As we introduce ourselves, we do so with where we’re from. Our genealogy, whether indigenous or settler, native or migrant, we self-identify. It would be a theft for me to introduce myself as you and vice versa. As we exchange stories, we should not steal them. Yet nearly every story Disney tells is stolen, dissected, then manufactured. Upon reading the original Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, for example, it is an astounding testament to how the theft of complex stories are reduced and manufactured. From a metalogical perspective, how many know that Pinocchio kills his friend Jiminy Cricket and lies about it? We value what is true and come to mistrust what lies and steals. Disney is Pinocchio.
But how do you reconcile the fact that Disney stories– even its most reductionist– resonate so memorably? Does Disney practice the black magic as Queen Grimhilde in Snow White? Is there a psychedelic black ops that needs to be avoided lest we fall under the spell of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice? Or does it tap into our sub-conscious like a Jung/Campbell dream of universal fear/trauma/love? Are there tropes that Disney reinforces that perpetuates hegemony, stealing from every continent and region reducing our heterology to a “It’s a small world” cabal? Yes to all.
But what else does that? The structures of religion and mythology come to mind, but Disney is not religion, yet the power of organizing storytelling and mythologies are wide-reaching. Should I dismiss its reach, or challenge it and use it to communicate, to teach. To some it may be just a media studio, but I think it is much more expansive. It is our way of becoming part of our globalized understanding of the world. Disney is the religion of capitalism.