The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence

Henry A. Giroux, Author Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8476-9109-8
To many people, the name Disney has become synonymous with childhood innocence and squeaky-clean fantasy. But in this polemical, didactic work, Penn State education professor Giroux (Channel Surfing) charges that Disney is in fact a powerful corporation whose ideology--largely predicated on getting the consumer to buy Disney products--is far from innocent. Giroux tackles Disney's theme parks, its recent forays into education and its movies in an attempt to expose how Uncle Walt's legacy is eroding democracy and endangering our nation`s youth. He disparages Disneyland and Disney World for whitewashing history and casting America's past in a nostalgic light, excluding any mention of slavery, civil unrest, racial tension or war. In keeping with this practice of regulation and homogenization, employees are required to dress a certain way, to have their hair a certain length and to adhere to the ""Disney philosophy."" Disney's movies, argues Giroux, promote sexism and racism (""bad"" characters speak with thick foreign accents, or in inner-city jive; female characters, however strong, depend on the men around them for identity) and encourage massive consumer spending while assuming the guise of innocuous family fun. But because children learn increasingly from popular culture, Giroux warns that it is dangerous to ignore the influence of a corporation whose private town, Celebration, dictates the color of its residents' window shades and house paint. The notion of Disney as a corporate, market-obsessed monolith was hilariously expounded last year in Team Rodent, Carl Hiassen's contribution to Ballantine's Library of Contemporary Thought series. In contrast, Giroux's sustained shock and outrage, buried in thickets of dense, academic prose, quickly wear thin. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/19/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 285 pages - 978-1-4422-0143-9
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-8476-9110-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-929011-12-4
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