Monday, December 01, 2008

There Is One Savior of the World and He Doesn't Have Mouse Ears

I wanted to disagree with the good abbot about his comments found here but upon examination I think he is on to something. Essentially, if I am reading him correctly, the problem is not that Disney stories don't point to the essential truths about greed and other vices; the problem is that Disney suggests, according to him, the solution to these vices are found in Disney stores. If that's the case, and I would debate a bit, then he's on to something. The good stuff in those movies should prompt one to ask, what is it that really matters? Why is greed wrong, e.g.? The material, like all fairy tales, prompts to look for the essential, the ontological meaning of things.

However, I think the abbot is probably mixing issues here. The stores present their own faults that are independent in a certain sense from the movie. The problem I would suggest is simpler. The temptation for Disney and other like them (I'm looking at you, Warner Brothers) is to jettison the moral messages in favor of a commercially more viable product. Mark Kermode, BBC's movie critic, refers to this move as the "Bay-ification" of movies, where everything like, plot, characters, is jettisoned in favor of explosions and fast action. It's a parallel issue.

With all this said, this gives me good hope for the Church in my ancestral lands. The abbot here is mentioned as a contender to replace Cormac-Murphy and this attention to what's happening in the culture could set the stage for a nice revival of a compelling Catholic witness in the U.K.

St. George, the Dragon-Slayer, pray for us.

1 comment:

Gail F said...

I understand what the abbot is saying, but as a parent whose kids see every new Disney movie, I can attest that it's quite possible to watch the movies and buy few or none of the toys, shirts, and ancillary products. In which case, the moral message remains the main one.

The way I see it, we live in a materialist culture. People buy stuff. If Disney didn't make moral movies, and toys and clothes and household goods reminding people of the movies and their moral messages, that wouldn't stop anyone from buying other toys, clothing, and household goods that DIDN'T remind them of any moral messages.

"Wall-E" was one of the best movies I've ever seen, an astonishingly pro-life movie that is quite possible to view as profoundly Catholic, or at the very least Judeo-Christian, in outlook. I don't plan on buying a single movie-related item, except the movie. And I'll probably buy a used copy.