The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Saturday, March 31, 2007

Disney Blogging

Reading “Conservatives without Conscience” by John Dean. His position is that the Conservative movement got hijacked post-Watergate by Republicans desperate to regain the White House, and that Devil’s Bargains were made with some truly ultra-Rightest fanatics, to the point that he has a hard time recognizing the movement any more. He also makes a point about the fact that it is very, very difficult even to define what “Conservatism” is. I’m enjoying it because he speaks of Conservative values that I recognize and appreciate. Because I don’t believe that either side has an exclusive on intelligence, compassion, integrity, or patriotism, it’s been hard to watch some of the stuff going on, because my very real tendency is to come to conclusions that are opposite to my basic position. Looking at the “Big Tent” that Republicans created to bolster their constituency makes big, big sense.
By the way, are there books on the Conservative movement that my readers would recommend? And I mean books by responsible, non-hysterical conservatives. Not interested in anyone who considers Liberals evil: that kind of thinking automatically drops the thinker into the “deluded” category. The same, of course (in my mind) for Liberals who consider Conservatives evil. Just looking to educate myself a bit…
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Got called at 6:00 this morning by someone on the East Coast who forgot that there’s a 3-hour time difference. I’d like for readers on the East coast to tell me if they have comparable problems with West Coasters calling too late…
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The Disney black Princess thing gives us another opportunity to turn over the flat rock of the human psyche. Do a web search, find blog talkbacks, and count the percentage of talkers who specifically
1) Complain about Disney going “PC”
2) Complain that if there is a black Princess, why not an Irish princess, a German princess, etc.
3) Specifically complain that blacks are whiners who should just shut up.

One of the three of these makes up about 1/3 of the chatter. White folks like to say that this is a tiny percentage of people doing lots and lots of posting. Really? What if it’s only, say, twice the actual percentage of white Americans who think this way. Wouldn’t that explain voting patterns across the country, really? And the percentage of people who say they wouldn’t vote for a black President? In other words, are you so certain that, given the anonymity of the Internet, these attitudes are far more widespread than you’d like to believe?
Let me rebut, please:
1) Disney has always been “PC.” Just to the other side of the issue, excluding people of color to a remarkable degree from their animation.
2) The logical fallacy here is laughable. This is like saying you have nothing but meat on your plate: how about some fruit and vegetables? And you reply: but there’s no Turkey, either! And no ham!
3) I can understand this one. But believe me, anyone who thinks this would make a horrible black person. They would never have survived the almost daily assault on our sensitivities, and in fact, any white person who thinks this, if they’d been born black, would hate white people. I know the type.
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Understand something: Disney would 100% have the right to have nothing but white people in their live action or animation. Absolutely. And we, as consumers and observers, would have 100% of a right to call people's attention to this, to deny them our money on this basis, and to label them racists--which they would be, since making decisions on the basis of race is the dictionary definition of the term. If they want to be "America's Entertainment company" they must reflect America as it is. Otherwise, they could honestly be considered "White America's Entertainment company," a label I doubt they'd be proud of. If they were that lesser label in the 20th Century, they have an opportunity to make up for it now. But it behooves us to call a spade a spade (as it were) and acknowledge that their 20th century decisions were made through a regrettable filter...unless that filter is NOT regrettable to them. They are welcome to be as racist as they want. And Americans who think in other fashions would be 100% right in withholding their dollars and approval.

Isn't that the American way?

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Fasting today, and did Bikram Yoga this morning. My body was screaming for food afterwards, and I shut it up with a Hoodia, thank God. But my energy was great—the room was blisteringly hot, and I never really suffered. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, though…

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