Monday, May 17, 2010

New Release: The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence

The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence

The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence by Henry A. Giroux and Grace Pollock, first published in 1999, has been expanded and reprinted in a new edition that came out in April.  This book has long been a favorite among those looking for a critical analysis of Disney.  It has much food for thought for student papers and such. 

I haven't seen many reviews of the new edition--the Amazon information is primarily for the original edition--but this edition includes discussions of more recent films, up to the recent Princess and the Frog.

I found this review of the book and accompanying discussion of Disney, A War Going On No Kid is Safe From: Disney and the End of Innocence by Tolu Olorunda.

Henry Giroux and Grace Pollock survey this theme with abundant brilliance in a newly released, updated and expanded version of The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence, first published in 1999. Disney has long been educational and political, they write, and parents who prefer Disney—because, so the chants go, it offers up innocent and harmless alternatives to the sinful, violent, sexist, caustic courses that make up most TV shows and movies these days—need to widen their eyes more to a reality not so hard to pick up: far from innocent and harmless, Disney’s stuff not only render social and political and historical commentary often skewed toward bias, but at times aim for that exact edge.

I also enjoyed the quotes from the book provided by Olorunda as an opening to the article:

As commercial culture replaces public culture and the language of the market becomes a substitute for the language of democracy, consumerism appears to be the only kind of citizenship on offer to children and adults alike.

—Henry A. Giroux and Grace Pollock, The Mouse that Roared (Updated and Expanded Edition): Disney and the End of Innocence (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2010), p. 24.

What are the implications for a democratic society increasingly under the sway of corporations that subordinate politics, history, public discourse, and noncommodified forms of culture to consumerism, escapist entertainment, and corporate profits?

—Ibid., p. 90.

Growing up corporate has become a way of life for American youth, and companies like Disney constitute a new global force in shaping youth around the world as consuming subjects.

—Ibid., p. 211.
Finally, the article itself, mostly quoting the book, is a great resource for the student researcher. It's not easy reading, but there's much fodder for Disney bashing, which this book unabashedly does.

So if that interests you, this is the book for you.

And, as always, I stand on more neutral territory when it comes to Disney. I'm not a fan, but I don't blame it for all our woes and appreciate some of what it has accomplished, such as helping to keep fairy tales in at least some way in the public consciousness, even when I don't like the interpretations. My goal is to report all sides of the story and ongoing debate...

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