Thursday, March 23, 2017

Disney: The Beauty or the Beast?

I love Disney.

I grew up with Buzz Lightyear being my best buddy. I was that kid who literally broke Buzz's arm, because I was so sure he could fly that I launched him down a flight of stairs. And of course, I sobbed at the realization that he couldn't, and my poor parents had a distraught kid on their hands as they tried with no success to but Buzz back together again. Even further proof that I was obsessed with Buzz? I, um, owe my being potty trained to him. Seriously. I wasn't getting it until my parents drew me a picture of Buzz sitting on the porcelain throne. If he could do it, I could do it.

I also loved Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo. Disney and Pixar had a great thing going. Some of my best childhood memories are my times spent at Disneyland. Trips to that special land of happiness also mark important milestones in my life. A trip there when I turned thirteen, and again at 18.

Disney is interwoven into my life, like a familiar friend.

But I hardly recognize my friend anymore. My first glimpse of Disney's recent transformation was their film Frozen, with a glimpse at a potentially gay character and the possible Lesbian analogy in Elsa. Next came Zootopia, which encouraged us that you can be anything you want to be, and biology doesn't matter. It also featured a very strong secular humanist message (look inside yourself and be the change), a nudist colony made only slightly less disturbing by the fact that they were animals, and a wink wink moment where male characters are playing around with an app on their phone that lets them appear to dance sensually with Gazelle, a pop singer who is portrayed to be just as immodest and seductive as the pop singers of our culture today.  And now, judging off the Plugged In review, Disney's live action version of The Beauty and the Beast has a prominent gay character with a small handful of scenes dedicated to him and a crossdresser who preens towards the screen for us--and later shares a dance in the background with the gay character.

Disney has gone off the deep end. It's as if there is no longer anything ethically off limits for them. They have become very good at sneaking in filth while keeping a PG rating. But how much more of it are we going to take?

I seriously doubt we are going to find many more positive messages from Disney, unless they have a radical change of heart. Gone are the messages of the importance and steadfastness of friendship (Toy Story) or in letting go of your dreams to love selflessly (Up). Gone, most likely, is even the more ethically tolerable though still questionable message about pursuing your dreams with all your heart. Disney has been sucked into espousing the talking points of the liberal political agenda, which flies in the face of traditional conservative values. Giving moral, family-affirming messages is going to become less and less important for them as they continue to spiral down and continue the destructive cycle of a worldview completely apart from God.

So again I ask, how much more of this are we going to take? When will we no longer be content to give Disney a captive audience for an hour and a half as they attempt to weave glittering, brilliantly-put-together lies into our psyche? More importantly, will we allow our children to sit through these lies? What happens when they grow up with their Disney role models being negative ones?

This mom, for one, is no longer willing to put up with Disney. Brooke Poston, author of the blog This Modest Mom, cancelled her family's $6,000 dollar trip to Disneyland and started a boycott of all things Disney. You can view and sign the boycott here if you are ready to take that step.

Or, maybe you're like me, and are not willing to completely ban Disney. I definitely don't plan on visiting Disneyland any time soon but will be taking a movie-by-movie approach to banning their films. If they are willing to return to a friendly, positive family film like UP, then I will support that movie. However, like I said, the chances of that seem to be getting increasingly rare.

It's time, guys, to start cutting ties with Disney. You may decide to go completely cold turkey off all things Disney. Fair warning, though: this will mean banning more movies than you would at first assume, because Disney has their hands in the Marvel movies and Star Wars for instance. Or, you may decide to go it by a movie-to-movie basis. But please do something. If nothing else--because realistically, thinking we can boycott Disney out of business is a stretch--do it for your children. Don't let them be captivated by brilliantly put together lies that pull at their young heartstrings.

Cutting ties with Disney will leave a void, sure, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. There are tons of great books out there to opt for instead. I found family reading time to be way more profitable than sitting in front of a screen anyway! Also, it would appear that Disney and Hollywood in general are fresh out of ideas, as Eric Metaxes pointed out in Breakpoint yesterday. Christian storytellers, be inspired! Let's use our redeemed creative abilities to write and film captivating, original stories that will reach an audience that might just be getting tired of the same old same old.

It's painful seeing the end of an era; it's painful watching Disney evolve from the beauty of their brilliant, morals-affirming stories to the beast of their present, glitzy filth. But there's no need to mourn. We're Christians. Our satisfaction is found in Christ and the amazing story of grace, forgiveness, redemption, and triumph that can be found in Him alone. Maybe Disney will one day realize this and turn from their destructive deceptions; we should definitely be praying for them. But until then, let's be careful to fill our minds with stories other than the new Disney norm.

 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8