Hollyweird is hypocritical to the core of its bones, but danged if Disney doesn’t take the Oscar for butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths.The first example that I can remember is the Fantasia debacle. The 1940 Fantasia had a minor centaur character named Sunflower. This was a little black centaur who acted as maid to one of the white centaurs. The two or three scenes that I can remember with this little character were cut from the 1960 version. I suppose that being a maid was a “negative stereotype” and might hurt some tender feelings. Well, Disney has not only cut those scenes but is now denying that they ever existed. If you tell the lie loud, long, and with enough conviction, it becomes accepted as true.
Well, I can tell you that there were many black people working as servants in the 1950’s when I grew up. There was nothing demeaning in these people doing dignified work to support themselves and their families. Damn sight more dignified than taking the dole. I was raised by a “mammy”, and this was one of the finest women I have ever met. My Grandparents had a married couple who worked for them. The wife did mostly housework and cooking, the husband took care of the yard, the garden, and outside of the house. These fine people were a shining example of love and human dignity at its best. There is no stereotype of shame here unless it is the eye of some bigoted revisionist.
The other “we never did it” (sounds like your kids lying denials!) that I can remember is in the 1948 Melody Time. The Pecos Bill scenes have had all the smoking scenes excised in the DVD release.
Now, the interesting thing is that smoking cigarettes is banned only in flagship Disney films, complete with anti-smoking ads. This ban does not affect Miramax and Touchstone films that aimed specifically at the kiddy and teeny markets. Mother Disney also intends to launch a propaganda war against transfats and anything else THEY deem to be unhealthy. I thought that parents were responsible for teaching their kids and regulating their diets, not a bunch from Hollyweird. What a naïve notion. I believe I’d rather Disney cut flippant sexuality, cruelty, violence and other such. ‘Course that wouldn’t sell near as many movies, but might be more morally correct than politically correct. Believe it, if cigarettes would raise their revenues, they would be back in an instant.
I also find it interesting that Disney seems to have no problem with young boys idolizing and emulating a flitting Johnny Depp character – make no mistake, I think Depp is hysterically funny. I do have a problem with encouraging nelly behavior in the young. (This does happen. One of my grandsons is a bit of a wuss and loves to play Captain Jack Sparrow. I worry about that boy sometimes.) This is inappropriate role modeling as four is a bit young for any overtly sexual behavior. Of course, I am somewhat out of step since the so-called “progressives” seem to want sex ed in kindergarten.
Now, I don’t have a problem with smoking or not smoking onscreen. If it does not advance the plot or the mood, don’t do it. However, if making a period piece set in a smoking era, it may be artistically false not to show it.
People never seem to learn. The current anti-smoking hysteria and the efforts to outlaw same have their counterpart in history. Prohibition of alcohol leads to more drinking, less respect for the law and ultimately was the impetus for the growth and strength of organized crime. Congress made the Mafia what it is today. Thanks, guys! Keep it up Disney – we really need you to tell us all how to live!