I’m not a big fan of the Disney Empire. And it is an empire, spreading the worst that America has to offer around the globe. Cultural Imperialism. Many tourists come to America or Paris for that matter, just to visit Disneyland and Disney World. Sad, but true, especially for families with whiny kids. Disney is a place where all dreams come true and where American history and fairy tales are sanitized and whitewashed like Tom Sawyer’s picket fence. Every thing has a happy ending at Disney and that extends to the health and nutrition of children. And while I am not a Disney fanatic, I do applaud its new pledge to ban junk food ads at its parks and on its many TV networks by 2015.
I know it is blasphemous in America to criticize the Walt Disney Corporation, and it is a corporation, not a person please remember, but I worry about its influence on how children think and on the buying habits of families. The Disney motto seems to be to “capture their hearts and minds from the cradle to the grave”. One critical work on Disney which is essential reading is called – The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence by Henry Giroux. It lays out the case for why you too should be concerned about Disney’s ever growing influence on popular culture and your life.
You may ask why the bitterness ribbie? Did your parents not take you to Disney World? And the answer is, no they didn’t. And I wanted to go more than anything, but we ended up at Six (the frick) Flags over Texas every year, which actually wasn’t so bad…but it’s not that. In truth, I wasn’t a huge Disney fan even as a child, though I did love Winnie the Pooh, who was not originally a Disney character, but the bear and his friends were apparently bought out and are now Disney attractions. But this is all beside the point.
What is the point you ask? Here’s the point, while I applaud Disney for its commitment to helping fight childhood obesity which it may have had a hand in creating, the proposed junk food ad ban won’t go into effect until 2015. Kids can fatten up pretty quickly in 3 years. But the real problem is not even that. The real problem are the Disney characters themselves. Have you seen Mickey’s belly – he’s chubby from all that “gee wiz” cheese. And the portly Pooh bear with his diet of pure honey must be diabetic by now. Goofy is just goofy, not portly, but certainly not in good shape. And I don’t know what the depressed Eeyore eats, but I assure you it’s not just whole grains. He could use some fitness training and a nutritionist as could all the Disney characters. Hey Disney, look in the mirror!