Archive for March, 2016

Disney symbolism eats itself

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

On the insistence of my daughter, I accompanied her to the cinema to watch a new Disney film. As we waited for the film to start, the adverts and trailers beforehand contained a more instructive and damning critique of modern society than anything the main feature could possibly offer.

Without exception, every item promoted to the audience utilised animal characters to sell its content. Every item was a regurgitation of old ideas, whether the old ideas were good ones or not. It was an exercise in cynicism, of laziness, of the defeat of human creativity.

I let the wave of Americano wash over me as if I was a drowning man in a vast ocean of featureless water. The situation was hopeless and impossible to survive – I might as well succumb to the inevitable and give up…

Then the Disney film began and miraculously, a sand bank appeared in the middle of the ocean. I crawled half-dead onto this solid rib of crystals with mixed emotions – my grasp on life would be briefly extended but only so that I could suffer more pain and anguish before the inevitable overwhelmed me.

The intended symbolism of the film began immediately (this is a story about ‘us’, children) but a shadow symbolism quickly overwhelmed the intended lesson like a malevolent ghost haunting the author’s message.

The computer graphics in the film were the best I had ever seen. Such was the realism that it exceeded realism itself and I was left gasping at the wonders of technology. And so the symbolic reality of the situation made itself apparent to me.

I was transported back to a time centuries ago; I was a simple native that had, up to that moment, lived a perfectly satisfactory life on a secluded island before the strange dark vessel appeared on the horizon. As a yawl then slowly made its way towards the shore, I waited on the beach with a small group of my curious tribe members, eager to discover what the gods had brought us.

In our innocence we greeted the strangers with fruits and flowers. They, in turn, reciprocated with their technology – and we looked in awe at the shiny beads and buttons in the animated movies they showed us. We looked upon them beguiled and mesmerised and we were prepared to sell our souls for these worthless shards of digital glass and plastic – ‘yes’, we signalled, ‘take our hearts, our minds, we gladly give them up for your captivating technologies’.

And so now we fall sick, one by one, felled by the disease brought by the Americans, a pathogen that invades the world like a virulent strain of smallpox deliberately secreted amongst their glittering gifts.

Our real island is disappearing so the Americans reproduce it in glorious detail and colour in a virtual new world that no one can inhabit except through memory and hope…

We’re sleepwalking into a cultural desert.