The new Disney Plus streaming service launched with much anticipation from movie lovers. It means your favourite classic films are available whenever you want to watch them. Thankfully, they will be as you remember them… for the most part… with one or two exceptions.
In today’s overly sensitive society, Disney reviewed its movie collection and decided that some titles needed a disclaimer. Reportedly, there were talks about censoring some scenes, instead the picture powerhouse opted for a covering-our-asses warning to avoid controversy.
The disclaimer: “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
Let’s review what some of those depictions are, shall we?
There is a warning about tobacco use in Pinocchio and Aladdin. I guess to modernize these films, Disney should show characters vaping. There we go, problem solved. What’s a little digital editing for the multi-billion-dollar company, right?
Honestly, it’s come to this. Censoring — and I’m using that term even though they haven’t modified the actual movie — because of something people MIGHT find inappropriate nowadays.
Some other films Disney targeted were Peter Pan and The Aristocats. The latter was singled out because it has a Siamese cat playing piano with chopsticks. Yet the 1995 film Pocahontas, it has been argued, is wildly inaccurate and full of cultural stereotypes. But guess what: no warning on that film.
What’s interesting to me is that the majority of viewers wouldn’t have seen any of these things as offensive. Arguably, it could be a different story if we were part of one of the groups or communities profiled in said scenes. Sure, I get that, but in large part, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t have made the so-called offensive cultural connection until it was brought to our attention.
I have seen most of the movies outlined and didn’t see a problem with the content (and actually still don’t when I read the justification for the respective disclaimers). I feel this is another example of blowing out of proportion some delicate snowflake’s feelings. Are they really someone’s feelings though? Perhaps this is someone who has nothing better to do than to look for ways to be offended and scream about the outrage. Nevertheless, companies are bowing to the pressure and it’s getting ridiculous – if not downright scary.
But, wait a second. Aren’t people enraged when there’s mass shootings or murder in real life? Why is that still OK to depict on TV and in movies? I’m not suggesting that’s what these innocent Disney cartoons are portraying but it should be a larger discussion in the broadcast and entertainment industry. Murder is entertaining and fun… as long as it’s not real. (If that were the case, Dateline should’ve been cancelled years ago since it largely broadcasts real-life murder mysteries. That’s NBC profiting on death.)
At the same time, ABC (a Disney company) puts out shows like The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise that seemingly encourage reckless drinking and, well, not living the most appropriate life. It does seem a little hypocritical that Disney films need to be squeaky clean but another arm of the company can profit heavily on exploiting emotionally unstable people willing to do anything for 15 minutes of fame. I can assure you, the casting of those shows with the busty blond bimbo, the southern ditz and other cookie-cutter character representations are out in full force season after season.
I realize that Disney was just taking a precautionary measure to avoid controversy, but it seems like the steps they took have, well, created more controversy? Again, the general public wouldn’t have thought twice about specific scenes from movies decades ago. Now it’s brought into the forefront and reviewed with an overly critical eye.
Where does it end? Does someone need to go through every book in a library and slap a sticker on it because it has a bad word or depicts something that could be deemed offensive? Though not right, cultural insensitivity is part of our history. It’s almost like we’re being forced to wipe out the past. People have worked hard to correct the wrongs so let’s at least acknowledge that there is a correct (though I should say “acceptable” way) to go through life and the incorrect (read: inexcusable) way to go through life. Most people understand where the line is.
If we are in a world where real-life politicians do and say horrible things that destroy communities (and get away with it), the critics really should lighten up on the entertainment industry. Get your priorities in order. The real people who are running governments are often doing things far more destructive than a film whose purpose is to allow us to escape reality and enter the make believe if only for a brief time.
If the world is too uptight for that, dare I say, we’re fucked.