Saturday, August 7, 2010

Walt Disney -- Antichrist

From a cartoonist's perspective, Walt Disney was basically the Antichrist. (Or still is, if they managed to put his brain in an audioanimatronic body -- the premise of one of my cartoons.)

Top Ten Reasons Why:

1. Disney absorbed stories and folk tales like a giant blender, ground them up and turned them into commercialized mush. Disney's Snow White became everybody's idea of Snow White. Or Toad of Toad Hall. Or whatever. His formulaic crap eclipses the originals.

2. Disney's "imitation of life" poisoned the genius of American cartooning. No, we don't want fantasy and fun. We want creepy, rotoscoped puppets. Yeah!

3. Disney was a fascist. His cartoons had a relentless theme of conformity. The lesson is always fall in line, do what you're told, clean your room, take a bath, you rotten dwarves, obey.

4. Disney hated strong women. He constantly punished them.

5. Disney was always killing moms.

6. Disney had a creepy, pedophillic obsession with little boys' rear ends.

7. Disney infected the American imagination with marketing. Hey, were not creating stories about characters -- we're selling product! Mickey Mouse began as a cartoon character. He turned into a !@#$ logo.

8. He created an empire that continues to infect the American imagination.

9. His empire helped kill traditional cel animation with ubiquitous CGI.

10. Disney is the example that everyone tends to follow. Create an honest story? Speak from the heart? Who does that anymore? Almost everyone thinks of story and character as products to be designed and marketed for various demographic niches. The goal -- find the perfect formula, then repeat. Create art on an assembly line. Turn artists into replaceable parts -- hired hands. Subordinate the vision of the individual artist to the corporate mission. Avoid risk and originality at all times.

3 comments:

Bob said...

Yeah, Fantasia and the Silly Symphonies were just routine tripe pushed out by a big corporation.

All the above reasons are pretty much crap. The #1 reason Disney is antichrist to cartoonists is he created the organization to allow large numbers of artists to work together to create major works. This made the artists somewhat interchangable and just more corporate employees. To artists who, by nature, want to be original, edgey, out-there, prima donnas, this was anathema.

No credit given for creating the animation industry and providing good jobs to thousands of artists.

Marty Fugate said...

Actually, I did mention the fact that Disney turned artists into interchangable employees. I never said Fantasia and the Silly Symphonies were crap. Obviously, there were geniuses working for Disney and that genius showed through. That said, there was a slow devolution of the quality of the work Disney Studios produced. As their art became crappier, their marketing skills approached the level of twisted genius. As a result, Disney's corporate philosophy and artistic style began to dominate American animation as a whole.

So as not to beg the question, I define Disney's core philosophy as: CHARACTERS AND STORY ARE PRODUCT. CREATE PRODUCT WITH MARKETING IN MIND. YOUR FINAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN AND PRODUCT TIE-INS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PRODUCT ITSELF.

Your final point assumes that if, say, Disney had been crushed by a rampaging elephant, the animation industry and its jobs would never have been created. My guess is, they would have been, only according to a different business model. Lacking access to alternate earths in parallel dimensions, there's no way to prove this point.

Marty Fugate said...

Wait a minute. Sorry. I've just come back from Earth #5756, in which Disney was crushed by an elephant and Warner Brothers dominated the animation industry.

As you might expect, one day, the Termite Terrace cartoon characters suddenly leaped out of their cells and came to life. It's not as whimsical as it sounds. Yosemite Sam is currently waging a genocidal war against all "varmints" everywhere.

"Roger Rabbit" it ain't.