hating the disney haters


I don’t need to labour the vilification of the man, who died 40 years ago this Christmas. No other artist’s signature appears on the products of an industry that is the cultural equivalent of Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, and to many people, buying a toy Pinocchio is as bad as feeding your child burgers. Marc Eliot’s 1993 biography branded Disney an FBI informant union-basher, and hints at worse. In a classic episode of The Simpsons broadcast shortly after Eliot’s book came out, Bart and Lisa watch a corporate propaganda film at Itchy and Scratchy Land that says animation pioneer Roger Meyers Sr “loved almost all the peoples of the world” – an apparent swipe at Disney’s alleged anti-semitism. Hating Disney has become a cliche. A few months ago, the over-rated guerrilla artist Banksy left a figure of a Guantanamo prisoner at Disneyland – where else? – as if Walt, who died in 1966, was directing the war on terror from his cryogenic vault.

When a long dead cartoonist and film-maker is reviled for the crimes of the present administration, something is out of whack. Walt Disney was one of the great American artists of the 20th century. This needs to be recognised. So here I am, Walt, coming to the rescue, aided by an exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris that celebrates Disney’s films as visual art.

more from The Guardian here.