3at t3e 6attles over 5nowle%4e" values" #ower" an% w3at it -eans to 6e a citi(en are to 6e locate% exclusively in t3e sc3ools or in #rivile4e% sites o+ 3i43 culture; -oreover" it #rovi%es a t3eoretical re+erent +or &re-e-6erin4& t3at t3e in%ivi%ual an% collective i%entities o+ c3il%ren an% yout3 are lar4ely s3a#e% #olitically an% #e%a4o4ically in t3e #o#ular visual culture o+ vi%eo4a-es" television" +il-" an% even in leisure sites suc3 as -alls an% a-use-ent #ar5s. <ac5in4 an interest in c3il%ren8s culture" cultural stu%ies an% ot3er #ro4ressive +or-s o+ social t3eory not only i4nore t3e %iverse s#3eres in w3ic3 c3il%ren 6eco-e acculturate%" t3ey also surren%er t3e res#onsi6ility to c3allen4e increasin4 atte-#ts 6y cor#orate -o4uls an% conservative evan4elicals to re%uce 4enerations o+ c3il%ren to eit3er consu-ers +or new co--ercial -ar5ets or )3ristian sol%iers +or t3e evolvin4 =ewt Gin4ric3 worl% or%er. ,3ou43 it a##ears to 6e a co--on#lace assu-#tion" t3e i%ea t3at #o#ular culture #rovi%es t3e 6asis +or #ersuasive +or-s o+ learnin4 +or c3il%ren was i-#resse% u#on -e wit3 an a6ru#t ur4ency %urin4 t3e last +ew years. As a sin4le +at3er o+ t3ree ei43t year ol% 6oys" * +oun% -ysel+ so-ew3at reluctantly 6ein4 intro%uce% to t3e worl% o+ Hollywoo% ani-ation +il-s" an% in #articular

t3ose #ro%uce% 6y 'isney. Be+ore 6eco-in4 an o6server o+ t3is +or- o+ c3il%ren8s culture" * acce#te% t3e lar4ely un>uestione% assu-#tion t3at ani-ate% +il-s sti-ulate i-a4ination an% +antasy" re#ro%uce an aura o+ innocence an% w3oleso-e a%venture" an%" in 4eneral" are &4oo%& +or 5i%s. *n ot3er wor%s" suc3 +il-s a##eare% to 6e ve3icles o+ a-use-ent" a 3i43ly re4ar%e% an% sou43t a+ter source o+ +un an% 9oy +or c3il%ren. However" wit3in a very s3ort #erio% o+ ti-e" it 6eca-e clear to -e t3at t3e relevance o+ suc3 +il-s excee%e% t3e 6oun%aries o+ entertain-ent. =ee%less to say" t3e si4ni+icance o+ ani-ate% +il-s o#erates on -any re4isters" 6ut one o+ t3e -ost #ersuasive is t3e role t3ey #lay as t3e new &teac3in4 -ac3ines.& * soon +oun% t3at +or -y c3il%ren" an% * sus#ect +or -any ot3ers" t3ese +il-s to ins#ire at least as -uc3 cultural aut3ority an% le4iti-acy +or teac3in4 s#eci+ic roles" values" an% i%eals t3an -ore tra%itional sites o+ learnin4 suc3 as t3e #u6lic sc3ools" reli4ious institutions" an% t3e +a-ily. 'isney +il-s co-6ine an i%eolo4y o+ enc3ant-ent an% aura o+ innocence in narratin4 stories t3at 3el# c3il%ren un%erstan% w3o t3ey are" w3at societies are a6out" an% w3at it -eans to construct a worl% o+ #lay an% +antasy in an a%ult environ-ent. ,3e co--an%in4 le4iti-acy an% cultural aut3ority o+ suc3 +il-s" in #art" ste-s +ro- t3eir uni>ue +or- o+ re#resentation" 6ut suc3 aut3ority is also #ro%uce% an% secure% wit3in t3e #re%o-inance o+ a 6roa%enin4 -e%ia a##aratus e>ui##e% wit3 %a((lin4 tec3nolo4y" soun% e++ects" an% i-a4ery #ac5a4e% as entertain-ent" s#in o++ co--ercial #ro%ucts" an% &3u44a6le& stories. ,3e cultural aut3ority o+ t3is #ost-o%ern -e%ia$sca#e rests on its #ower to usur# tra%itional sites o+ learnin4 an% its a6ility to ex#an% t3e #ower o+ culture t3rou43 an% en%less strea- o+ si4ni+yin4 #ractices" w3ic3 #rioriti(e t3e #leasures o+ t3e i-a4e over t3e intellectual %e-an%s o+ critical in>uiry. /oreover" it si-ultaneously re%uces t3e %e-an%s o+ 3u-an a4ency to t3e et3os o+ a +acile consu-eris-. ,3is is a -e%ia a##aratus in w3ic3 t3e #ast is +iltere% t3rou43 an a##eal to cultural 3o-o4eneity an% 3istorical #urity t3at erases co-#lex issues" cultural %i++erences" an% social stru44les. *t incessantly wor5s to construct a co--ercially saturate% an% #olitically reactionary ren%erin4 o+ t3e i%eolo4ical an% #olitical contours o+ c3il%ren8s culture. *n t3e television an% Hollywoo% versions o+ c3il%ren culture" cartoon c3aracters 6eco-e #rototy#es +or a -ar5etin4 an% -erc3an%i(in4 6lit(" an% real li+e %ra-as" w3et3er +ictionali(e% or not" 6eco-e a ve3icle +or #us3in4 t3e 6elie+ t3at 3a##iness is synony-ous wit3 livin4 in t3e su6ur6s wit3 an intact w3ite -i%%le class +a-ily. ,3e si4ni+icance o+ ani-ate% +il-s as a site o+ learnin4 is 3ei43tene% 6y t3e wi%es#rea% reco4nition t3at sc3ools an% ot3er #u6lic sites are increasin4ly 6eset 6y a crisis o+ vision" #ur#ose" an% -otivation. ,3e -ass -e%ia" es#ecially t3e worl% o+ Hollywoo% +il-s" on t3e contrary" constructs a %rea-$ li5e worl% o+ security" co3erence" an% c3il%3oo% innocence w3ere 5i%s +in% a #lace to situate t3e-selves in t3eir e-otional lives. 7nli5e t3e o+ten 3ar% nose%" 9oyless reality o+ sc3oolin4" c3il%ren8s +il-s #rovi%e a 3i43 tec3" visual s#ace w3ere a%venture an% #leasure -eet in a +antasy worl% o+ #ossi6ilities an% a co--ercial s#3ere o+ consu-eris- an% co--o%i+ication. ,3e e%ucational relevance o+ ani-ate% +il-s 6eca-e es#ecially clear to -e as -y

5i%s ex#erience% t3e vast entertain-ent an% teac3in4 -ac3ine e-6o%ie% 6y 'isney. *ncreasin4ly as * watc3e% a nu-6er o+ 'isney +il-s +irst in t3e -ovie t3eater an% later on in vi%eo" * 6eca-e aware o+ 3ow necessary it was to -ove 6eyon% treatin4 t3ese +il-s as trans#arent entertain-ent to >uestion t3e %iverse re#resentations an% -essa4es t3at constitute 'isney8s conservative view o+ t3e worl%.

II
* reco4ni(e% t3at any atte-#t to ta5e u# 'isney +il-s critically ru6s a4ainst t3e 4rain o+ A-erican #o#ular o#inion. A+ter all" &t3e 3a##iest #lace on eart3& 3as tra%itionally 4aine% its #o#ularity in #art t3rou43 a sel+$#roclai-e% i-a4e o+ tra%e-ar5 innocence t3at 3as #rotecte% it +ro- t3e interro4atin4 4a(e o+ critics. ?+ course" t3ere is -ore at wor5 3ere t3an a #u6lic relations %e#art-ent intent on #rotectin4 'isney8s clai- to +a6le% 4oo%ness an% unco-#ro-isin4 -orality. ,3ere is also t3e reality o+ a #ower+ul econo-ic an% #olitical e-#ire t3at in 1994 -a%e @AAB.B -illion in +il-e% entertain-ent" @33C.CC -illion in consu-er #ro%ucts" an% @ 21.A -illion +ro- its t3e-e #ar5s an% resorts. But 'isney is -ore t3an a cor#orate 4iant" it is also a cultural institution t3at +iercely stru44les to #rotect its -yt3ical status as a #urveyor o+ A-erican innocence an% -oral virtue. Duic5 to -o6ili(e its -onolit3 o+ le4al re#resentatives" #u6lic relations s#o5es#ersons" an% #ro+essional cultural critics to sa+e4uar% t3e 6or%ers o+ its &-a4ic 5in4%o-"& 'isney 3as a44ressively #rosecute% violations o+ its co#yri43t laws an% 3as a le4en%ary re#utation +or 6ullyin4 aut3ors w3o use t3e 'isney arc3ives an% re+use to allow 'isney to a##rove t3eir #re#u6lis3e% wor5. .or exa-#le" in its (eal to #rotect its i-a4e an% exten% its #ro+its" 'isney 3as 4one so +ar as to t3reaten le4al action a4ainst t3ree Sout3 .lori%a %ay$care centers +or usin4 'isney cartoon c3aracters on t3eir exterior walls. *n t3is instance" 'isney8s role as an a44ressive %e+en%er o+ Duayles>ue +a-ily values was un%er-ine% t3rou43 its a44ressive en%orse-ent o+ #ro#erty ri43ts. :3ile 'isney8s re#utation as an un%is#ute% -oral aut3ority on 7nite% States values 3as ta5en a 6eatin4 in t3e last +ew years" t3e #ower o+ t3e 'isney8s -yt3olo4ical status cannot 6e un%eresti-ate%. 'isney8s i-a4e o+ itsel+ as an icon o+ A-erican culture is consistently rein+orce% t3rou43 t3e #enetration o+ t3e 'isney e-#ire into every as#ect o+ social li+e. ?#eratin4 as a @22 6illion e-#ire" 'isney s3a#es c3il%ren8s ex#eriences t3rou43 a -a(e o+ re#resentations an% #ro%ucts +oun% in 6ox o++ice -ovies" 3o-e vi%eos" t3e-e #ar5s" 3otels" s#orts tea-s" retail stores" classroo- instructional +il-s" )'s" television #ro4ra-s" an% +a-ily restaurants. ,3rou43 t3e wi%es#rea% use o+ #u6lic visual s#ace" 'isney inserts itsel+ into a networ5 o+ #ower relations t3at #ro-otes t3e construction o+ a close% an% total worl% o+ enc3ant-ent alle4e%ly +ree +ro- t3e %yna-ics o+ i%eolo4y" #olitics" an% #ower. At t3e sa-e ti-e" 'isney 4oes to 4reat len4t3s to 6oost its civic i-a4e. 'e+inin4 itsel+ as a ve3icle +or e%ucation an% civic res#onsi6ility" 'isney s#onsors &,eac3er o+ t3e Eear Awar%s"& #rovi%es &'oer an% 'rea-er& sc3olars3i#s to stu%ents" an% -ore recently o++ers +inancial ai%"

interns3i#s" an% e%ucational #ro4ra-s to %isa%vanta4e% ur6an yout3 t3rou43 its ice s5atin4 #ro4ra- calle% &Goals.& *ntent on %e+inin4 itsel+ as a #urveyor o+ i%eas rat3er t3an co--o%ities" 'isney is a44ressively %evelo#in4 its i-a4e as a #u6lic service in%ustry. .or exa-#le" in w3at can 6e seen as an extraor%inary venture" 'isney #lans to construct in t3e next +ew years a #rototy#e sc3ool t3at one o+ its 6roc3ures #roclai-s will &serve as a -o%el +or e%ucation into t3e next century.& ,3e sc3ool will 6e #art o+ "CCC acre resi%ential %evelo#-ent" w3ic3 accor%in4 to 'isney executives" will 6e %esi4ne% a+ter &t3e -ain streets o+ s-all$town A-erica an% re-iniscent o+ =or-an Roc5well i-a4es.& :3at is interestin4 3ere is t3at 'isney no lon4er si-#ly %is#enses t3e +antasies t3rou43 w3ic3 c3il%3oo% innocence an% a%venture are #ro%uce%" ex#erience%" an% a++ir-e%. 'isney now #rovi%es -o%el #rototy#es +or +a-ilies" sc3ools" an% co--unities. 'isney8s role in A-erica8s +uture is to 6e un%erstoo% t3rou43 a #articular construction o+ t3e #ast. .renc3 t3eorist Fean Bau%rillar% #rovi%es an interestin4 t3eoretical twist on t3e sco#e an% #ower o+ 'isney8s in+luence 6y ar4uin4 t3at 'isneylan% is -ore &real& t3an +antasy 6ecause it now #rovi%es t3e i-a4e on w3ic3 A-erica constructs itsel+. .or Bau%rillar%" 'isneylan% +unctions as a &%eterrent& %esi4ne% to &re9uvenate in reverse t3e +iction o+ t3e real.& 'isneylan% is t3ere to conceal t3e +act t3at it is t3e &real& country" all o+ &real& A-erica" w3ic3 is 'isneylan% (9ust as #risons are t3ere to conceal t3e +act t3at it is t3e social in its entirety" in its 6anal o-ni#resence" w3ic3 is carceral!. 'isneylan% is #resente% as i-a4inary in or%er to -a5e us 6elieve t3at t3e rest is real" w3en in +act all o+ <os An4eles an% t3e A-erica surroun%in4 it are no lon4er real 6ut o+ t3e or%er o+ t3e 3y##ereal an% o+ si-ulation. At t3e ris5 o+ ta5in4 Bau%rillar% too literally" exa-#les o+ t3e 'isni+ication o+ A-erica a6oun%. .or instance" Houston air#ort -o%els it -onorail a+ter t3e one at 'isneylan%. S-all towns t3rou43out A-erica a##ro#riate a #iece o+ nostal4ia 6y i-itatin4 t3e 0ictorian arc3itecture o+ 'isneylan%8s /ain Street 7SA. *t see-s t3at t3e real #olicy -a5ers are not t3ose t3at resi%e in :as3in4ton" '.). 6ut in )ali+ornia callin4 t3e-selves t3e 'isney *-a4ineers. ,3e 6oun%aries 6etween entertain-ent" e%ucation" an% co--erciali(ation colla#se t3rou43 t3e s3eer o-ni#otence o+ 'isney8s reac3 into %iverse s#3eres o+ every%ay li+e. ,3e sco#e o+ t3e 'isney e-#ire reveals 6ot3 s3rew% 6usiness #ractices as well as a s3ar# eye +or #rovi%in4 %rea-s an% #ro%ucts t3rou43 +or-s o+ #o#ular culture in w3ic3 5i%s are willin4 to -aterially an% e-otionally invest. Go#ular au%iences ten% to re9ect any lin5 6etween i%eolo4y an% t3e #roli+ic entertain-ent worl% o+ 'isney. An% yet 'isney8s #retense to innocence a##ears to so-e critics as little -ore t3an a #ro-otional -as5 t3at covers over its a44ressive -ar5etin4 tec3ni>ues an% in+luence in e%ucatin4 c3il%ren to t3e virtues o+ 6eco-in4 active consu-ers. Hric S-oo%en" e%itor o+ 'isney 'iscourse" a 6oo5 critical o+ 'isney8s role in A-erican culture ar4ues t3at &'isney constructs c3il%3oo% so as to -a5e it entirely co-#ati6le wit3 consu-eris-.& Hven -ore %istur6in4 is t3e wi%es#rea% 6elie+ t3at 'isney8s tra%e-ar5e% innocence ren%ers it unaccounta6le +or t3e %iverse ways in w3ic3 it s3a#es t3e sense o+ reality it #rovi%es +or c3il%ren as t3ey ta5e u#

s#eci+ic an% o+ten saniti(e% notions o+ i%entity" %i++erence" an% 3istory in t3e see-in4ly a#olitical" cultural universe o+ &t3e /a4ic Iin4%o-.& .or exa-#le" Fon :iener" ar4ues t3at 'isneylan%8s version o+ /ain Street A-erica 3ar5ens 6ac5 to an &i-a4e o+ s-all towns c3aracteri(e% 6y c3eer+ul co--erce" wit3 6ar6ers3o# >uartets an% ice crea- sun%aes an% 4lorious #ara%es.& .or :iener t3is view not only +ictionali(es an% triviali(es t3e 3istory or real /ain Streets at t3e turn o+ t3e century" it also re#resents an a##ro#riation o+ t3e #ast to le4iti-ate a #resent t3at #ortrays a worl% &wit3out tene-ents or #overty or ur6an class con+lict....it8s a native w3ite Grotestant %rea- o+ a worl% wit3out 6lac5s or i--i4rants.&

III

* want to venture into t3e contra%ictory worl% o+ 'isney t3rou43 an analysis o+ its -ore recent ani-ate% +il-s. ,3ese +il-s" all #ro%uce% since 1919" are i-#ortant 6ecause t3ey 3ave receive% enor-ous #raise +ro- t3e %o-inant #ress an% 3ave ac3ieve% 6loc5 6uster status. .or -any c3il%ren t3ey re#resent t3eir +irst intro%uction into t3e worl% o+ 'isney. /oreover" t3e +inancial success an% #o#ularity o+ t3ese +il-s" rivalin4 -any a%ult +eatures" %o not en4en%er t3e critical analyses o+ten ren%ere% on a%ult +il-s. *n s3ort" #o#ular au%iences are -ore willin4 to sus#en% critical 9u%4e-ent a6out suc3 c3il%ren8s +il-s. Ani-ate% +antasy an% entertain-ent a##ear to +all outsi%e o+ t3e worl% o+ values" -eanin4" an% 5nowle%4e o+ten associate% wit3 -ore #ronounce% e%ucational +or-s suc3 as %ocu-entaries" art +il-s" or even wi%e circulation a%ult +il-s. Hli(a6et3 Bell" <yn%a Haas" an% <aura Sells ca#ture t3is senti-ent: 'isney au%iences...le4al institutions" +il- t3eorists" cultural critics" an% #o#ular au%iences all 4uar% t3e 6or%ers o+ 'isney +il- as Jo++ li-its8 to t3e critical enter#rise. *n t3e construction o+ 'isney as a -etony- +or JA-erica8$$clean" %ecent" in%ustrious"$$Jt3e 3a##iest #lace on eart38 3as 6een inscri6e% in t3e cultural re4ister o+ co--on sense. Given t3e in+luence t3at t3e 'isney i%eolo4y 3as on c3il%ren" it is i-#erative +or #arents" teac3ers" an% ot3er a%ults to un%erstan% 3ow suc3 +il-s attract t3e attention an% s3a#e t3e values o+ t3e c3il%ren w3o view an% 6uy t3e-. As a #ro%ucer o+ c3il%ren8s culture" 'isney s3oul% not 6e 4iven an easy #ar%on 6ecause it is %e+ine% as a universal cita%el o+ +un an% 4oo% c3eer. ?n t3e contrary" as a one o+ t3e #ri-ary institutions constructin4 c3il%3oo% culture in t3e 7nite% States" it warrants 3ealt3y sus#icion an% critical %e6ate. Suc3 a %e6ate s3oul% not 6e li-ite% to t3e 3o-e" 6ut s3oul% 6e a central +eature o+ t3e sc3ool an% any ot3er critical #u6lic sites o+ learnin4. *n w3at +ollows" * will ar4ue t3at it is i-#ortant to a%%ress 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s wit3out eit3er con%e-nin4 'isney as an i%eolo4ical reactionary cor#oration %ece#tively #ro-otin4 a conservative worl% view un%er t3e 4uise o+ entertain-ent" or to si-#ly cele6rate 'isney as t3e Hollywoo% version o+ /r. Ro4ers %oin4 not3in4 -ore t3an #rovi%in4 sources o+ 9oy an% 3a##iness to c3il%ren all over t3e worl%. 'isney %oes 6ot3. ,3e #ro%uctive si%e o+ 'isney lies in its a6ility to a%%ress in 3i43ly success+ul #e%a4o4ical ter-s t3e nee%s

an% interests o+ c3il%ren. /oreover" its +il-s o++er o##ortunities +or c3il%ren to ex#erience #leasure an% to locate t3e-selves in a worl% t3at resonates wit3 t3eir %esires an% interests. Gleasure 6eco-es t3e %e+inin4 #rinci#le o+ w3at 'isney #ro%uces" an% c3il%ren are t3e serious su69ects an% o69ects o+ 'isney8s #ro9ect. Hence" rat3er t3an si-#ly 6ein4 %is-isse%" 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s 3ave to 6e interro4ate% an% an i-#ortant site +or t3e #ro%uction o+ c3il%ren8s culture. At t3e sa-e ti-e" 'isney8s in+luence an% #ower -ust 6e situate% wit3in t3e 6roa%er un%erstan%in4 t3e co-#any8s role as a cor#orate 4iant intent on s#rea%in4 t3e conservative an% co--ercial values t3at in +act ero%e civil society w3ile #roclai-in4 to restructure it. ,3e role t3at 'isney #lays in s3a#in4 in%ivi%ual i%entities an% controllin4 t3e +iel%s o+ social -eanin4 t3rou43 w3ic3 c3il%ren ne4otiate t3e worl% is +ar too co-#lex to 6e si-#ly set asi%e as a +or- o+ reactionary #olitics. *+ e%ucators an% ot3er cultural wor5ers are to inclu%e t3e culture o+ c3il%ren as an i-#ortant site o+ contestation an% stru44le t3en it 6eco-es i-#erative to analy(e 3ow 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s #ower+ully in+luence t3e way A-erica8s cultural lan%sca#e is i-a4ine%. 'isney8s scri#te% view o+ c3il%3oo% an% society nee%s to 6e en4a4e% an% c3allen4e% as &a 3istorically s#eci+ic -atter o+ social analysis an% intervention& t3at a%%resses t3e -eanin4s its +il-s #ro%uce" t3e roles t3ey le4iti-ate" an% t3e narratives t3ey construct to %e+ine A-erican li+e. ,3e wi%e %istri6ution an% #o#ular a##eal o+ 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s #rovi%es %iverse au%iences an% viewers t3e o##ortunity to c3allen4e assu-#tions t3at allow #eo#le to sus#en% 9u%4-ent re4ar%in4 'isney8s accounta6ility +or %e+inin4 a##ro#riate c3il%3oo% entertain-ent. )ritically analy(in4 3ow 'isney +il-s wor5 to construct -eanin4s" in%uce #leasures" an% re#ro%uce i%eolo4ically loa%e% +antasies is not -eant to #ro-ote a #articular exercise in +il- criticis-. <i5e any e%ucational institution" 'isney8s view o+ t3e worl% nee%s to 6e ta5en u# in ter-s o+ 3ow it narrates c3il%ren8s culture an% 3ow it can 6e 3el% accounta6le +or w3at it %oes as a si4ni+icant cultural #u6lic s#3ere. ?+ course" 'isney8s sel+$#roclai-e% innocence" in+lexi6ility in %ealin4 wit3 social criticis-" an% #aranoi% attitu%e towar%s 9usti+yin4 w3at it %oes is now le4en%ary" an% su44ests all t3e -ore reason w3y 'isney s3oul% 6e 6ot3 c3allen4e% an% en4a4e% critically. /oreover" as a -ulti$6illion %ollar co-#any" 'isney8s cor#orate an% cultural in+luence is too enor-ous an% +ar reac3in4 to allow it to %e+ine itsel+ exclusively wit3in t3e i-a4inary %iscourse o+ innocence" civic #ri%e" an% entertain-ent.

IV
,3e >uestion o+ w3et3er 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s are 4oo% +or 5i%s 3as no easy answers an% resists si-#le analysis wit3in t3e tra%itional an% alle4e%ly noni%eolo4ical re4isters o+ +un an% entertain-ent. 'isney8s -ost recent +il-s" w3ic3 inclu%e The Little Mermaid (1919!" Beauty and the Beast (1991!" Aladdin (1992!" an% The Lion King (1994! #rovi%e a-#le o##ortunity to a%%ress 3ow 'isney constructs a culture o+ 9oy an% innocence +or c3il%ren out

o+ t3e intersection o+ entertain-ent" a%vocacy" #leasure" an% consu-eris-. All o+ t3ese +il-s 3ave 6een 3i43 #ro+ile releases caterin4 to -assive au%iences. /oreover" t3eir co--ercial success is not li-ite% to 6ox o++ice #ro+its" w3ic3 totale% over @ 91.1 -illion in 1994. Success+ully connectin4 t3e rituals o+ consu-#tion an% -ovie 4oin4" 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s #rovi%e a &-ar5et#lace o+ culture"& a launc3in4 #a% +or an en%less nu-6er o+ #ro%ucts an% -erc3an%ise t3at inclu%e vi%eocassettes" soun% trac5 al6u-s" 5i% clot3in4" +urniture" stu++e% toys" an% new ri%es at t3e t3e-e #ar5s. .or exa-#le" in t3e vi%eo -ar5et Little Mermaid an% Beauty and the Beast 3ave a co-6ine% sales o+ over 34 -illion vi%eocassettes. /oreover" Aladdin 3as earne% &@1 6illion +ro- 6ox$o++ices inco-e" vi%eo sales an% suc3 ancillary 6au6les as Grincess Fas-ine %resses an% Genie coo5ie 9ars.& /oreover" #ro%uce% as a vi%eo interactive 4a-e" Aladdin 3as sol% over 3 -illion co#ies in 1993. Si-ilar sales are ex#ecte% +or t3e vi%eo an% interactive 4a-e version o+ t3e +il-" &,3e <ion Iin4"& w3ic3 4rosse% @2 3. -illion in #ro+its as o+ Au4ust 24" 1994. Ran5e% as one o+ t3e -ost #ro+ita6le +il-s every -a%e" Fessica F. Rei++" an analyst at ?##en3ei-er K )o-#any" says &t3e -ovie will re#resent &@1 6illion in #ro+its +or 'isney over two or t3ree years.& Si-ilarly" c3aracters +ro- 'isney +il-s suc3 as /ic5ey /ouse" Snow :3ite" Fas-ine" Ala%%in" an% ot3ers 6eco-e #rototy#es +or nu-erous toys" lo4os" 4a-es" an% ri%es t3at +ill %e#art-ent stores all over t3e worl%. 'isney t3e-e #ar5s w3ic3 -a%e over @3.4 6illion in revenues in 1993 #ro%uce% a si(a6le #ortion o+ t3eir #ro+its t3rou43 t3e -erc3an%isin4 o+ toys 6ase% on c3aracters +ro- t3e ani-ate% +il-s. ,3e &<ion Iin4& #ro%uce% a sta44erin4 @1 6illion in -erc3an%i(in4 #ro+its in 1994 alone" not to -ention t3e #ro+its -a%e +ros#ino++ #ro%ucts +ro- t3e -ovie. .or exa-#le" 'isney 3as s3i##e% over 3 -illion co#ies o+ t3e soun%trac5 +ro- t3e &<ion Iin4.& 'isney8s culture o+ co--ercialis- is 6i4 6usiness an% t3e toys -o%ele% a+ter 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s #rovi%e 4oo%s +or over 3CC 'isney Stores worl% wi%e. As a co--entator in =ewswee5 recently #ointe% out" &,3e -erc3an%ise$$/er-ai% %olls" Ala%%in un%ies" an% collecti6les li5e a scul#ture o+ Ba-6i8s .iel% /ouse$$ account +or a stunnin4 2C #ercent o+ 'isney8s o#eratin4 inco-e.& But 'isney8s atte-#t to turn c3il%ren into consu-ers an% construct co--o%i+ication as a %e+inin4 #rinci#le o+ c3il%ren8s culture s3oul% not su44est a #arallel vul4arity in its willin4ness to ex#eri-ent aest3etically wit3 #o#ular +or-s o+ re#resentation. 'isney 3as s3own enor-ous inventiveness in its atte-#ts to reconstruct t3e very 4roun%s on w3ic3 #o#ular culture is %e+ine% an% s3a#e%. .or exa-#le" 6y %e+inin4 #o#ular culture as a 3y6ri%i(e% s#3ere t3at co-6ines 4enres" +or-s" an% o+ten colla#ses t3e 6oun%ary 6etween 3i43 an% low culture" 'isney 3as #us3e% a4ainst t3e 4rain o+ aest3etic +or- an% cultural le4iti-acy. .or instance" w3en antasia a##eare% in t3e 193C %rew t3e wrat3 o+ -usic critics" w3o 3ol%in4 to an elite view o+ classical -usic" were outra4e% t3at t3e -usical score o+ t3e +il- %rew +ro- t3e canon o+ 3i43 culture. By co-6inin4 3i43 an% low culture in t3e +or- o+ t3e ani-ate% +il-" 'isney o#ene% u# new cultural s#aces an% #ossi6ilities +or artists an% au%iences ali5e. /oreover" as sites o+ entertain-ent" 'isney8s +il-s &wor5& 6ecause t3ey #ut 6ot3 c3il%ren an% a%ults in touc3 wit3 9oy an% a%venture. ,3ey #resent t3e-selves as #laces to ex#erience #leasure" even w3en we 3ave to 6uy it.

An% yet" 'isney8s 6rilliant use o+ aest3etic +or-s" -usical scores" an% invitin4 c3aracters can only 6e &rea%& in li43t o+ t3e 6roa%er conce#tions o+ reality an% #re%is#ositions s3a#e% 6y s#eci+ic 'isney +il-s wit3in a wi%er syste- o+ %o-inant re#resentations a6out 4en%er roles" race" an% a4ency t3at are en%lessly re#eate% in t3e visual worl%s o+ television" Hollywoo% +il-" an% vi%eocassettes. All +our o+ t3e recent +il-s -entione% %raw u#on t3e talents o+ son4 writers Howar% As3-an an% Alan /en5en" w3ose s5ill+ul aran4e-ents #rovi%e t3e e-otional 4lue o+ t3e ani-ation ex#erience. ,3e rousin4 caly#so nu-6er" &7n%er t3e Sea"& in The Little Mermaid" an% t3e &Be ?ur Guest"& Bus6y Ber5eley ins#ire% -usical se>uence in Beauty and the Beast are in%icative o+ t3e -usical talent at wor5 in 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s. .antasy a6oun%s as 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s #ro%uce a 3ost o+ exotic an% stereoty#ical villains" 3eroes" an% 3eroines. ,3e Beast8s enc3ante% castle in Beauty and the Beast 6eco-es -a4ical as 3ouse3ol% o69ects are trans+or-e% into %ancin4 teacu#s" a tal5in4 tea#ot" an% %ancin4 silverware. An% yet tie% to t3e -a4ical +antasy an% li43t 3earte% -usical scores are re#resentations an% t3e-es t3at e-ulate t3e re#etitive stereoty#es t3at are c3aracteristic o+ 'isney8s view o+ t3e c3il%3oo% culture. .or exa-#le" w3ile 7rsula" t3e lar4e oo(in4" 6lac5 an% #ur#le s>ui% in The Little Mermaid 4us3es wit3 evil an% irony" t3e 3eroine an% -er-ai%" Ariel" a##ears as a cross 6etween a ty#ical re6ellious teena4er an% a Sout3ern )ali+ornia +as3ion -o%el. 'isney8s re#resentations o+ evil an% 4oo% wo-en a##ear to 3ave 6een +as3ione% in t3e e%itorial o++ice o+ 0o4ue /a4a(ine. ,3e wol+$li5e -onster in Beauty and the Beast evo5es a rare co-6ination o+ terror an% 4entleness w3ile Scar" t3e suave +eline -aster+ully e-6races a sc3e-in4 sense o+ evil an% 6etrayal. ,3e array o+ ani-ate% o69ects an% ani-als in t3ese +il-s is o+ t3e 3i43est artistic stan%ar%s" 6ut t3ey %o not exist in so-e i%eolo4ically +ree co-+ort (one. ,3eir c3aracters are tie% to lar4er narratives a6out +ree%o-" rites o+ #assa4e" intolerance" c3oices" an% t3e 6rutalities o+ -ale c3auvinis-. ,3ese are 9ust so-e o+ t3e -any t3e-es ex#lore% in 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s. But enc3ant-ent co-es wit3 a 3i43 #rice i+ one o+ its e++ects is to se%uce its au%ience into sus#en%in4 critical 9u%4-ent on t3e %o-inant i%eolo4ical -essa4es #ro%uce% 6y suc3 +il-s in%e+initely. Hven t3ou43 t3ese -essa4es can 6e rea% t3rou43 a variety o+ si4ni+ications s3a#e% wit3in %i++erent contexts o+ rece#tion" t3e %o-inant assu-#tions t3at structure t3ese +il-s carry enor-ous wei43t in restrictin4 t3e nu-6er o+ cultural -eanin4s t3at can 6e 6rou43t to 6ear on t3ese +il-s" es#ecially w3en t3e inten%e% au%ience is -ostly c3il%ren. ,3is s3oul% not su44ests t3at t3e role o+ t3e critic in %ealin4 wit3 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s is to si-#ly assi4n t3e- a #articular i%eolo4ical rea%in4. ?n t3e contrary" t3e c3allen4e o+ suc3 +il-s is to analy(e t3e various t3e-es an% assu-#tions t3at in+or- t3ese +il-s 6ot3 wit3in an% outsi%e o+ t3e %o-inant institutional an% i%eolo4ical +or-ations t3at atte-#t to constrain 3ow t3ey -i43t 6e ta5en u#. ,3is allows e%ucators an% ot3er to try to un%erstan% 3ow suc3 +il-s can 6eco-e sites o+ contestation" translation" an% exc3an4e in or%er to 6e rea% %i++erently. But t3ere is -ore at sta5e 3ere t3an reco4ni(in4 t3e #lurality o+ rea%in4s suc3 +il-s -i43t ani-ate; t3ere is also t3e #olitical necessity o+ analy(in4 3ow #rivile4e% %o-inant rea%in4s o+ suc3 texts construct t3eir #ower$sensitive

-eanin4s to 4enerate #articular su69ect #ositions t3at %e+ine +or c3il%ren s#eci+ic notions o+ a4ency an% its #ossi6ilities in society. )ontexts -ol% inter#retations; 6ut #olitical" econo-ic" an% i%eolo4ical contexts also #ro%uce t3e texts to 6e rea%. .ocusin4 on +il-s -ust 6e su##le-ente% wit3 analy(in4 t3e institutional #ractices an% social structures t3at wor5 to s3a#e suc3 texts. ,3is ty#e o+ analysis %oes not -ean t3at cultural wor5ers s3oul% su6scri6e to a +or- o+ %eter-inis- in w3ic3 cultural texts can 6e assi4ne% a sin4ular -eanin4 as -uc3 as it s3oul% su44est #e%a4o4ical strate4ies +or un%erstan%in4 3ow %o-inant re4i-es o+ #ower wor5s to severely li-it t3e ran4e o+ views t3at c3il%ren -i43t 6rin4 to rea%in4 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s. By -a5in4 t3e relations3i# 6etween #ower an% 5nowle%4e visi6le w3ile si-ultaneously re+erencin4 w3at is o+ten ta5en +or 4rante%" teac3ers an% critics can use 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s #e%a4o4ically +or stu%ents an% ot3ers to rea% suc3 +il-s wit3in" a4ainst" an% outsi%e o+ t3e %o-inant co%es t3at in+or- t3e-. ,3ere is a %ou6le #e%a4o4ical -ove-ent 3ere. .irst" t3ere is t3e nee% to rea% 'isney8s +il-s in relation to t3eir articulation wit3 ot3er %o-inant texts in or%er to assess t3eir si-ilarities in le4iti-atin4 #articular i%eolo4ies. Secon%" t3ere is t3e nee% on t3e #art o+ cultural wor5ers to use 'isney8s t3e-ati(ation o+ A-erica an% A-erica8s t3e-ati(ation o+ 'isney as a re+erent to 6ot3 -a5e visi6le an% %isru#t %o-inant co%in4s" 6ut to %o so in a s#ace t3at invites %ialo4ue" %e6ate" an% alternative rea%in4s. ,3at is" #e%a4o4ically one -a9or c3allen4e is to assess 3ow %o-inant si4ni+ications w3ic3 are re#eate% over ti-e in t3ese +il-s an% rein+orce% t3rou43 ot3er #o#ular cultural texts can 6e ta5en u# as a re+erent +or en4a4in4 3ow c3il%ren %e+ine t3e-selves wit3in suc3 re#resentations. ,3e tas5 3ere is to #rovi%e rea%in4s o+ suc3 +il-s t3at serve as a #e%a4o4ical re+erent +or en4a4in4 t3e- in t3e context in w3ic3 t3ey are s3a#e%" un%erstoo%" or -i43t 6e seen.

V
,3e construction o+ 4en%er i%entity +or 4irls an% wo-en re#resents one o+ t3e -ost controversial issues in 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s. *n 6ot3 ,3e <ittle /er-ai% an% ,3e <ion Iin4" t3e +e-ale c3aracters are constructe% wit3in narrowly %e+ine% 4en%er roles. All o+ t3e +e-ale c3aracters in t3ese +il-s are ulti-ately su6or%inate to -ales" an% %e+ine t3eir sense o+ #ower an% %esire al-ost exclusively in ter-s o+ %o-inant -ale narratives. .or instance" -o%ele% a+ter a sli43tly anorexic Bar6ie 'oll" Ariel" t3e wo-an$-er-ai% in ,3e <ittle /er-ai%" at +irst 4lance a##ears to 6e en4a4e% in a stru44le a4ainst #arental control" -otivate% 6y t3e %esire to ex#lore t3e 3u-an worl% an% willin4 to ta5e a ris5 in %e+inin4 t3e su69ect an% o69ect o+ 3er %esires. But in t3e en%" t3e stru44le to 4ain in%e#en%ence +ro- 3er +at3er" ,riton" an% t3e sense o+ %es#erate strivin4 t3at -otivates 3er %issolves w3en Ariel -a5es a /e#3isto#3ilean #act wit3 t3e sea witc3" 7rsula. *n t3is tra%e" Ariel 4ives away 3er voice to 4ain a #air o+ le4s so t3at s3e can #ursue t3e 3an%so-e Grince Hric. :3ile c3il%ren -i43t 6e %eli43te% 6y Ariel8s teena4e re6elliousness" t3ey are stron4ly #ositione% to 6elieve in t3e en% t3at %esire" c3oice" an% e-#ower-ent are closely lin5e% to catc3in4 an% lovin4 3an%so-e

-en. Bonnie <ea%6eater an% Gloria <o%ato :ilson ex#lore succinctly t3e #e%a4o4ical -essa4e at wor5 in t3e +il- wit3 t3eir co--ent: ,3e 2Ct3$century innocent an% a##ealin4 vi%eo #resents a 3i43$s#irite% role +or a%olescent 4irls" 6ut an ulti-ately su6servient role +or a%ult wo-en. 'isney8s &<ittle /er-ai%& 3as 6een 4rante% 3er wis3 to 6e #art o+ t3e new worl% o+ -en" 6ut s3e is still +li##in4 3er +ins an% is not 4oin4 too +ar. S3e stan%s to ex#lore t3e worl% o+ -en. S3e ex3i6its 3er new$+oun% sexual %esires. But t3e sexual or%erin4 o+ wo-en8s roles is unc3an4e%. Ariel in t3is +il- 6eco-es a -eta#3or +or t3e tra%itional 3ousewi+e$in$t3e$ -a5in4 narrative. :3en t3e sea$witc3 7rsula tells Ariel t3at ta5in4 away 3er voice is not so 6a% 6ecause -en %on8t li5e wo-en w3o tal5" t3e -essa4e is %ra-ati(e% w3en t3e Grince atte-#ts to 6estow t3e 5iss o+ true love on Ariel even t3ou43 s3e 3as never s#o5en to 3i-. :it3in t3is ri4i%ly %e+ine% narrative" wo-an3oo% o++ers Ariel t3e rewar% o+ -arryin4 t3e ri43t -an an% renouncin4 3er +or-er li+e un%er t3e sea as a tellin4 cultural -o%el +or t3e universe o+ +e-ale c3oices an% %ecision$-a5in4 in 'isney8s worl% view. ,3e +or4in4 o+ ri4i% 4en%er roles in The Little Mermaid %oes not re#resent an isolate% -o-ent in 'isney8s +il-ic universe; on t3e contrary" t3e #ower t3at in+or-s 'isney8s re#ro%uction o+ ne4ative stereoty#es a6out wo-en an% 4irls 4ains +orce" in #art" t3rou43 t3e consistent way in w3ic3 si-ilar -essa4es are circulate% an% re#ro%uce%" in varyin4 %e4rees" in all o+ 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s. .or exa-#le" in Aladdin t3e issue o+ a4ency an% #ower is centere% #ri-arily on t3e role o+ t3e youn4 street tra-#" Ala%%in. Fas-ine" t3e Grincess 3e +alls in love wit3 is si-#ly an o69ect o+ 3is i--e%iate %esire as well as a social ste##in4 stone. Fas-ine8s li+e is al-ost co-#letely %e+ine% 6y -en" an%" in t3e en%" 3er 3a##iness is insure% 6y Ala%%in w3o +inally is 4iven #er-ission to -arry 3er. 'isney8s 4en%er t3e-e 6eco-es a 6it -ore co-#licate% in Beauty and the Beast. Belle" t3e 3eroine o+ t3e +il-" is #ortraye% as an in%e#en%ent wo-an stuc5 in a #rovincial villa4e in ei43teent3 century .rance. Seen as o%% 6ecause s3e always 3as 3er nose in a 6oo5" s3e is #ursue% 6y Gaston" t3e ulti-ate vain" -ac3o -ale ty#ical o+ Hollywoo% +il-s o+ t3e 191Cs. ,o Belle8s cre%it s3e re9ects 3i-" 6ut in t3e en% s3e 4ives 3er love to t3e Beast w3o 3ol%s 3er ca#tive in t3e 3o#es s3e will +all in love wit3 3i- an% 6rea5 t3e evil s#ell cast u#on 3i- as a youn4 -an. Belle not only +alls in love wit3 t3e Beast" s3e &civili(es& 3i- 6y instructin4 3i- on 3ow to eat #ro#erly" control 3is te-#er" an% %ance. Belle 6eco-es a -o%el o+ eti>uette an% style as s3e turns t3is narcissistic" -uscle$6oun% tyrant into a &new& -an" one w3o is sensitive" carin4" an% lovin4. So-e critics 3ave la6ele% Belle a 'isney +e-inist 6ecause s3e re9ects an% vili+ies Gaston" t3e ulti-ate -ac3o -an. <ess o6viously" Beauty and the Beast also can 6e rea% as a re9ection o+ 3y#er$-asculinity an% a stru44le 6etween t3e -ac3o sensi6ilities o+ Gaston an% t3e re+or-e% sexist" t3e Beast. *n t3is rea%in4 Belle is less t3e +ocus o+ t3e +il- t3an a #ro# or &-ec3anis- +or solvin4 t3e Beast8s %ile--a.& :3atever su6versive

>ualities Belle #ersoni+ies in t3e +il-" t3ey see- to %issolve w3en +ocuse% on 3u-6lin4 -ale vanity. *n t3e en%" Belle si-#ly 6eco-es anot3er wo-an w3ose li+e is value% +or solvin4 a -an8s #ro6le-s. ,3e issue o+ +e-ale su6or%ination returns wit3 a ven4eance in The Lion King! All o+ t3e rulers o+ t3e 5in4%o- are -en rein+orcin4 t3e assu-#tion t3at in%e#en%ence an% lea%ers3i# are tie% to #atriarc3al entitle-ent an% 3i43 social stan%in4. ,3e %e#en%ency t3at t3e 6elove% lion 5in4" /u+asa" en4en%ers +ro- t3e wo-en o+ Gri%e Roc5 is unaltere% a+ter 3is %eat3 w3en t3e evil Scar assu-es control o+ t3e 5in4%o-. <ac5in4 any sense o+ outra4e" in%e#en%ence" or resistance" t3e wo-en +elines 3an4 aroun% to %o 3is 6i%%in4. Given 'isney8s #ur#orte% o6session wit3 +a-ily values" es#ecially as a consu-in4 unit" it is curious as to w3y t3ere are no -ot3ers in t3ese +il-s. ,3e -er-ai% 3as a %o-ineerin4 +at3er; Fas-ine8s +at3er is outwitte% 6y 3is ai%s; an% Belle 3as an air3ea% +or a +at3er. So -uc3 +or stron4 -ot3ers an% resistin4 wo-en. Fac5 Li#es" a lea%in4 t3eorist on +airy tales" clai-s t3at 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s cele6rate a -asculine ty#e o+ #ower" 6ut -ore i-#ortantly 3e 6elieves t3at t3ey re#ro%uce &a ty#e o+ 4en%er stereoty#in4...t3at 3ave an a%verse e++ect on c3il%ren in contrast to w3at #arents t3in5....Garents t3in5 t3ey8re essentially 3ar-less$$an% t3ey8re not 3ar-less.& 'isney +il-s are seen 6y enor-ous nu-6ers o+ c3il%ren in 6ot3 t3e 7nite% States an% a6roa%. As +ar as t3e issue o+ 4en%er is concerne%" 'isney8s view o+ +e-ale a4ency an% e-#ower-ent is not si-#ly li-ite%" it 6or%ers on 6ein4 overtly reactionary. Racial stereoty#in4 is anot3er -a9or issue t3at sur+aces in -any o+ t3e recent 'isney ani-ate% +il-s. But t3e le4acy o+ racis- %oes not 6e4in wit3 t3e +il-s #ro%uce% since 1919; on t3e contrary" t3ere is a lon4 3istory o+ racisassociate% wit3 'isney. ,3is 3istory can 6e trace% 6ac5 to %eni4ratin4 i-a4es o+ #eo#le o+ color in +il-s suc3 as "ong of the "outh" release% in 194A" an% The #ungle Boo$" w3ic3 a##eare% in 19AB. /oreover" racist re#resentations o+ native A-ericans as violent &re%s5ins& were +eature% in .rontierlan% in t3e 19 Cs. *n a%%ition" t3e -ain restaurant in .rontierlan% +eature% t3e real li+e +i4ure o+ a +or-er slave" Aunt Fe-i-a" w3o woul% si4n auto4ra#3s +or t3e tourists outsi%e o+ 3er &Ganca5e House.& Hventually t3e ex3i6its an% t3e native A-ericans runnin4 t3e- were eli-inate% 6y 'isney executives 6ecause t3e &*n%ian& canoe 4ui%es wante% to unioni(e. ,3ey were %is#lace% 6y ro6otic %ancin4 6ears. )o-#laints +ro- civil ri43ts 4rou#s 4ot ri% o+ t3e %e4ra%in4 Aunt Fe-i-a s#ectacle. )urrently" t3e -ost controversial exa-#le o+ racist stereoty#in4 +acin4 t3e 'isney #u6licity -ac3ine occurre% wit3 t3e release o+ Aladdin in 1919" alt3ou43 suc3 stereoty#in4 rea##eare% in 1994 wit3 t3e release o+ The Lion King! Aladdin re#resents a #articularly i-#ortant exa-#le 6ecause it was a 3i43 #ro+ile release" t3e winner o+ two aca%e-y awar%s" an% one o+ t3e -ost success+ul 'isney +il-s ever #ro%uce%. Glayin4 to -assive au%iences o+ c3il%ren" t3e +il-8s o#enin4 son4" &Ara6ian =i43ts"& 6e4ins its %e#iction o+ Ara6 culture wit3 a %eci%e%ly racist tone. ,3e lyrics o+ t3e o++en%in4 stan(a

states: &?3 * co-e +ro- a lan%$.ro- a +araway #lace$:3ere t3e caravan ca-els roa-. :3ere t3ey cut o++ your ear$*+ t3ey %on8t li5e your +ace. *t8s 6ar6aric" 6ut 3ey" it8s 3o-e.& *n t3is c3aracteri(ation" a #olitics o+ i%entity an% #lace associate% wit3 Ara6 culture -a4ni+ies #o#ular stereoty#es alrea%y #ri-e% 6y t3e -e%ia t3rou43 its #ortrayal o+ t3e Gul+ :ar. Suc3 racist re#resentations are +urt3er re#ro%uce% in a 3ost o+ su##ortin4 c3aracters w3o are #ortraye% as 4rotes>ue" violent" an% cruel. Eouse+ Sale-" a +or-er s#o5es#erson +or t3e Sout3 Bay *sla-ic Association" c3aracteri(e% t3e +il- in t3e +ollowin4 way: All o+ t3e 6a% 4uys 3ave 6ear%s an% lar4e" 6ul6ous noses" sinister eyes an% 3eavy accents" an% t3ey8re wiel%in4 swor%s constantly. Ala%%in %oesn8t 3ave a 6i4 nose; 3e as a s-all nose. He %oesn8t 3ave a 6ear% or a tur6an. He %oesn8t 3ave an accent. :3at -a5es 3i- nice is t3ey8ve 4iven 3i- t3is A-erican c3aracter....* 3ave a %au43ter w3o says s3e8s as3a-e% to 6e call 3ersel+ an Ara6" an% it8s 6ecause o+ t3in4s li5e t3is. Fac5 S3a3een" a #ro+essor o+ 6roa%cast 9ournalis- at Sout3ern *llinois 7niversity o+ H%war%sville" alon4 wit3 ra%io #ersonality" )asey Iase-" -o6ili(e% a #u6lic relations ca-#ai4n #rotestin4 t3e anti$Ara6 t3e-es in Aladdin. At +irst t3e 'isney executives i4nore% t3e #rotest" 6ut %ue to t3e risin4 ti%e o+ #u6lic outra4e a4ree% to c3an4e one line o+ t3e stan(a in t3e su6se>uent vi%eocassette an% worl% wi%e +il- release; it is wort3 notin4 t3at 'isney %i% not c3an4e t3e lyrics on its #o#ular )' release o+ Aladdin. *t a##ears t3at 'isney executives were not unaware o+ t3e racist i-#lications o+ t3e lyrics w3en t3ey were +irst #ro#ose%. Howar% As3-an" w3o wrote t3e -ain title son4 su6-itte% an alternative set o+ lyrics w3en 3e %elivere% t3e ori4inal verse. ,3e alternative set o+ lyrics" &:3ere it8s +lat an% i--ense$ $An% t3e 3eat is intense& eventually re#lace% t3e ori4inal verse" &:3ere t3ey cut o+ your ear$*+ t3ey %on8t li5e your +ace.& ,3ou43 t3e new lyrics a##eare% in t3e vi%eocassette release o+ Aladdin" -any Ara6 4rou#s were %isa##ointe% 6ecause t3e verse &*t8s 6ar6aric" 6ut 3ey it8s 3o-e& was not altere%. /ore i-#ortantly" t3e -is#ronunciation o+ Ara6 na-es in t3e +il-" t3e racial co%in4 o+ accents" an% t3e use o+ nonsensical scrawl as a su6stitute +or an actual written Ara6ic lan4ua4e were not re-ove%. Racis- in 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s %o not si-#ly a##ear in ne4ative i-a4ery" it is also re#ro%uce% t3rou43 racially co%e% lan4ua4e an% accents. .or exa-#le" Aladdin #ortrays t3e &6a%& Ara6s wit3 t3ic5" +orei4n accents" w3ile t3e An4lici(e% Fas-ine an% Ala%%in s#ea5 in stan%ar% A-ericani(e% Hn4lis3. A 3int o+ t3e racis- t3at in+or-s t3is %e#iction is #rovi%e% 6y Geter Sc3nei%er" #resi%ent o+ +eature ani-ation at 'isney" w3o #oints out t3at Ala%%in was -o%ele% a+ter ,o- )ruise. Racially co%e% lan4ua4e is also evi%ent in The Lion King w3ere all o+ t3e -e-6ers o+ t3e royal +a-ily s#ea5 wit3 #os3 Britis3 accents w3ile S3en(i an% Ban(ai" t3e %es#ica6le 3yena stortroo#ers s#ea5 t3rou43 t3e voices o+ :3oo#i Gol%6er4 an% )3eec3 /arin in racially co%e% accents t3at ta5e on t3e nuances o+ t3e %iscourse o+ a %eci%e%ly ur6an" 6lac5 an% <atino yout3. ,3e use o+ racially co%e% lan4ua4e is not new in 'isney8s +il-s an% can 6e +oun% in an early version o+ The Three Little

%igs" "ong of the "outh& an% The #ungle Boo$. :3at is astonis3in4 in t3ese +il-s is t3at t3ey #ro%uce a 3ost o+ re#resentations an% co%es in w3ic3 c3il%ren are tau43t t3at cultural %i++erences t3at %o not 6ear t3e i-#rint o+ w3ite" -i%%le$class et3nicity are %eviant" in+erior" unintelli4ent" an% a t3reat to 6e overco-e. ,3e racis- in t3ese +il-s is %e+ine% 6y 6ot3 t3e #resence o+ racist re#resentations an% t3e a6sence o+ co-#lex re#resentations o+ A+rican$ A-ericans an% ot3er #eo#le o+ color. At t3e sa-e ti-e" w3iteness is universali(e% t3rou43 t3e #rivile4e% re#resentation o+ -i%%le class social relations" values" an% lin4uistic #ractices. /oreover" t3e re#resentational ren%erin4 o+ 3istory" #ro4ress" an% :estern culture 6ears a colonial le4acy t3at see-s #er+ectly ca#ture% 6y H%war% Sai%8s notion o+ orientalis- an% its %e#en%ency on new i-a4es o+ centrality an% sanctione% narratives. )ultural %i++erences in 'isney8s recent +il-s are ex#resse% t3rou43 a &naturali(e%& racial 3ierarc3y" one t3at is antit3etical to an via6le %e-ocratic society. ,3ere is not3in4 innocent in w3at 5i%s learn a6out race as #ortraye% in t3e &-a4ical worl%& o+ 'isney. Anot3er central +eature co--on to all o+ 'isney8s recently ani-ate% +il-s is t3e cele6ration o+ %ee#ly anti$%e-ocratic social relations. =ature an% t3e ani-al 5in4%o- #rovi%e t3e -ec3anis- +or #resentin4 an% le4iti-atin4 caste" royalty" an% structural ine>uality as #art o+ t3e natural or%er. ,3e see-in4ly 6eni4n #resentation o+ celluloi% %ra-as in w3ic3 -en rule" strict %isci#line is i-#ose% t3rou43 social 3ierarc3ies" an% lea%ers3i# is a +unction o+ one8s social status su44ests a yearnin4 +or a return to a -ore ri4i%ly strati+ie% society" one -o%ele% a+ter t3e Britis3 -onarc3y o+ t3e 11t3 an% 19t3 centuries. :it3in 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s" nature #rovi%es a -eta#3or w3ere &3ar-ony is 6ou43t at t3e #rice o+ %o-ination....no #ower or aut3ority is i-#lie% exce#t +or t3e natural or%erin4 -ec3anis-s [o+ nature2.& .or c3il%ren" t3e -essa4es o++ere% in 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s su44ests t3at social #ro6le-s suc3 as t3e 3istory o+ racis-" t3e 4enoci%e o+ =ative A-ericans" t3e #revalence o+ sexis-" an% crisis o+ %e-ocracy are si-#ly wille% t3rou43 t3e laws o+ nature.

VI
Given t3e cor#orate reac3" cultural in+luence" an% #olitical #ower t3at 'isney exercises over -ulti#le levels o+ c3il%ren8s culture" 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s s3oul% 6e neit3er i4nore% nor censore% 6y t3ose w3o %is-iss t3e conservative i%eolo4ies t3ey #ro%uce an% circulate. * t3in5 t3ere a nu-6er o+ issues to 6e ta5en u# re4ar%in4 t3e +or4in4 o+ a #e%a4o4y an% #olitics res#onsive to 'isney8s s3a#in4 o+ c3il%ren8s culture. *n w3at +ollows" * want to #rovi%e in sc3e-atic +or- so-e su44estions re4ar%in4 3ow cultural wor5ers" e%ucators" an% #arents -i43t critically en4a4e 'isney8s in+luence in s3a#in4 t3e &sy-6olic environ-ent into w3ic3 our c3il%ren are 6orn an% in w3ic3 we all live out our lives.& .irst" it is crucial t3at t3e real- o+ #o#ular culture t3at 'isney increasin4ly uses to teac3 values an% sell 4oo%s 6e ta5en seriously as a site o+ learnin4 an% contestation" es#ecially +or c3il%ren. ,3is -eans" at t3e very least" t3at t3ose

cultural texts t3at %o-inate c3il%ren8s culture" inclu%in4 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s" s3oul% 6e incor#orate% into sc3ools as serious o69ects o+ social 5nowle%4e an% critical analysis. ,3is woul% entail a reconsi%eration o+ w3at counts as really use+ul 5nowle%4e in #u6lic sc3ools an% woul% o++er a new t3eoretical re4ister +or a%%ressin4 3ow #o#ular -e%ia ai-e% at s3a#in4 c3il%ren8s culture are i-#licate% in a ran4e o+ #owerM5nowle%4e relations3i#s. Secon%" #arents" co--unity 4rou#s" e%ucators" an% ot3er concerne% in%ivi%uals -ust 6e attentive to t3e -ulti#le an% %iverse -essa4es in 'isney +il-s in or%er to 6ot3 critici(e t3e- w3en necessary an%" -ore i-#ortantly" to reclai- t3e- +or -ore #ro%uctive en%s. At t3e very least" we -ust 6e attentive to t3e #rocesses w3ere6y -eanin4s are #ro%uce% in t3ese +il-s an% 3ow t3ey wor5 to secure #articular +or-s o+ aut3ority an% social relations. As sta5e #e%a4o4ically is t3e issue o+ #ayin4 &close attention to t3e ways in w3ic3 [suc3 +il-s2 invite (or in%ee% see5 to #revent! #articular -eanin4s an% #leasures.& *n +act" 'isney8s +il-s a##ear to assi4n >uite una#olo4etically ri4i% roles to wo-en an% #eo#le o+ color. Si-ilarly" suc3 +il-s 4enerally #ro%uce a narrow view o+ +a-ily values cou#le% wit3 a nostal4ic an% conservative view o+ 3istory t3at s3ol% 6e c3allen4e% an% trans+or-e%. H%ucators nee% to ta5e seriously 'isney8s atte-#t to s3a#e collective -e-ory" #articularly w3en suc3 atte-#ts are una6as3e%ly %e+ine% 6y one o+ 'isneylan%8s i-a4ineers& in t3e +ollowin4 ter-s: &:3at we create is a sort o+ J'isney realis-"8 sort o+ 7to#ian in nature" w3ere we care+ully #ro4ra- out all t3e ne4ative" unwante% ele-ents an% #ro4ra- in t3e #ositive ele-ents.& =ee%less to say" 'isney8s ren%erin4 o+ entertain-ent an% s#ectacle" w3et3er ex#resse% in .rontierlan%" /ain Street 7SA" or in its en%less vi%eo an% +il- #ro%uctions" %oes not -erely re#resent an e%ite%" sanitary an% nostal4ic view o+ 3istory" one t3at is +ree o+ #overty" class %i++erences an% t3e ur6an %ecay. 'isney8s writin4 o+ #u6lic -e-ory also a44ressively constructs a -onolit3ic notion o+ national i%entity t3at treats su6or%inate 4rou#s as eit3er exotic or irrelevant to A-erican 3istory w3ile si-ultaneously -ar5etin4 cultural %i++erences wit3in &3istories t3at cor#orations can live wit3.& 'isney8s version o+ 7nite% States 3istory is neit3er innocent nor can it 6e %is-isse% as si-#ly entertain-ent. 'isney8s celluloi% view o+ c3il%ren8s culture stri#s t3e #ast" #resent" an% +uture o+ its %iverse narratives an% its -ulti#le #ossi6ilities. But it is #recisely suc3 a ren%erin4 t3at nee%s to 6e reveale% as a 3istorically s#eci+ic an% #olitically constructe% cultural &lan%sca#e o+ #ower.& Gositin4 an% revealin4 t3e i%eolo4ical nature o+ 'isney8s worl% o+ c3il%ren8s +il-s o#ens u# +urt3er o##ortunities +or e%ucators an% cultural wor5ers to intervene wit3in suc3 texts to -a5e t3e- -ean %i++erently. Rusto- B3aracu3a #uts it well in ar4uin4 t3at &t3e consu-#tion o+...i-a4es...can 6e su6verte% t3rou43 a #articular use in w3ic3 we are co-#elle% to t3in5 t3rou43 i-a4es rat3er t3an res#on% to t3e- wit3 a 3allucinatory %eli43t.& ?ne ren%erin4 o+ t3e call to &t3in5 t3rou43 i-a4es& is +or e%ucators an% cultural wor5ers to %e-onstrate #e%a4o4ically an% #olitically t3at 3istory an% its ren%erin4 o+ national i%entity 3ave to 6e conteste% an% en4a4e%" even w3en i-a4es #ara%e as innocent +ilentertain-ent +or c3il%ren. ,3e i-a4es t3at #erva%e 'isney8s #ro%uction o+ c3il%ren8s culture alon4 wit3 t3eir clai- to #u6lic -e-ory nee% to 6e

c3allen4e% an% rewritten" &-ove% a6out in %i++erent ways"& an% rea% %i++erently as #art o+ t3e scri#t o+ %e-ocratic e-#ower-ent. *ssues re4ar%in4 t3e construction o+ 4en%er" race" class" caste" an% ot3er as#ects o+ sel+ an% collective i%entity are %e+inin4 #rinci#les o+ 'isney8s +il-s +or c3il%ren. *t is wit3in t3e %ra-a o+ ani-ate% storytellin4 t3at c3il%ren are o+ten #ositione% #e%a4o4ically to learn w3at su69ect #ositions are o#en to t3e- as citi(ens an% w3at #ositions aren8t. Hence" t3e stru44le over c3il%ren8s culture #artly -ust 6e seen as t3e stru44le over t3e relate% %iscourses o+ citi(ens3i#" national i%entity" an% %e-ocracy itsel+. ,3ir%" i+ 'isney8s +il-s are to 6e viewe% as -ore t3an narratives o+ +antasy an% esca#e" as sites o+ recla-ation an% i-a4ination" w3ic3 a++ir- rat3er t3an %eny t3e lon4$stan%in4 relations3i# 6etween entertain-ent an% #e%a4o4y" cultural wor5ers an% e%ucators nee% to insert t3e #olitical an% #e%a4o4ical 6ac5 into t3e %iscourse o+ entertain-ent. *n #art" t3is #oints to analy(in4 3ow entertain-ent can 6e ren%ere% as a su69ect o+ intellectual en4a4e-ent rat3er t3an a series o+ si43ts an% soun%s t3at was3 over us. ,3is su44ests a #e%a4o4ical a##roac3 to #o#ular culture t3at en4a4es 3ow a #olitics o+ t3e #o#ular wor5s to -o6ili(e %esire" sti-ulate i-a4ination" an% #ro%uce +or-s o+ i%enti+ication t3at can 6eco-e o69ects o+ %ialo4ue an% critical investi4ation. At one level" t3is necessitates a%%ressin4 t3e uto#ian #ossi6ilities in w3ic3 c3il%ren o+ten +in% re#resentations o+ t3eir 3o#es an% %rea-s. ,3e #e%a4o4ical value o+ suc3 an a##roac3 is t3at it alerts cultural wor5ers to ta5in4 t3e nee%s" %esires" lan4ua4es" an% ex#erience o+ c3il%ren seriously. But t3is is not -eant to -erely a++ir- t3e necessity +or relevance in t3e curriculuas -uc3 as it -eans reco4ni(in4 t3e #e%a4o4ical i-#ortance o+ w3at 5i%s 6rin4 wit3 t3e- to t3e classroo- or any ot3er site o+ learnin4 as crucial to %ecenterin4 #ower in t3e classroo- an% ex#an%in4 t3e #ossi6ility +or -ulti#le literacies an% a4ency as #art o+ t3e learnin4 #rocess. *t is i-#erative t3at #arents" e%ucators an% cultural wor5ers #ay attention to 3ow t3ese 'isney +il-s an% visual -e%ia are use% an% un%erstoo% %i++erently 6y %iverse 4rou#s o+ 5i%s. =ot only %oes t3is #rovi%e t3e o##ortunity +or #arents an% ot3ers to tal5 to c3il%ren a6out #o#ular culture" it also creates t3e 6asis +or 6etter un%erstan%in4 3ow youn4 #eo#le i%enti+y wit3 t3ese +il-s" w3at issues nee% to 6e a%%resse%" an% 3ow suc3 %iscussions woul% o#en u# a lan4ua4e o+ #leasure an% criticis- rat3er t3an si-#ly +oreclose one. ,3is su44ests t3at we %evelo# new ways o+ critically un%erstan%in4 an% rea%in4 electronically #ro%uce% visual -e%ia. ,eac3in4 an% learnin4 t3e culture o+ t3e 6oo5 is no lon4er t3e sta#le o+ w3at it -eans to 6e literate. )3il%ren learn +ro- ex#osure to #o#ular cultural +or-s" #rovi%in4 a new cultural re4ister to w3at it -eans to 6e literate. H%ucators an% cultural wor5ers -ust not only 6e attentive to t3e #ro%uction o+ #o#ular art +or-s in t3e sc3ools. ?n one level t3is su44ests a cultural #e%a4o4y roote% in cultural #ractices t3at utili(es stu%ents8 5nowle%4e an% ex#erience t3rou43 t3eir use o+ #o#ular cultural +or-s. ,3e #oint 3ere is t3at stu%ents s3oul% not -erely analy(e t3e re#resentations o+ electronically -e%iate%" #o#ular culture" t3ey -ust also 6e a6le to -aster t3e s5ills an% tec3nolo4y to #ro%uce it. Gut anot3er way" stu%ents s3oul% 4ain ex#erience in -a5in4 +il-s" vi%eos" -usic" an% ot3er +or-s o+ cultural #ro%uction. ,3us" 4ivin4 stu%ents -ore #ower over t3e con%itions +or t3e #ro%uction o+ 5nowle%4e. But a cultural #e%a4o4y

also involves t3e stru44le +or -ore resources +or sc3ools an% ot3er sites o+ learnin4. Grovi%in4 t3e con%itions +or stu%ents an% ot3er to 6eco-e t3e su69ect an% not si-#ly t3e o69ect o+ #e%a4o4ical wor5 6y assertin4 t3eir role as cultural #ro%ucers is crucial i+ stu%ents are to 6eco-e attentive to t3e wor5in4s o+ #ower" soli%arity" an% %i++erence as #art o+ -ore co-#re3ensive #ro9ect +or %e-ocratic e-#ower-ent. .ourt3" 'isney8s all$enco-#assin4 reac3 into t3e s#3eres o+ econo-ics" consu-#tion" an% culture su44est t3at we analy(e 'isney wit3in a 6roa% an% co-#lex ran4e o+ relations o+ #ower. Hric S-oo%in ar4ues ri43tly t3at t3e A-erican #u6lic nee%s to &4ain a new sense o+ 'isney8s i-#ortance" 6ecause o+ t3e -anner in w3ic3 3is wor5 in +il- an% television is connecte% to ot3er #ro9ects in ur6an #lannin4" ecolo4ical #olitics" #ro%uct -erc3an%isin4" 7nite% States %o-estic an% 4lo6al #olicy +or-ation" tec3nolo4ical innovation" an% constructions o+ national c3aracter.& ,3is su44ests un%erta5in4 new analyses o+ 'isney w3ic3 connect rat3er t3an se#arate t3e various social an% cultural +or-ations in w3ic3 t3e co-#any actively en4a4es. )learly" suc3 a %ialectical #ractice not only #rovi%es a -ore t3eoretically accurate un%erstan%in4 o+ t3e reac3 an% in+luence o+ 'isney8s #ower" it also contri6utes to +or-s o+ analysis t3at ru#ture t3e notion t3at 'isney is #ri-arily a6out t3e #e%a4o4y o+ entertain-ent. Duestions o+ owners3i#" control" an% t3e #ossi6ility o+ #u6lic #artici#ation in -a5in4 %ecisions a6out 3ow cultural resources are use%" to w3at extent" an% +or w3at e++ect -ust 6eco-e a central issue in a%%ressin4 t3e worl% o+ 'isney an% ot3er cor#orate con4lo-erates t3at s3a#e cultural #olicy. *n #art" teac3ers" stu%ents" an% cultural wor5ers -ust situate t3e control" #ro%uction" an% %istri6ution o+ suc3 +il-s wit3in lar4er circuits o+ #ower t3at allow concerne% #u6lic citi(ens to ta5e u# 'isney" *nc. as #art o+ a lar4er cultural strate4y an% #u6lic #olicy initiative. ,3is +or- o+ analysis woul% co-6ine researc3 a6out 'isney t3at a%%resses 3ow t3e outco-e o+ suc3 aca%e-ic an% co--unity$6ase% wor5 coul% #ro%uce 5nowle%4e an% strate4ies t3at a%%ress 3ow t3e issue o+ cultural #ower an% t3e s3a#in4 o+ c3il%ren8s culture" coul% 6e ta5en u# as a -atter o+ #u6lic #olicy. ,3e availa6ility" in+luence" an% cultural #ower o+ 'isney8s c3il%ren8s +il-s %e-an% t3at t3ey 6eco-e #art o+ a 6roa%er #olitical %iscourse re4ar%in4 w3o -a5es cultural #olicy. As suc3 issues re4ar%in4 3ow an% w3at c3il%ren learn coul% 6e a%%resse% t3rou43 6roa%er #u6lic %e6ates a6out 3ow cultural an% econo-ic resources can 6e %istri6ute% an% controlle% to insure t3at c3il%ren are ex#ose% to a variety o+ alternative narratives" stories" an% re#resentations a6out t3e-selves an% t3e lar4er society. :3en t3e issue o+ c3il%ren8s culture is s3a#e% in t3e sc3ools" it is assu-e% t3at t3is is a co--on#lace -atter o+ #u6lic #olicy an% intervention" 6ut w3en it is s3a#e% in t3e co--ercial #u6lic s#3ere t3e %iscourse o+ #u6lic intervention 4ets lost in a6stract a##eals to t3e i-#eratives o+ t3e -ar5et an% +ree s#eec3. .ree s#eec3 is only as 4oo% as t3e %e-ocratic +ra-ewor5 t3at -a5es it #ossi6le to exten% its 6ene+its to a wi%er ran4e o+ in%ivi%uals" 4rou#s" an% #u6lic s#3eres. ,reatin4 'isney as #art o+ a

-e%ia s#3ere t3at nee%s to 6e %e-ocrati(e% an% 3el% accounta6le +or t3e ways in w3ic3 it sells #ower an% -anu+actures social i%entities nee%s to 6e ta5en u# as #art o+ t3e %iscourse o+ #e%a4o4ical analysis an% #u6lic #olicy intervention. ,3is ty#e o+ analysis an% intervention is #er+ectly suite% +or cultural stu%ies" w3ic3 can e-#loy an inter%isci#linary a##roac3 to suc3 an un%erta5in4" one t3at -a5es t3e #o#ular t3e o69ect o+ serious analysis" -a5es t3e #e%a4o4ical a %e+inin4 #rinci#le o+ suc3 wor5" an% inserts t3e #olitical into t3e center o+ its #ro9ect. ,3is su44ests t3at cultural wor5ers nee% to rea%%ress t3e varie% interrelations t3at %e+ine 6ot3 a #olitics o+ re#resentation an% a %iscourse o+ #olitical econo-y as a new +or- o+ cultural wor5 t3at re9ects t3e -aterialMcultural %ivi%e. ,3e result woul% 6e a renewe% un%erstan%in4 o+ 3ow t3eir -o%alities -utually in+or- eac3 ot3er wit3in %i++erent contexts an% across national 6oun%aries. ,3is is #articularly i-#ortant +or cultural wor5ers to un%erstan% 3ow 'isney +il-s wor5 wit3in a 6roa% networ5 o+ #ro%uction an% %istri6ution as teac3in4 -ac3ines wit3in an% across %i++erent #u6lic cultures an% social +or-ations. :it3in t3is ty#e o+ %iscourse" t3e -essa4es" +or-s o+ e-otional invest-ent" an% i%eolo4ies #ro%uce% 6y 'isney can 6e trace% t3rou43 t3e various circuits o+ #ower t3at 6ot3 le4iti-ate an% insert &t3e culture o+ t3e /a4ic Iin4%o-& into -ulti#le an% overla##in4 #u6lic s#3eres. /oreover" suc3 +il-s nee% to 6e analy(e% not only +or w3at t3ey say" 6ut also 3ow t3ey are use% an% ta5en u# 6y a%ult au%iences an% 4rou#s o+ c3il%ren wit3in %iverse national an% international contexts. ,3at is" cultural wor5ers nee% to stu%y t3ese +il-s intertextually an% +ro- a transnational #ers#ective. 'isney %oes not re#resent a cultural -onolit3 i4norant o+ %i++erent contexts; on t3e contrary" it8s #ower in #art rests wit3 its a6ility to a%%ress %i++erent contexts an% to 6e rea% %i++erently 6y transnational +or-ations an% au%iences. 'isney en4en%ers w3at *n%er#al Grewa an% )aren Ia#lan 3ave calle% &scattere% 3e4e-onies.& *t is #recisely 6y a%%ressin4 3ow t3ese 3e4e-onies o#erate in #articular s#aces o+ #ower" s#eci+ic localities" %i++erentiate% transnational locations t3at #ro4ressives will 6e a6le to un%erstan% -ore +ully t3e s#eci+ic a4en%as an% #olitics at wor5 as 'isney is 6ot3 constructe% +or an% rea% 6y %i++erent au%iences. * 6elieve t3at since t3e #ower an% in+luence o+ 'isney is so #ervasive in A-erican society" #arents" e%ucators an% ot3ers nee% to +in% ways to -a5e 'isney accounta6le +or w3at it #ro%uces. ,3e recent %e+eat o+ t3e #ro#ose% 3CCC acre t3e-e #ar5 in 0ir4inia su44ests t3at 'isney can 6e c3allen4e% an% 3el% accounta6le +or t3e so$calle% &'isni+ication& o+ A-erican culture. *n t3is case" a coalition o+ nota6le 3istorians" co--unity activists" e%ucators" an% cultural wor5ers -o6ili(e% a4ainst t3e lan% %evelo#ers su##ortin4 t3e #ro9ect" wrote articles a4ainst 'isney8s triviali(in4 o+ 3istory an% its i-#lications +or t3e #ar5" an%" in 4eneral" arouse% #u6lic o#inion enou43 to 4enerate an enor-ous a-ount o+ a%verse criticis- a4ainst t3e 'isney #ro9ect. *n t3is case" w3at was initially viewe% as -erely a #ro9ect +or 6rin4in4 a 'isney version o+ +un an% entertain-ent to 3allowe% civil war 4roun%s in 3istoric 0ir4inia was translate% an% #o#ulari(e% 6y o##ositional 4rou#s as a -atter o+ cultural stru44le an% #u6lic #olicy. An% 'isney lost.

:3at t3e 0ir4inia cultural civil war su44ests is t3at w3ile it is in%is#uta6le t3at 'isney #rovi%es 6ot3 c3il%ren an% a%ults wit3 t3e #leasure o+ 6ein4 entertaine%" 'isney8s #u6lic res#onsi6ility %oes not en% t3ere. Rat3er t3an 6ein4 viewe% as a co--ercial #u6lic s#3ere innocently %istri6utin4 #leasure to youn4 #eo#le" t3e 'isney e-#ire -ust 6e seen as an #e%a4o4ical an% #olicy -a5in4 enter#rise actively en4a4e% in t3e cultural lan%sca#in4 o+ national i%entity an% t3e &sc3oolin4& o+ t3e -in%s o+ youn4 c3il%ren. ,3is is not to su44est t3at t3ere is so-et3in4 sinister 6e3in% w3at 'isney %oes as -uc3 as it #oints to t3e nee% to a%%ress t3e role o+ +antasy" %esire" an% innocence in securin4 #articular i%eolo4ical interests" le4iti-atin4 s#eci+ic social relations" an% -a5in4 a %istinct clai- on t3e -eanin4 o+ #u6lic -e-ory. 'isney nee%s to 6e 3el% accounta6le not 9ust at t3e 6ox o++ice" 6ut also in #olitical an% et3ical ter-s. An% i+ suc3 accounta6ility is to 6e i-#resse% u#on t3e &-a4ic 5in4%o-& t3en #arents" cultural wor5ers" an% ot3ers will 3ave to c3allen4e an% %isru#t 6ot3 t3e institutional #ower an% t3e i-a4es" re#resentations" an% values o++ere% 6y 'isney8s teac3in4 -ac3ine. ,3e sta5es are too 3i43 to i4nore suc3 a c3allen4e an% stru44le" even i+ it -eans rea%in4 'isney8s ani-ate% +il-s critically.