This post is a continuation of my last one. I went on a bit long there, so I decided to break it up.
I’m one of the most cynical people you’re ever going to meet. Any time a new media franchise hits my radar, the first thing I notice is how it’s marketed. I pick apart marketing tactics and fan-baits before I even stop to think about it. I don’t do that intentionally; it’s just ingrained in me from mass media research. Sometimes I have to force myself to stop seeing everything as a marketing ploy.
I still don’t see anything wrong with Disney making a profit, or building another theme park, or doing a good job with its marketing so that the parks keep running and the movies keep coming out every year or two. That’s because the commercial side of filmaking and theme parks doesn’t change the value of a good movie, and I want to see good animated movies.
We have a weird way of relating to money in the West, especially in the United States. We value artistic expression to the point that we idolize it. We value independence and entrepreneurship to the point that business leaders like Lee Iacocca, Warren Buffett, and Steve Jobs become cultural icons. We want to be entertained. We love our books, and our movies, our television programs, and our video games. Yet, when our entertainers have the business sense to make a lot of money, we treat them with suspicion and snide comments. They become our guilty pleasures because we think they’re greedy, but in reality, they’re no more greedy than the business leaders we admire.
I’m not a dewy-eyed Disney fangirl. I don’t idealize Walt Disney or the company he built. I do admire the man, and I appreciate the contributions that the Walt Disney Company makes in filmmaking and philanthropy. I especially appreciate the fact that Walt Disney Parks have always been leaders in making rides and attractions accessible to patrons with disabilities. There are a lot of things I would like to see Disney do better in terms of its movie content. There are a lot of things I would like to see the Disney parks do better, and I’m not blind to the environmental and social problems associated with them. It’s still not fair to imply that Disney movies have no cultural value because they’re heavily marketed.
What else could it possibly have been today? Really.