Disney has been on our minds a lot recently. So it was interesting to come across an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about how “Disney has colonised the imagination of the world’s children … without the aid of God.”
This is from a new book, The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust by Mark Pinsky, who argues that Disney has managed to convey the message that good will always prevail over evil even though Disney’s animated features are (perhaps deliberately) devoid of religious figures and themes. And even goes as far as subverting orthodox Christian views on magic, paganism and promoting other religions.
According to his daughter, Disney himself was very religious, but “he did not believe you had to go to church to be religious.” Interestingly, the films’ theme of self-reliance, compassion and loyalty has often been used by the church in its teachings.
The Disney gospel is all about “me, my dreams, my will. When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.” It’s as simple as that. May be too simple. The review on amazon says that “the book bogs down amidst the massive Disney canon”, and Pinsky “seems torn between admiring Walt’s dream to communicate lessons to children across cultures, and debunking its uplifting, family-friendly fare as a sentimental notion — naïve at best and disingenuous at worst.”
Say what you will about the corporation, profit-minded, self-righteous, and according to Southern Baptists, subversive (they tried to promote a boycott of Disney products after the company introduced equal rights for gay employees and their partners). It’s a global corporation, its aim is to make money and generate profits. If in the process it has managed to entertain people, taught children about being self-belief and promoted world harmony, then it should be left in peace to continue what it has been doing for over 50 years.