To underscore this essential Disney law, narrative resolution in each film defends and reinforces the status quo. Nothing is resolved until the preferred social order is in place. No one lives happily ever after until the chosen one rules… In contrast, villains–who almost exclusively exhibit antisocial behavior and violence–suffer calamity or death: Elites are attractive, benevolent, good, and successful; villains are misshapen, treacherous, evil, and cannot win. The rest of the Disney world is undifferentiated, passive, dependent on elite gratuity, and largely irrelevant except as narrative fodder. 

As a child growing up in the 1970’s Friday could be identified with a 2D fireworks display that preceded an hour of a ‘wonderful world’ that called itself Disney. It had a certain charm and entertainment value that served to reflect the celebration that school pupils and employees alike shared, and still do. A celebration, no matter how short lived that embraces the autonomy from the oppressive nature of the master and servant.  A feel good story to compensate for the previous five days.  As John Lydon once possibly overstated “…so when you leave school, your only future is getting married. And by the time you’re about 29 you got two kids, and you just wanna commit suicide.” Bleak, but for many a reflection of reality and for many more, even bleaker. The Myth of Sisyphus, as Camus proclaims, reflects the absurdity of many a life. Disney, in particular, is directly responsible for both the economic and cultural absurdity that shapes the repetition of life and its monotony. By proposing themselves as a cultural deity they also condemn many to an existence of subjugation.

They are of course not alone and the exclusive hegemonic club to which they belong is much more powerful as a consequence. This group takes advantage of the debt and dependency of many a countries population by constructing a division and thus a disunited mass.  Disney, however, fulfils a very manipulative role as it provides the ‘feel good’ to those who it shares the responsibility for emasculating. It does this by taking advantage of the divisive nature of each society. The slavish reality of conforming to a corporate hierarchical existence in which the lucky ones have a two day rest before returning to their privately controlled rat runs. Then five days follow of doing what they are told to enable a minute group to maximise their profits. There is no need to read Marx to experience this but it helps to understand it.

In ‘Hard Work: Life on Low Pay’ by Polly Toynbee the description above is a relative luxury compared to the ‘hidden workers’ who endure two shifts a day or hold down two jobs to pay the rent and feed their kids. Walk around any railway station and look past the throngs of people dashing to their next train and observe those picking up the rubbish, clearing the tables in the feeding factories or cleaning away the remnants of bodily waste. Those who wake up almost every morning to the same nightmare that even alcohol and heroin would struggle to diminish. Attached to this nightmare is the instruction to smile, to be polite and obliging to what the postmodernists call ‘consumers’. As long as the customer is satisfied – everything is all right. De-humanisation and reductionism has become the passage of our species.

My eldest daughter reads in an article that the most expensive bottle of nail varnish is $130,000. It takes up to fifteen years for the hidden workers to earn a comparable amount whilst their slave masters wrap it up in tinsel and bury it in their wives and/or mistresses stockings. These hidden workers or ‘invisibles’ are at the bottom of the rung but no less important are the ‘aspirationals’. Those who believe, one day, they too will be able to coat their nails in gold. Why they believe it is though the true genius of the corporate club. Work harder; think only of number one, conform and play by the rules and higher income and status will follow. Break the rules and you only have yourself to blame. Their oppression is just as real. The only difference is that it is disguised by 3+ bedrooms, a couple of cars and a garden. They wear a suit and tie instead of rubber gloves and have a pension plan instead of an increasingly reduced state support system. They will die on average ten years later. They too are pawns in the corporate ‘crime’ and they will be the victims of greater hyperbole, of which Disney stands proud. Corporate hegemony at its most potent.

This artificial reality or ‘Disney world’ has the’ invisibles’ in their rubber gloves with the ‘aspirationals’ paying through the nose to ensure that the rubber gloves do not sit dormant. While Snow White chokes on a poison apple, the ‘aspirationals’ choke on the price of keeping up with their middle class expectations and the ‘invisibles’ are choked from cradle to grave. The thrill seeking rides are the measure of our human zoo. Queuing for hours for a two minute journey, usually at a high speed, and with a tendency for being sandwiched by gravity. In the background, just like at the railway station, the rubber gloves maintain their own momentum.

Disney, of course, no longer represents a highlight at the end of the working week. On multi-channel media it smothers like a lead blanket via ‘Movies’; ‘Kids’; ‘Entertainment’; Music; and many other satellite and cable options. Its domination of the US media puts it top of the pile, having deposed Time Warner, in terms of its influence and omnipotence. Western culture has absorbed it. Many work for it and many more are anaesthetised by it. I suggest that Disney’s role in ‘wonderful’ depends upon how economically or culturally dependent on them one is. For the ‘invisibles’ I very much doubt it. For the ‘aspirationals’ the nature of their age, gender and level of education will be crucial. For the corporate masters, absolutely. Corporate Disney and the exclusive club to which it belongs are the creators and reinforcers of global capitalism. Look closer next time – they are not all what they seem!

Updated to include

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