There’s a reason I’ve had issues with Disney for a very long time. There are several, actually, but they all stem from the same basic point of fact, which is that the Walt Disney Company is a powerful and occasionally brutal multinational entertainment conglomerate masquerading as a benign, even avuncular part of every American’s consciousness, one founded by a friendly mouse and running on magic fairy dust.
Disney sets its sights on children early, indoctrinating them into a kind of cult and hypnotizing them into swallowing wholesale an inexhaustible supply of cleverly marketed but often wholly mediocre crap. What’s more, as those submissive children grow they become parents who willingly offer up their own children to the mouse, ensuring that the cycle will continue over and over again. I say this as somebody who took his five-year-old daughter to Disneyland just yesterday and shared every second of her enjoyment in it. Kids love it — there’s just no way around that. And I’m a hypocrite for bitching about Disney — no doubt about that either.
But despite the memory of being mainlined Disney magic very fresh in my mind, the reality of the Mouse House is still there, and it’s unavoidable. Case in point: Yesterday a professionally shot video clip began circulating — and quickly reached viral saturation — that featured Kristen Bell doing a really wonderful live performance of Do You Want To Build a Snowman? from the Disney mega-hit Frozen. I’m more than willing to cop to loving the hell out of Frozen. It’s one of the best animated movies Disney has produced in years and needless to say the company is milking it to death. (The line for a brief meet-and-greet with Elsa and Anna at Disneyland yesterday took more than two hours to get through.) But if you try to view the YouTube clip of the performance from Bell, who does the voice of Anna in the movie, what you now get is a black slate with white lettering telling you that it’s been removed.
Disney has asserted its corporate copyright and is blocking people from seeing the clip. I didn’t find this out until I sat my daughter down in front of my computer to watch it, telling her excitedly that she was going to love it. The notoriously proprietary — and notoriously litigious — company has no issue bukkakeing you with Disney magic as long as you’re paying for it and the licensing is all legit. It even boasts about how wonderful that magic is. But try to watch what’s apparently an unauthorized four-minute-long video clip and you get a reminder that Disney’s an ice-cold money-making entity first and foremost. Just because it traffics in making dreams come true doesn’t make it any different than any other entertainment leviathan.
And now my kid’s sulking. Thanks, Disney.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.