Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children's Films

Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children's Films

Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children's Films

Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children's Films

Synopsis

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Excerpt

Conservative commentators have, in recent years, gained considerable attention with their claims that America’s youth are being corrupted by television and, especially, film. Employing a fairly standard conservative rewriting of history, such commentators have constructed a nostalgic (and mostly fictional) narrative of cultural history that describes the prominence of violence and sexuality in contemporary American popular culture as a decline from earlier days in which popular culture was dominated by more wholesome images. As with most nostalgic narratives, this one constructs a past that never really existed. In point of fact, there has been considerable suspicion about the possible negative influence of film in particular on America’s children (and on America as a whole) ever since the inception of the film industry at the beginning of the twentieth century.

As Robert Sklar points out in Movie-Made America, his important cultural history of American film, the movies emerged as an important force in American culture “from the bottom up, receiving their principal support from the lowest and most invisible classes in American society” (3). Further, Sklar points out that the American film industry emerged during a crucial turning point in American history, as the explosive growth of consumer capitalism at the turn of the century led to a radical restructuring of American society and in particular the rapid growth of an urban working class that included unprecedented numbers of immigrant workers, newly arrived (mostly . . .

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