He sounds like THAT?

For all of you wondering what I actually sound like (admittedly a number that’s probably in the low single digits) check out this week’s episode of the podcast Those Darn Cats. I bloviate about the propaganda cartoons put out by Disney during World War II — a subject I actually know something about. TDC is co-produced by Mrs. CollateralDamage (aka BrokeHoedown) and her adorable BFF Lisa. Thanks to Mrs. CD for making me sound so smart! BTW, if you want a funny and hip take on all things Disney this is the podcast for you! Damn they’re so cheerful over there it’s contagious!

The issue is settled: Hallmark selling gay marriage cards

You can’t get more mainstream than this.

The nation’s largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards — featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. “Two hearts. One promise,” one says. … The Greeting Card Association, a trade group, says it does not track how many companies provide same-sex cards but believes the number is expanding. “The fact that you have someone like Hallmark going into that niche shows it’s growing and signals a trend,” said Barbara Miller, a spokeswoman for the association.

Have to say since gay marriage became legal here in the Bay State the biggest difference I’ve noticed is … um … yeah … let me see … nope. Can’t think of one. I look forward to the American Family Association boycott of Hallmark. (My bad — it’s Concerned Women for America calling for the boycott.)

BTW, over on her blog Mrs. CollateralDamage has a most excellent post on First Same-Sex Civil Marriage at Disneyland. The couple is lovely and the fact that they got married at Disneyland puts the lie to the fact that only heteros are tacky. (Truth is I had to put in a snarky (and false) comment so I wouldn’t mention the fact that I got all choked up looking at the wedding pictures. I gotta protect my image. Don’t tell anyone I told you, OK?)

Photo by Chenin Boutwell.

C’mon now what marketer can look at a couple that is so happy and not think, “Damn, there’s money to made here!”

(BTW, this is the headline of the day: Gay misery continues with baton drop. Is that really all it takes to make the LGBT community miserable?)

WALL*E is amazingly good

In no particular order the greatest animated movies I’ve ever seen are:

All of these are among the greatest movies ever made PERIOD.

Add to that list, WALL*E. Even by Pixar’s admittedly high standards, WALL*E is exceptional. If it doesn’t have the characters as complex as some other movies it is because it is a fable. In that respect it has a lot in common with Edward Scissorhands.

WALL*E is tells a fine, simple (not obvious) story superbly. (I’m going to stay away from plot synopsis. Go see it. We’ll talk.) It is essentially a silent movie, a great and bold decision (and something it shares with Triplets). In addition to being a fine filet of consumer culture, W also includes an extended comment on the sterility of life in a controlled environment designed for nothing but amusement. That would be the bread and butter of Pixar’s life-partner Disney. Is this:

  1. a cynical comment by a company that makes its money from these parks; or
  2. a truly subversive effort to sway the people who make The Land of Mouse so profitable?

Not sure. But I do know it’s great.

I could go on but I’m tired and heading off for vacation. See you all in a week.

Disney changing It’s A Small World to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America”

There is probably no one Disney ride/attraction I loathe more than “It’s A Small World.”

It brings together all the worst of Disney & theme parks into one package.

In design terms it has a banality and mediocrity that makes it possible to forget these are the same people that brought us Oswald the Rabbit, Pinocchio, the early Mickey Mouse cartoons and a host of other wonderful works of real art.

It also has the problematic racial issues that litter the Mouse’s history: Song of The South, Epcot’s bizarre and historically inaccurate Eurocentric history lessons, an animatronic Native American village — (personally I was hoping Euro Disney would have an animatronic shtetl). In Small World the racial problem becomes that all the people of the earth who are not already Caucasian appear to have undergone a severe loss in melanin. Small World’s many deficiencies are wrapped in a song I can only compare to the aural equivalent of mixing Twinkies & Spam.

Given all this you would think it impossible to make the attraction* any worse. But NOOOOOOOO. In what seems to be a complete violation of Small World’s saccharine “we’re all alike” will now include a nice cuddly display of nationalism.

Mrs. Collateral Damage — aka The Queen of All Disney Media — quotes the following:

And in one of the most egregious and downright disgusting decisions in Disney theme park history, the gorgeous New Guinea rainforest scene, replete with some of Mary Blair’s most whimsical character creations (a crocodile with an umbrella, colorful birds hatching from eggs) and her drummer children with Tiki Masks on the opposite shore will be replaced with a Hooray for U.S.A sequence.

Now don’t get me started on the whole tiki masks thing and the gross condescension towards indigenous peoples — anyone surprised that we don’t get cute caricatures of any Christian religious images?

I really think Disney should go the whole way with this redo and insert a display of gross nationalism for every nation. Then they could have a follow-up ride called “It’s A Small World War.”

BTW, the headline is a quote from one of my favorite Disney attractions: Muppet*vision 3D.

Kermit the Frog: We will also see a rousing finale from Sam the Eagle. What’s it called, Sam?
Sam the Eagle: It’s called “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America”.

*or is it a ride? that’s one of those distinctions that the Disney-centi are very particular about.

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J.K. Rowling sues festival for constructing physical version of an imaginary place

KOLKATA, India (AFP) – Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is suing organisers of a religious event for constructing a replica of her imaginary Hogwarts Castle in an eastern India city, officials said Thursday.

How do you make a replica of something that’s imaginary? If I build a recreation of Yossarian’s tent from Catch-22 can I be sued by Joseph Heller’s estate? Doesn’t the whole basis of this law suit put the entire Disney empire at risk? I’m suing over Cinderella’s castle. It infringes on my idea of what the thing should look like. No, wait, Mrs. CD won’t let me. Bad husband. No suing The Mouse. Baaad.

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Porn producer beats off Disney in copyright dispute

The beloved Broke Hoedown (aka Mrs. Collateral Damage) reports on a story about Disney losing the rights to the slogan “The Place Where Dreams Come True” on the flimsy technicality that someone else had already registered it. That someone was Michael Wightman from Newcastle, in the UK, registered it for his company which makes porn that can be viewed on mobile phones. Ahh, pornographic pictures on the phone — a blessing to optometrists everywhere.

My first spin-off

If you don’t count Collateral Damage Jr, that is. Mrs. CD grew tired of waiting for me to post her insights into The Mouse That Roars (Disney) and has started her own blog on just that topic called Kitty Chan’s Broke Hoedown. (To understand the title go here.) But before she went (without two weeks notice, I might add) she left a few more very funny observations:

Apropos of nothing, which is only fitting given your blog…

  • Building on the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, Disney theme parks are now featuring a Captain Jack Sparrow character wandering around for autographs, photo ops, etc. This is particularly amusing because as far as I’ve observed, children are not all that interested in meeting him. Instead, he is followed by a flock of besotted middle-age women, all anxious for a moment of his time, and perchance a photo with the man. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that when I got my chance for a picture, there was a slight problem with the camera. I will always remember that as the day that I almost caught a picture of myself with Captain. Jack. Sparrow!)
  • I would like a word or two with whomever’s responsible for coordinating the ticket pricing strategies for Disney parks worldwide. Us east-coast Disney fans have spent a tremendous amount of time and energy learning about the relatively-new Magic Your Way ticket pricing strategy, and watching the prices soar like Dumbo. Disneyland has a whole different ticket pricing strategy, which is somewhat more in synch with the pricing systems for the Tokyo and Paris Disneyland parks (though the latter has been tweaked to fit better with the all-inclusive style of European vacations). Could we have a little more consistency among the parks, please? Surely this sort of confusion wasn’t part of Walt’s dream.
  • And while I’m talking with the ticket pricing strategy guru, could we also talk a bit about the lack of any sort of coordinated effort for those of us who love all the Disney parks, worldwide? Last year, CD Jr and I visited both Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World, perhaps a tad unusual but certainly not unheard of. In many other years we’ve hit the Disney parks on both US east and west coasts, which is almost par for the course for some percentage of truly hardcore fans. Why not institute an International Annual Pass? Or at the very least, how bout a frequent visitor club, where some special trinket or benefit is awarded after having visited all the parks worldwide? Sure, it wouldn’t have direct impact on Disney’s bottom line; nobody’s going to visit five international parks just to get a pin. But it would be just the sort of special, guest-oriented, “magical” touch on which the Disney brand is built.

And it’s got a nice logo, too. She made it herself she did.